Remarks made by Iowa Rep. Steve King to KMEG 14 drew national attention on Tuesday, as King distanced himself from U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri.
On Monday, KMEG 14 reporter Heather Leigh asked Rep. King if a pregnant 12-year-old should be eligible for a federally-funded abortion. King replied:"Well, I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way, and I'd be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter. Generally speaking, it's this: That there are millions of abortions in this country every year, and millions of them are paid for, at least in part, by taxpayers. I think it's immoral of us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter. So that's my stand, and if there are exceptions there, then bring me those exceptions and let's talk about it. But in the meantime, it's wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion."
In a statement, King accused liberal blogs of taking his words out of context:"I believe sexual assault is a disgusting, violent crime and those who commit these terrible acts should be severely punished to the fullest extent of the law.""The liberal press and their allies have again twisted my words. I never said, nor do I believe, a woman, including minors, cannot get pregnant from rape, statutory rape or incest. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous, shameful, disgusting and nothing but an attempt to falsely define who I am."
During KMEG's original interview with Rep. King, the congressman had this to say about federal funding for abortion:"It's wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion. And here's an example: Planned Parenthood in Iowa, they did fifty-five hundred abortions last year in Iowa -- that's by their own account -- without a single referral for adoption. It's an industry to them. It's not compassionate, the thing that they are doing."
According to the latest statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion in the United States, taxpayers funded 180,621 abortions during the 2010 fiscal year, not millions as King claimed. Of those, 331, or 0.2%, were paid for by the federal government.
In Iowa, Guttmacher reports 23 taxpayer-funded abortions in FY 2010, 3 of them federally-funded.
When asked about the disparity, King campaign spokesperson Jimmy Centers pointed to the $487 million in federal funding Planned Parenthood received in 2010, saying, "The hundreds of millions of dollars given to Planned Parenthood are used, in part, to perform abortions."
In response, Jill June, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland blasted King, issuing a statement to KMEG:"Planned Parenthood uses absolutely no federal funding for abortion care. The fact is, federal funds received by Planned Parenthood in Iowa and across the country supplements the cost of lifesaving preventive health care to women who cannot afford these services on her own. Federal funding allows a woman in tough economic times to receive quality health care at a more affordable price than she could receive elsewhere. Such services include breast exams, Pap tests, annual exams, HIV testing, birth control and more. If it were not for these funds and for Planned Parenthood, women would go without such critical health care. 98% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are preventive. For 6 in 10 patients it's their only source of health care every year.""Rep. Steve King is spreading mis-information and inaccurate figures to support his extreme ideological views against abortion. In reality he's hurting the women and families who rely on Planned Parenthood for basic health care every year."