House candidate John Koster under fire for ‘rape thing’ comment
By Rachel Weiner
John Koster, a Republican running in Washington’s 1st Congressional District, was caught on tape explaining his opposition to rape exceptions in abortion bans in language opponents deem callous.
“[I]ncest is so rare, I mean, it’s so rare,” Koster says in a recorded interview with an activist from Fuse Washington, a liberal group. “But the rape thing … you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept her child, gave it up for adoption, she doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent. 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? You know what I mean?”
Koster later put out a statement saying: “Rape is a vicious and horribly violent crime, and no one in Washington State has been tougher on criminals and sex offenders than I have been, period.”
Koster, a member of the Snohomish County Council, has emphasized his economic positions rather than his social conservatism in this swing district. He recently told a local news station that he would uphold current abortion law, saying, “My personal beliefs are my personal beliefs on abortion.”
His opponent, Democrat Suzan DelBene, has invested heavily in ads highlighting Koster’s social views. Koster has attacked the self-financed DelBene as an out-of-touch multimillionaire trying to buy her way into politics. Polls show a very tight race for a seat that has been completely redrawn since former representative Jay Inslee (D), now running for governor, represented it.