John Koster: ‘Rape thing’ not cause for abortion

OLYMPIA — A Republican congressional candidate said abortion should not be legal, even when it involves “the rape thing,” according to audio provided Wednesday to The Associated Press.

An activist working on behalf of liberal group FUSE Washington asked questions of Republican hopeful John Koster during a fundraiser Sunday. Koster said he does not oppose abortion when the life of the mother is in danger but then explains he would oppose it when it involves rape or incest.

Koster twice uses the phrase “the rape thing” when describing his views, first saying that he knows a woman who was raped and gave up the child for adoption without any regrets.

“But on the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?” Koster said in the exchange.

Koster’s campaign manager, Larry Stickney, said the candidate has long been a proponent of dealing strongly with sex offenders. He noted that Koster worked in the state legislature on legislation to crack down on sex offenders and has daughters of his own.

“To imply that he’s cavalier about the issue is preposterous,” Stickney said.

Koster is locked in a competitive House race against Democrat Suzan DelBene.

Republicans have been beleaguered this year by comments about rape that some have deemed offensive. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, said women’s bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

More recently, Indiana GOP candidate Richard Mourdock has been criticized for saying that pregnancy resulting from rape is God’s will.

Collin Jergens, a spokesman at the advocacy group FUSE Washington, said one of the group’s activists went to the fundraiser to ask Koster about the issue of abortion. Democrats have been trying to portray Koster as out of touch with the district, which stretches from areas east of Seattle to the border with Canada, and they have focused particularly on his stance on social issues.

Sara Kiesler, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, said the Koster’s remarks are proof that he shouldn’t be involved in a woman’s decision about her pregnancy.

“My gut reaction was that rape is violence, and that rape is a crime, and that his choice of words diminishes that violence,” Kiesler said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Crews will reduce lanes and eventually close northbound Interstate 5 between Everett and Marysville this week to work on a bridge overpass girder. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Overnight lane closures, I-5 detour set between Everett, Marysville

Crews need to replace a girder on the 12th Street NE bridge that was damaged by an overheight load in September 2021.

Mike Rosen
Businessman Mike Rosen announces campaign for mayor of Edmonds

Rosen, a city planning board member, is backed by five former Edmonds mayors. It’s unclear if incumbent Mike Nelson will run again.

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. After more than half a century, Boeing is rolling its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing’s last 747 to roll off the Everett assembly line

The Queen of the Skies was dethroned by smaller, more fuel-efficient jets. The last 747s were built for a cargo carrier.

PUD workers install new transformers along 132nd Street on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Electric vehicles spur big forecast jump for PUD demand

Not long ago, the Snohomish County PUD projected 50,000 electric cars registered in the county by 2040. Now it expects up to 660,000.

Traffic moves northbound on I-5 through Everett on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Grinding work still needed for I-5 through Everett

Construction crews need warmer temps for the work to remove what a reader described as “mini raised speed bumps.”

After a day of learning to fight fires, Snohomish firefighter recruit Chau Nguyen flakes a hose as other recruits load the hoses onto a fire truck April 19, 2018, at the training facility on S. Machias Rd. in Snohomish. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)
Lawsuit: Everett firefighter sexually harassed numerous recruits

Chau Nguyen resigned earlier this year, long after the first complaint about his behavior at the county’s fire training academy.

Jamie Haggard
Half-brother gets 15 years in dismemberment, leaving body near Maltby

After his conviction of second-degree murder, David Haggard still claims innocence in Jamie Haggard’s killing in 2016.

People work on the roof of the Stilly Valley Senior Center on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors evacuated from Stilly Valley Center housing due to roof damage

Residents said water damage issues began years ago. Mid-winter repairs forced them into hotels.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Trade in an unloaded gun for a loaded gift card in Mukilteo, Everett

Mukiteo’s Gun Buyback is Saturday. Everett has $25,000 to give out at its exchange Dec. 17.

Most Read