Racist Iowa Rep. Steve King Asked If There’d “Be Any Population Left” Without Rape And Incest

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Iowa Rep. Steve King, the Republican lawmaker reprimanded by Congress earlier this year for making racist comments, was filmed Wednesday defending the place of rape and incest in human history during a speech to a local group of conservatives.

As the Des Moines Register first reported, King was addressing members of the Westside Conservative Club in the Iowa capital when he explained his refusal to include exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion bills he had tried to pass.

“What if it was OK and what if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape or incest?” he asked. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?”

“Considering all the wars and all the rape and pillage that’s taken place…I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that,” he said.

Many religious anti-abortion activists and leaders routinely argue that cases of rape or incest should not be exempt from abortion ban legislation, but King’s comments seemed to go further and defend the role of rape and incest in much of humanity’s very existence.

King — a staunch Catholic, who has previously said his religious morality serves as “a foundational support for [his] judgment on the policies that flow forth” — seemed to say he was defending human life.

“I’d like to think that every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life, and that’s our measure,” he told the crowd. “Human life cannot be measured. It is the measure itself against which all things are weighed.”

Representatives from King’s office and the Westside Conservative Club didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

King, who has a long history of making racist remarks, narrowly held on to his seat in November, following a tough campaign against J.D. Scholten, a former baseball player who is challenging King again in 2020.

In a statement emailed to BuzzFeed News, Scholten, a Democrat, said King had put “his selfish, hateful ideology” above the needs of his constituents.

“Here in Iowa, we stand strong together in the face of violence, and strive to create a welcoming and safe community for all people,” said Scholten. “His comments are disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values.”

Ilyse Hogue, the president of abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, also condemned King’s words.

“Steve King has proven once again that he is a national embarrassment and a rape apologist. He has no place in Congress,” she said in a statement. “Every member of his party should condemn his misogynistic and racist views and he should resign immediately.”

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand responded to King on Twitter: “You are a disgrace,” wrote the Democratic presidential hopeful. “Resign.”

Other Democratic contenders Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Kamala Harris also called on followers to support Scholten for Congress.

But it wasn’t just those on the left coming for King. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming congresswoman who serves as House Republican Conference Chair, also condemned his comments, calling them “appalling and bizarre.”

“As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go,” Cheney tweeted. “The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better.

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King’s comments come as a suite of Republican-governed states including Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio have passed legislation in recent months tightening access to abortion that include no exemptions for women who have been the victims of rape or incest. Those behind the wave of legislation are hoping to get an audience before the Supreme Court with the hope of overturning Roe v. Wade now that there are a solid majority of conservative justices.

The Iowa lawmaker’s comments Wednesday are just the latest to spark controversy.

In January, Congress passed a resolution that admonished King for his comments to the New York Times in which he asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

Republican leadership subsequently stripped King of his committee assignments, including the influential House Judiciary Committee.

In March, a Colorado man was arrested for allegedly throwing a glass of water at King as he dined in central Iowa.

“Based on witness information, it is believed Mr. King was specifically targeted due to his position as a United States representative,” said local police.

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