Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is perpetually mired in controversy for promoting white nationalist views, is facing fresh outrage and calls from fellow Republicans to resign after defending a no-exceptions six-week abortion ban by saying, “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?”
King, it seems, didn’t even think through what he was saying. Because on Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that after a constituent explained to him what incest cases are actually like, he was astonished — evidently having barely even understood what it was.
“As a fourth grade teacher, I had a student that was raped by their uncle and became pregnant,” said retired Mason City schoolteacher Katie Koehler at King’s town hall forum. “It does happen. I do know, at the time, that the parents chose to terminate the pregnancy, and I understand why. It’s a 10-year-old child … I’m just wondering. I have my own personal beliefs. But if it’s a zero-tolerance policy, I am concerned of the health and safety of our youth.”
King was visibly startled by that response.
“I’ve never heard of a case that extreme until today,” said King. “Under the circumstances we’re in right now, I’d rather deliberate on this and try to get you an answer back.”
Koehler replied that that case was not unique, and she had heard many other examples of young students being raped.
“I try to talk to people face to face, so that’s why I came here just to see, because I needed answers,” Koehler told Iowa Starting Line. She added that King’s answer didn’t satisfy her, because the student in question would have died without an abortion.