Struggling to explain his “no exceptions” abortion policy, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Tom Smith likened rape to having a child out-of-wedlock before walking back the remark Monday.
Smith was fielding reporter questions after a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon at the Harrisburg Hilton when he was asked about Missouri Congressman and Senate candidate from Missouri Todd Akin‘s remark that women can biologically prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”
The retired Armstrong County coal executive condemned Akin’s comment, then reflected on one of his own daughters conceiving a child out of wedlock.
“What that congressman said I do not agree with at all,” Smith said. “He should have never said anything like that.
“I lived something similar to that with my own family,” he went on to say. “She chose life and I commend her for that. She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”
Smith was then asked if his daughter’s unwed pregnancy and rape were similar. “No, no, no. Put yourself in a father’s position, yes, I mean it is similar,” he said.
Asked again to clarify his statement, Smith said he wasn’t comparing the two.
“No, I didn’t not say that,” Smith said. “I said I went through a situation (with a daughter). It’s very, very difficult. But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.
“A life is a life and it needs protecting,” he added. “Who’s going to protect it? We have to. I believe life begins at conception. I’m not going to argue about the method of that conception. It’s life. And I’m pro-life. It’s that simple.”