Just hours after Congressman Steve King made offensive comments about rape and incest this morning, he was confronted by a constituent over a real-life example of incestuous rape in his district.
Katie Koehler, a retired Mason City public school teacher, told King that one of her 10-year-old students became pregnant after she was raped by her uncle, and asked King whether he would make that child carry a baby to term.
“As a fourth grade teacher, I had a student that was raped by their uncle and became pregnant,” Koehler said at King’s Rockwell town hall forum Wednesday afternoon. “It does happen. I do know, at the time, that the parents chose to terminate the pregnancy, and I understand why. It’s a 10-year-old child … I’m just wondering. I have my own personal beliefs. But if it’s a zero-tolerance policy, I am concerned of the health and safety of our youth.”
King looked taken aback.
“I’ve never heard of a case that extreme until today,” King replied. “Under the circumstances we’re in right now, I’d rather deliberate on this and try to get you an answer back.”
Koehler added that there were many other such examples she knew about over the years of young students being raped.
Earlier this morning, King talked about having no exceptions in abortion laws for rape and incest, going on to seemingly downplay the negative impacts of such acts by pointing to they contribute to population numbers.
“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” the Des Moines Register reported King saying at the Westside Conservative Club this morning. “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”
After the meeting with King, Koheler said she was not happy with King’s answer to her question.
King told Koehler that he believes in the “sanctity of human life,” and doesn’t want to create a policy that would “exclude all the others that are so precious.” Mostly, though, he seemed to sidestep the question and simply asked her for more information.
Koehler said she had heard the comments King had made earlier in the day when the congressman posed the question of whether there’d be any population left if it weren’t for rape and incest.
“I read it, but I’m a true believer in this,” Koehler said, indicating the town hall setting. “They always say ‘fake news, fake news, fake news,’ so I try to go to as many people as I can, whether Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever.”
“I try to talk to people face to face, so that’s why I came here just to see, because I needed answers,” Koehler said.
She said she wasn’t happy with King’s answer because the student she was referring to would have died if she was forced to carry the pregnancy to term.
“I think this is a health issue, and I don’t think the law should even have anything to do with women’s health,” Koehler said. “And when it comes to rape and that example I gave of a 10-year-old child, it does happen. It does, and that is not anybody’s business.”
Per King’s request, Koehler said she will send the congressman advice on how to deal with the issues of rape and incest and said she will “stay open minded” about whether he will actually take her advice. When asked specifically, Koehler mouthed “no” she doesn’t believe King will take her advice, but said again, “I have to stay open-minded. I do, because, you know, we’re not going to get any better unless we talk.”
About 20 people showed up to listen to King talk at the event, and three protesters were outside his event. Steve Bell could clearly be heard by the crowd yelling, “even the GOP don’t want him!” from the sidewalk.
“I’m trying to stop this Nazi Steve King,” Bell told Iowa Starting Line. “I have lived here for 40 years and I protest whenever I can, but especially for him.”
Nancy Hubert was also outside, holding a sign in protest.
She said she had heard of King’s comments of incest and rape earlier in the day.
“It’s the white supremacist in him who thinks the only way to keep the white race going is to make sure there is no abortions and that men are raping their daughters,” Hubert said.
She said today was the first time she had protested in 50 years.
“The last guy I protested was Nixon,” Hubert said “We have the same guy here. He’s the same guy.”
by Paige Godden