Tom Smith, GOP Senate Candidate: Pregnancy From Rape Similar To ‘Having a Baby Out Of Wedlock’ [Video]

Tom Smith, the Republican challenging Sen. Bob Casey’s seat, suggested that having a child out of wedlock was analogous to rape.

In the aftermath of Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) ignorant comments that “legitimate rape” doesn’t often lead to pregnancy, Republicans have been scrambling to distance themselves from Akin.

However, Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Tom Smith sparked further controversy Monday after he compared a pregnancy resulting from rape to “having a baby out-of-wedlock.”

According to The Huff Post, Smith said Monday at the Pennsylvania Press Club that although he condemns Akin’s comment, he agrees with Akin that abortion should be banned without any exceptions, including for rape and incest victims.

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 … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”

When a reporter asked Smith to explain what kind of situation was similar to becoming pregnant from rape, the candidate responded, “Having a baby out of wedlock.”

Smith added, “Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar.”

Smith, who is running against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in November, later clarified his statements at the same event.

“No … I said I went through a situation [with a daughter]. It’s very, very difficult,” Smith said. “But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.”

Megan Piwowar, a spokeswoman for Smith, later issued a statement.

“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,” Piwowar said.

According to Business Week, Smith is the underdog in his race against Casey, who opposes abortion and has called for Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing the procedure nationwide — to be overturned. A poll released yesterday by the Philadelphia Inquirer shows Casey leading Smith by 19 percentage points.

Smith’s comments and the attention they attracted came just eight days after another Republican Senate nominee, Todd Akin of Missouri, said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant.

Akin later apologized for his widely-condemned statements. However, he has refused to drop out of the Missouri U.S. Senate Race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill – describing the comments as an isolated mistake.

Republicans gathered in Tampa, Florida, for their party’s national convention this week say that November’s election will turn on the economy, not on social issues.

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