Todd Akin hasn't lost all his friends, yet.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) weighed in on the controversy surrounding Akin's rape comments on Monday, defending the embattled Missouri Senate candidate as a "strong Christian man" in an appearance on KMEG News.
Akin set off a massive firestorm on Sunday when he claimed that pregnancy from "legitimate rape" was extremely rare, and that the female body has "ways to try to shut that whole thing down." He issued an apology Tuesday morning and, despite facing extreme pressure to withdraw, confirmed that he is staying in the race.
While Akin's remarks were quickly denounced by Democrats and Republicans alike, anti-abortion advocates have long floated the idea that pregnancy from rape is rare, a position wholly discredited by medical professionals.
King said he did not know the full context of Akin's remarks, but characterized the criticism as "petty, personal attacks."
King was also asked about his support for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which originally included an exception to the ban on federal funding for abortion only in cases of “forcible rape." In many instances, abortions resulting from statutory rape would not have been covered by Medicaid.
The reporter asked him whether a 12-year-old who gets pregnant and does not qualify as being "forcibly" raped should be able to have a federally-funded abortion.
King begged ignorance.
"I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way," he said. "I’d be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter."
According to the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, each year in the United States between 10,000 and 15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest.
While King maintained he has not personally met anyone who has been in that situation, in early August he remarked that 13-year-olds being raped and forced to get abortions happens "more times than we'd like to think."
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