Tags: smith | pennsylvania | senate | abortion

Pa. Sen. Candidate Calls Rape, Unwed Pregnancy 'Similar'

The Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania compared a pregnancy from an unwed union to one resulting from rape as he defended his no-abortion position.

Republican Tom Smith, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, said during a Pennsylvania Press Club event that he disgreed with the controversial comments of Missouri's Todd Akin but that he too felt abortion should be banned without any exceptions.

Pressed by a reporter on how he would handle a daughter or granddaughter becoming pregnant as a result of rape, Smith said he had already "lived something similar to that" in his family.

"She chose life, and I commend her for that," Smith said. "She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn't have to ... she chose the way I thought. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't rape."

A reporter then asked for clarification about what kind of situation was similar to pregnancy from rape. "Having a baby out of wedlock," Smith said.
"Put yourself in a father's position. Yes, it is similar."

In the Senate race in Missouri, Republican candidate Todd Akin drew condemnation from Democrats and many Republicans when he referred to "legitimate rape" in discussing his stance against abortion in all cases.

By late Monday, Smith's campaign was clarifying his statements.

Megan Piwowar, a spokeswoman for Smith, said Smith was misunderstood and that the "out of wedlock" pregnancy in his family was not his daughter's.

"Tom Smith is committed to protecting the sanctity of life and believes it begins at conception," she said in a statement. "While his answers to some of the questions he faced at the Pennsylvania Press club may have been less than artful, at no time did he draw the comparison that some have inferred.

"When questioned if he was drawing that comparison, Tom's answer was clear, 'no, no, no.' Tom was speaking to the difficult decision faced by his family, not the nature of his daughters conception.”

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