NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

John Koster: “The rape thing” is not a valid reason for a woman to terminate a pregnancy

Anoth­er week, anoth­er insen­si­tive and offen­sive com­ment about rape from a self-right­eous male Repub­li­can who does­n’t believe in the right to privacy.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Todd Akin and Richard Mour­dock, our own local arch­con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­date for U.S. House — John Koster — has can­did­ly stat­ed his own extreme (and igno­rant) views on repro­duc­tive rights and wom­en’s health for the ben­e­fit of vot­ers in the dis­trict he’d like to represent.

We’ve known for some time that Koster — who is run­ning for Con­gress for the third time — does­n’t believe that women should have the free­dom to make their own repro­duc­tive deci­sions. But in a secret­ly-record­ed con­ver­sa­tion with an activist from Fuse Wash­ing­ton, who recent­ly attend­ed one of his cam­paign fundrais­ing events, Koster made it plain­ly clear he believes abor­tion should be ille­gal except if a wom­an’s life is in dan­ger. What about preg­nan­cies result­ing from incest or rape?

As the tran­script below shows, Koster believes women should not have the right to choose abor­tion in those circumstances.

QUESTIONER: Is there any time that you would agree with abortion?

JOHN KOSTER: Um.… When a moth­er’s life is in dan­ger, I’m not going to make that decision.


JOHN KOSTER: You know, I know they go out and… incest is so rare, I mean, it’s so rare. But, uh… the rape thing, you know… I know a woman who was raped and kept her child, gave it up for adop­tion, and she does­n’t regret it.  In fact, she’s a… she’s a big pro-life pro­po­nent. But on the rape thing, it’s like… how does, how does putting more vio­lence onto a wom­an’s body and tak­ing the life of an inno­cent child that’s not… that’s a con­se­quence of this crime… how does that make it bet­ter? You know what I mean?

QUESTIONER: But she has to live with the con­se­quence of that crime.

JOHN KOSTER: Well, you know, crime has con­se­quences. But how does it make it bet­ter by killing a child?

In oth­er words, what Koster is say­ing is, the law should not give women who are raped any recourse if they decide they do not want to car­ry a preg­nan­cy to term. Koster would have the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment insti­tute a total and com­plete ban on abor­tion, with only one excep­tion: to save the life of a woman. Then, and only then, he would refrain from hav­ing gov­ern­ment inter­fere. “The rape thing” (as he put it) is sim­ply not a valid rea­son for a woman to ter­mi­nate a pregnancy.

As far as Koster is con­cerned, blas­to­cysts and fetus­es are real­ly human beings, so abor­tion is wrong and should be out­lawed, no mat­ter what the cir­cum­stances. He’s enti­tled to his beliefs, of course. We strong­ly dis­agree with his world­view, but we can respect it. What we can­not respect, how­ev­er, is his desire to impose his world­view on every­one. If Koster and his ilk were to pre­vail, Amer­i­can women would not be free to make their own repro­duc­tive health deci­sions. Abor­tion would cease to be safe or legal. Preg­nan­cy pre­ven­tion and med­ical­ly-accu­rate sex edu­ca­tion would not be wide­ly avail­able, either.

Access to abor­tion is a mat­ter of lib­er­ty. Advo­cates for wom­en’s health talk often about choice, but women are not free to choose what’s right for them if there’s no clin­ic, hos­pi­tal, or oth­er facil­i­ty near­by pro­vid­ing a full range of ser­vices. With­out lib­er­ty, there is no choice. Koster is unapolo­get­i­cal­ly anti-lib­er­ty; he wants his own per­son­al views to be the law, and he’s not con­cerned about the consequences.

Koster’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent, Suzan Del­Bene, is cur­rent­ly run­ning ads ham­mer­ing Koster for his extreme views. The spot they’re run­ning does­n’t fea­ture the audio released today, but we would­n’t be sur­prised to see a new ad debut that does.

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  1. Del Bene needs to be elect­ed. She is engag­ing and artic­u­late and my feel­ing is that she will be a thought­ful and resource­ful mem­ber of the House.

    # by Mike Barer :: October 31st, 2012 at 10:51 PM
  2. Regard­ing the rape state­ment by John Koster, I am a vic­tim of a rape. It was long ago but still haunts me. A woman nev­er gets over a rape. If the rape pro­duced a preg­nan­cy It would be a child which is half the moth­er. Not just a thing the rapist pro­duced. To then put the woman through the life alter­ing deci­sion to end that life could cause unimag­in­able emo­tion­al harm to the woman. To give life is NEVER the wrong choice. There are oth­er options such as adop­tion. Some­times hav­ing a baby can be heal­ing ever thought of that?

    # by Ellie Brodland :: November 1st, 2012 at 7:03 AM
  3. Is it a guy thing or some­thing? All these male Repub­li­can con­gress­men run­ning for office seem to take the rape of a woman as about as impor­tant as a toothache. Back to the 1930s…

    Let me ver­bal­ly vis­it with you for half a minute Coun­cilmem­ber Koster. “That Rape thing” as you called it is some­thing no man will ever expe­ri­ence. Because a man can’t feel it as a woman, does that mean she should just suck it up and get on with life? I hope you have notice, Coun­cilmem­ber Koster, women are dif­fer­ent than men. Are our feel­ings less impor­tant because we are not men? Would you tell your wife or sis­ter to stop being such a cry­ba­by and get on with life if she were raped? I hope it nev­er hap­pens to your fam­i­ly sir, for you have a lot, a whole lot to learn.

    # by Marcy Williams :: November 1st, 2012 at 2:29 PM
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