Republican Candidate John Koster Opposes Abortion in Instances of ‘the Rape Thing’

I thought Republicans had gotten the memo: When someone asks you about abortion, just pretend that you don’t speak-a the Eenglish and walk away.

Congressional candidate John Koster (R-WA) didn’t get the message. When asked over the weekend if he supported abortion in any cases, Koster said he would if the life of a woman was in danger…

… but not when it came to “the rape thing“:

John Koster

“Incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare. But the rape thing, you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption and 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?”

[“Yeah, but she has to live with the consequences of that crime.”]

“Yeah, I know. I know crime has consequences, but how does it make it better by killing a child?”

There’s a guy filled with compassion and empathy for those victims: Yeah, they just went through a traumatic incident, but let’s force them to spend the next nine months carrying around a permanent reminder of their rape.

Of course, nobody’s “killing a child.” And if abortion is legal and sought out early enough, then it’s not even close to “violent.” Maybe if he knew something about the procedure and how it works, or he knew someone who needed to get one, he wouldn’t just be spouting out conservative talking points. Or maybe he thought the question was only referencing “legitimate rape.”

But this is a guy who thinks he should be in charge of making decisions about women’s healthcare. He’s not and he has no business going into public office.

If you want a way to make him pay for his comments, send some donations to his opponent, Suzan DelBene.

(Thanks to Sue for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Willy Occam

    Looks like Colbert will have to update his GOP Rape Tally whiteboard again.

  • Skulander

    Yeah. The “Rape Thing.” Stay classy, Republicans.

  • Gregory Lynn

    They simply do not view women as people.

  • Jansen Waddell

    With all due respect, my dear Americans, with people like this being able to run for public office (with a large following, I might add) you must understand why it is foreigners assume you’re dumb. Since you’re such an industrialised, technologically-advanced nation, this nonsense is all the more baffling. Who the fuck votes for these cunts?

  • pagansister

    Good Grief!   Some folks are just plain “ignorant”!   Let’s hope that this man stays a candidate and no one votes him into office.   Foot in mouth disease reigns! 

  • Ibis3

     Do you call people niggers and faggots too, you fucking wad of gutter slime?

  • C Peterson

    So what is his position on that whole “incestuous rape thing”?

  • MargueriteF

    Wow, these guys just don’t learn, do they? The level of stupidity here is astounding.

  • JBH

    Happy to say I just voted against him yesterday.   It is, sadly, a close race, though.  Last poll I saw has DelBene up by just 3 points.

    Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first stupid thing he’s ever said.  Koster on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security: “It has become a system that punishes those who dare to dream, those who dare to invest, those who dare to work hard or succeed. And it seems to reward the mediocrity, dare I say it, slothfulness, and laziness, of those who choose not to do those things. And, furthermore, it creates a dependency on government programs, even an addiction I can say, by virtue of the sense of entitlement it creates.”

  • Alexander

    It’s twice as funny that his opponent is female in that case.

  • Obz0cky

    Republicans decide to counter criticism of hypocrisy with consistency. If a woman can’t consent to a medical procedure (transvaginal ultrasounds,  or even abortion on principle with mandatory waiting periods and counseling sessions) or to give birth, what does her consent matter in relation to sex? A woman has no say is what is done with her body, according to them.

    Unless you share those viewpoints, do not vote any Republicans to legislating bodies. With Mitt Romney’s “mathematically impossible” budget plan, there’s no excuse for electing Republicans to higher office this year.

  • jeremy terrell

    I mean it’s just so….rare

  • Obz0cky

    Akin’s too. This will say a lot about the American public to see who wins next month.

  • Fargofan

    Asking these candidates about their views on rape is like handing them rope and watching them enthusiastically hang themselves. With Republicans like these, who needs political opponents?

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    For the senate race in my district the, shocking, male republicans decided to bring up rape and pretty much argued that because his adopted nephew is the product of rape and he is just the sweetest guy that there is no reason to allow an exception for rape. 

  • Anne

    for some reason, the C- word is not considered as horrible of an insult in the UK as it is here.  Not defending, just something I’ve come across.

  • Neil Rickert

    Koster: When a mother’s life is in danger, I’m not going to make that decision.

    Well, there’s the problem already.Why should he ever make that decision.  The woman is a moral agent.  It is her decision to make.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Frankly it’s not as much of insult in the US either. I think this is the first I’ve seen anyone fly into such a rage about it.

  • Helanna

    It depends on where you are. I’ve seen some people flip about it, and others use it with about the same frequency as ‘fuck’. I’m not a big fan of it, myself. 

  • Miss_Beara

    “Hey everyone. I knew someone who was raped but she didn’t abort and she gave it up for adoption. See, if she can do it, everyone can!”

  • Miss_Beara

    They don’t at all. Women are merely incubators. You get raped? Rapists “child”>Women. 

  • burton40

    Good for him. At least he’s honest about how he feels.

  • chicago dyke, Blonde

    the question i’d really like to see one of these idiots get asked, just to see the look on their faces as they stammer and try not to speak what actually comes to mind:

    “so if your daughter/wife/grand daughter were raped and impregnated by an HIV+ muslim african, you’d be ok with her remaining pregnant until delivery? should she also raise the child, too?”

  • jose

    I wonder when republicans are going to take their party back from the hands of the conservative movement/religious right.

    Americans certainly aren’t encouraging them to do it, given the polls.

  • wmdkitty

    Yep, ‘cuz all those seniors and disabled people are just fuckin’ lazy….

    What a douche.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I’ve come across the same thing. It seems to be be the British equivalent of F*ck. Along with tw*t

  • Obz0cky

    Twat and cunt are still gendered profanities. It’s worth considering in context.

  • Obz0cky

    The Republicans ARE the conservative movement/religious right, since the Tea Party and Norquist and other polarizing elements forced a extremist singular vision. But the Libertarian Party and Constitution Party do receive more votes than the Green Party and however many Socialist Parties the U.S. has that typically fail to get on more than a couple state ballots. Not that I’m a fan of free market tyranny, but you know,  just putting it out there that plenty of right wingers especially college students support Republican alternatives or elect liberal moderates, like Obama.

  • Brian Pansky

     this is the first I’ve seen someone claim this is the first they’ve seen anyone upset about it.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Sort of. “Bitch” is a gendered profanity. “Cunt” and “twat” are only gendered in the sense that they refer to genitals. They are still words that are used to insult both men and women alike.

  • The Captain

    Who cares… really this is getting ridiculous. So he wouldn’t make an exemption for rape victims, o.k. that’s not the point, the point is abortion should be available for anyone rape or not.

    Stop letting these idiots frame the debate!

  • Brian Pansky

    The net is vast…

     it is odd though to use a gendered insult that does not even match.  You know, that one gender that seems to be at the receiving end of some oppression.

  • Brian Pansky

     he is honestly displaying his ignorance, and his ability to invoke some rape victim as some kind of “this week’s insider tip: how to be the best rape victim” rallying point.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Nice strawman. I’m not denying it’s an insult. All I’m saying, as a person who has lived in several different parts of the US, is that I’ve never seen anyone in this country fly into such a rage about it, as I stated previously.

  • Brian Pansky

     I’m very sad that I don’t have much realistic hope for the best.  I mean, they’ve got this far in their political career…

  • Obz0cky

    They refer to female genitals, which makes them gendered, unlike asshole. Twat is probably regarded more like prick (not as playful as dick, if you know what I’m trying to say on a rather odd issue). But none of those carry the weight of cunt. I suppose it also depends on the audience. My brother routinely refers to unpleasant women as cunts and our 50 year old parents are horrified, same as my Kentucky-bred roommate.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Actually, I think asshole IS gendered since it’s really only used to refer to men. 

  • Obz0cky

    Are they framing the debate, or are we exposing the concern trolls for the fascists they truly are? They aren’t allowed to perpetuate the madonna/whore complex if they reveal their belief that madonna is a whore, after all, God never asked for Mary’s consent.

    The point is Koster’s dismissive language and out of touch position. People ignored the increasing attacks on abortion rights until Republicans started disparaging rape victims too.

  • Artor

    I think it would be safe to say that MOST assholes are men, but I do in fact know some female assholes. Some prefer to call them bitches, but I was raised to not use that term except for dogs.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Thank you for confirming exactly what I was talking about.

  • Obz0cky

    Hmm, that might have something to do with the ‘male univesal’ in language, since mixed groups are often referred to as a bunch of assholes. But I’ve called women assholes and bastards before – do you not swear much?

  • Ouigui

    Judging by your helpful comment, it seems that necrotic sheep-shagging scrotal hernias such as yourself are plentiful in every country. The kinda people who toss around “cunt” as a casual slur are just the sort of folks I expect to vote for this man.

    With all due respect, of course.

  • Richard Wade

    “My dear” Mr. Waddell,
    You begin your remarks with “With all due respect,” and then you show us none at all.

    Yes, many of us Americans are just as baffled by how advanced we are and yet how backward many of our citizens can be.  We’re trying to figure that out, and unlike you, we’re trying to make positive changes. If you, as a “foreigner” have some insight from your view from the outside that could actually help us, I’m sure we would be very grateful to hear it.

    If, however you’ve only spoken up to smugly strut your sense of superiority, and to reaffirm and justify your opinion that we’re all “dumb,” then “with all due respect,” you can take your remarks, write them on a piece of paper, roll it up tight, tear it in half, shove one down your throat and one up your ass, and set fire to both.

  • wmdkitty

    AFAIK, “asshole” isn’t explicitly gendered, and can be used to refer to any person who meets the qualifications.

  • Richard Wade

    I think by repeating “the rape thing,” Koster is trying to make rape abstract, less real, an idea, a concept, a notion, an angle, a spin, an opinion, only a way of looking at something, making rape somehow one step away from the three-dimensional, horrific reality that it is. 

    He doesn’t say “the child thing,” although I wouldn’t be surprised if “the woman thing” slips out of his mouth some day.

  • Obz0cky

    Can we call Congressional Republicans that now? Qualified assholes? I like the distinction; they’ve earned it.

  • wmdkitty


    I like!

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Good Point Richard, he’s trying to make rape less than it is, changing the way it’s thought of and getting people to forget the trauma that it actually is. Rape is an horrific crime, it is an assault on the body and the mind of the victim.  People like this need to be called out on their words every time they state something like this, not just calling them out on their prospective policies but on how they frame their words. They must not be allowed to get away with this.

  • DougI

    Those who want to force women to give birth don’t have a problem with them being forced into sex.  To them women are just property to be manhandled at will since they don’t believe in female autonomy.  Pro-life = pro-rape.

  • RobertoTheChi

    I personally don’t get offended by the word cunt. Now call me fat ass (which I am very thin btw) and I fly into a rage. Go figure.

  • Katherine Lorraine

    This is the thing that bothers me about ALL of these responses:

    They always come out with the anecdote about the woman who was raped and decided to have her baby and she loved them and blah blah blah.

    YES! That’s FINE! Pro-choice people aren’t saying that you must have an abortion if you get raped. To be able to have the choice to have your baby… seriously, that’s what we want!!!

  • Joe Mama

    This guy should ask some pediatricians and read some behavioral journals: incest is not all that rare.

    Talking about it is.

  • Thumper1990

    How on earth can you compare “cunt” to “nigger” or “faggot”? It sounds as if you think it’s some sort of discriminatory slur… I don’y know if that’s how you use it in America, but here in the UK it can legitimately be applied to anyone (though it is generally considered to be the rudest word in the language).

  • M. Elaine

     That’s a really interesting bit of insight into this. How could someone who doesn’t value the choice of a woman when it comes to pregnancy value the choice of a woman when it comes to sex?

  • Thumper1990

    I don’t understand how you can compare “cunt” to “nigger” or “faggot”. It’s generally considered to be “the rudest word in the English language”, but it’s not a discriminatory slur, as the latter two are. At least, not here in the UK, I wasn’t aware you guys used it differently?

    Someone below suggested that you may consider it to be a gendered insult, but by that logic “dick” is a gendered insult. Both refer to genitals, but equally both can be applied to people of any sex. They really cannot be compared to discriminatory slurs.

  • Tainda

    Yep, incest is disgustingly common

  • Baal

     The (R) do one thing right – they run ideologues for every public office under the sun including soil and water commissioner.  This means that the amount of right wingers in all levels of government is disproportionate.  So we atheists should look at our ballots next Tuesday and consider running next time for those odd election slots that no one knows what they are.  We should stuff the government with us.

    @OP – like the Colbert joke that was mentioned in this thread, the (R) can’t help but screw up regularly on rape apologetic in public.  They are programmed (given talking points) from the pro-life wing that are functionally pro-rape (as well noted in these comments).  They will occasionally not be careful to recite poll-tested version and viola, horrific comment follows.  I don’t see them stopping the pro-life talking points anytime soon but they will  keep screwing up on rape until they do.

  • Willy Occam

    It seems that incest must be fairly common… or else where do all these inbred Red-State Republicans come from?

  • Jeff P

    Exactly.  By supporting the pro-choice stance, you are free to personally decide to carry the embryo to term or have the abortion.  You have the freedom of that choice.  You are also free to try to influence others to make the same decision that you would make.  The pro-life politicians, though, want to impose their (largely religious) beliefs on everybody and deny individuals the freedom to make their own choice in this matter.  The pro-life stance is an authoritarian top-down approach.  The pro-choice stance is a freedom maximizing bottom-up approach.  I wish the discussion would always be cast in this way.

  • Octoberfurst

     I’d love to ask Koster why he thinks Medicare & Social Security “punishes those who dare to dream.”  WTF is he talking about?  It’s a safety net program for seniors for crying out loud.  I swear Republicans get dumber by the day!  And the sad part is there are a lot of people who will vote for them.

  • The Captain

    “Are they framing the debate”, well seeing how every argument I see on the net and in the MSM is about abortion in the case of rape, then yes, they are framing the debate once again.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Oh my GAWD I need to get internet at my house again so that I can catch up with the Colbert Report…

  • Yotey

    Probably because we are used to calling people female names as a slur. Having a cunt or being female is something to be ashamed of, men would never want to be ‘girly’

  • rlrose63

    These guys just floor me.  I was raped when I was 19, 30 years ago.  I carry that memory with me to this day.  I’m now a mother with a 12-year-old son with my husband.  I carried him with joy and happiness, knowing he was conceived from the love between my husband and me.  I cherish every day I was pregnant.

    I could not FATHOM carrying a child that is the result of that violent act I endured, knowing that this child carries the DNA of the man who thought so little of me as to use me and throw me away, like toilet paper.  No, it’s not the fetus’s fault, I get that.  But my mental health and wellbeing is more valid and worthy of protection than the group of cells that I most certainly would have tried to eliminate.

    These men who talk so casually about “the rape thing” and how they must protect “the children” who are the result of that violent act do not have a clue in their pretty little heads what it would be like to carry the product of a crime with them for 10 months, reliving that event day in and day out.  It is so incredibly offensive to hear them talk like this.

  • Yotey

    Exactly, that’s like me saying I have a friend that can run a 5 minute mile, so in theory everyone can!

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I agree that context is everything. 

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Just to add to the end of this, but I’ve heard of men referred to as C*nt or Tw*t before. 

  • Obz0cky

    But I always see people drawing parallels to consent and concluding that “exceptions” do not change the procedure itself but punish women for sex. Your implied point that no women needs to justify why she needs an abortion is underscored again and again.

  • wmdkitty

    Don’t you just love how all the men are jumping in to explain how it’s “not a slur”?

  • Coyotenose

     I’ll also call someone of either gender “asshole” or “shithead”, but no, our usage is very atypical in the general population.

  • Coyotenose

     “Dick” is a gendered insult, and some who go all the way in trying to combat gendered slurs will object to it. I see why, but I won’t police my language to that extent so long as the societal power differential is so vast. “Prick” has stealthily become so minor that it sometimes appears* on primetime television despite our serious restrictions on TV language.

    Gendered slurs are quite discriminatory (mainly the female ones), but they aren’t comparable to “nigger” in the U.S. Not even close. Comparable to “faggot”? … hmm, not sure there. As far as societal perception of them, I think “cunt” is considered much worse than “faggot”, which is considered much worse than “bitch”. I know, a hierarchy of acceptability of slurs makes no sense, but when did not making sense ever stop us?


  • Maria

    Exactly! He won’t make that decision for a fully grown woman who can think for herself, but somehow a ball of cells that hasn’t even developed a brain yet and who will affect the fully grown woman’s life for the rest of her life, that’s who he feels he just HAS to speak up for. Disgusting. 

  • enuma

    So he’s saying that it’s wrong for rape victims to obtain abortions, at least in part, because abortion puts “more violence onto a woman’s body.”  Um…. has he never seen a video of child birth?  The blood?  The tearing?   Talk about violent.

    What really compounds the violence of rape is telling a woman that not only did her rapist get to make decisions about her body without her consent, now a politician is going to do the very same thing by forcing her to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want.

  • smrnda

     I’m relatively affluent and I’m an entrepreneur, and honestly, everybody dreams, including the disabled, and people who didn’t happen to have the good luck I did to be born to affluent parents who could pay for my college tuition so I could get a great job today. I am very happy to be paying taxes so people who weren’t as lucky as I am can actually live the very modest dreams most of them have, like not being homeless. Plus, I work in an office. In front of a computer. I do not ‘work harder’ than poor people.

    I think the problem with Republicans is that to them, the unlimited acquisition of control of resources is a valid dream. On a small scale, it’s like saying it’s a valid dream to seize control of the only water source in a populated desert region since “this way I can make a profit.” No, I’d argue that taken to that extreme, it’s about as sadistic as murder. For some people, their ‘dream’ is a world where they rule everybody else like feudal lords. I’m sorry, but if that’s your dream, I hope the government does confiscate your wealth.

  • lefty

    in New Zealand it’s actually a casual word of affection, like “bloke”
    i think it has gotten blown out of proportion among feminists (male feminist here) in the states. i think the solution is to create new TERRIBLE WORDS. let the New Zealanders have “cunt” and then elevate “prick” to the current US TERRIBLE WORD version of “cunt” and then create a new word for the US TERRIBLE WORD version for “cunt.”

    goddamn this is complicated. can’t everyone chill the f out?

  • cathouseumbrella

    LOL. What an odd response. Are we comparing swearing ability now? Since it’s important to you, I assure you I can swear with the best of them. But that’s not particularly relevant, is it? Just because you personally use “asshole” and “bastard” without regard to gender doesn’t mean that’s how they are generally used, and the reality is that those terms ARE typically male-specific.

  • cathouseumbrella

    And women would never what want to be manly.

  • Jansen Waddell

    “Do you call people niggers and faggots too, you fucking wad of gutter slime?”

    No, I don’t, my dear.

  • Jansen Waddell

    Of all the things I said in my comment earlier, my use of that word was the most off-putting to you? Meanwhile, men like John Koster are legitimate congressional candidates. I applaud you for tackling the issues head-on.

  • Jansen Waddell

    I said in my first comment that foreigners ASSUME Americans are dumb, which is quite true (that we assume they’re dumb, not that they’re actually dumb). Of course, by “they” I don’t mean all of them. Further, I made the effort to clearly point out that it is merely an assumption, a sweeping generalisation. I presume that this was done in error.

    Finally, the fact that there is an abortion “debate” raging in the States and not in other non-3rd world nations (except traditionally Catholic Ireland) should tell you, my dear sir, in which direction you should be heading.

  • wmdkitty

    If you don’t use those other slurs, WHY DO YOU INSIST ON USING “CUNT”? It’s EXACTLY the same goddamn thing — a slur meant to dehumanize, denigrate, and marginalize a segment of the population for a characteristic they have no control over. (And all that is without getting into the whole “equating female genitals with negativity” thing!)

  • wmdkitty

    Christ on a cracker, you’re stupid!

  • Jansen Waddell

    First, I believe you’ll find that ‘cunt’ is different in my part of the world. I presume you’re American, where it is used to refer to females exclusively; not so in the rest of the English-speaking world. Second, surely this is not the debate we should be having, is it?

  • Jansen Waddell

    I find it downright silly to be disputing whether ‘cunt’ is a slur or not. Should I as a male be offended when people use the term ‘dickhead’ or ‘bellend’ to refer to individuals? Because I don’t see it as the whole “equating male genitals with negativity” thing. You’ll find, in most languages, that curse words are based on or originate from the genitals and/or most bodily functions. Of course, this is an argument I could never win in a public forum because you’ve done the cowardly thing and hidden behind your gender, so anything I say towards you is automatically sexist. It is this cowardice that undermines real feminism and, frankly, you should be ashamed.