Another GOP Lawmaker Wades Into Rape Debate

02/05/2015 09:40 pm ET | Updated Feb 09, 2015
West Virginia Legislature

A Republican state lawmaker said Thursday that women who become pregnant from sexual assault should not be exempt from an anti-abortion measure, because childbirth resulting from rape is "beautiful."

"Obviously rape is awful," West Virginia Del. Brian Kurcaba (R) said during a committee hearing on a new abortion restriction, according to David Gutman, a Charleston Gazette reporter. "What is beautiful is the child that could come from this."

Kurcaba, a financial adviser, was elected to the House of Delegates in November.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. State House Republicans revived the proposal after West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed it in 2014. The House Health Committee voted down an exception for rape and incest victims on Thursday and approved the bill for a full vote in the House.

Kurcaba's comment about rape and abortion is similar to an argument made by U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana in October 2012. "I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said in a debate.

Mourdock lost the election to a Democrat weeks later, and the GOP's big losses in elections that year were largely attributed to controversial rape comments made by Republican candidates.

The most notorious remark that election season came from U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said of pregnancy. "But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

UPDATE: 10:21 p.m. -- This article has been updated to attribute Kurcaba's remarks to a Charleston Gazette reporter. An earlier version attributed a variation of these comments to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has since said its rendition of what Kurcaba said wasn't a direct quote. The headline has been changed to reflect the quote from the Charleston reporter.

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