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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.


  1. Posted October 31st, 2012 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    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.

  2. Ellie Brodland
    Posted November 1st, 2012 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    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?

  3. Marcy Williams
    Posted November 1st, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    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.