Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith on Monday equated pregnancies caused by rape with out-of-wedlock pregnancies. His comments could again harm a party trying to recover from Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks about how a woman’s body could “shut that whole thing down” when rapes were “legitimate.”
Smith, who is running to unseat Democrat Bob Casey, was asked a hypothetical question about how he would counsel a daughter or granddaughter who had been impregnated after being raped.
In response, Smith said, “I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that … Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t rape.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, when asked to clarify his “it wasn’t rape” remarks, Smith said he was referring to “having a baby out of wedlock.”
After saying having a baby out of wedlock was not similar to rape, Smith then said it was similar.
“But, well, put yourself in a father’s position,” Smith said. “Yes, I mean, it is similar.”
Pressed again about his comments, Smith then said he never equated a pregnancy caused by rape to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
“I never said that,” Smith said. “I didn’t even come close to that.”
Smith trails Casey by 19 points in the polls, and his comments are not likely to help Romney win over the crucial suburban voters in the Philadelphia suburbs Romney has to win if he has any chance of winning Pennsylvania.