HARRISBURG -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith said during a lunchtime appearance here that he does not support any exceptions under which a woman should be allowed to have an abortion.
A questioner after his speech at the monthly Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon asked Mr. Smith about his view on abortion, and noted the recent remarks from Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin that victims of "legitimate rape" are scientifically unlikely to become pregnant.
Mr. Smith, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in the Nov. 6 general election, said he does not agree with Mr. Akin's controversial statements and that the Missouri congressman should not have said them.
"My stance is on record and its very simplistic: I'm pro-life, period," said the former coal executive from Armstrong County.
However, he stumbled when asked about how he would convince a daughter or granddaughter who was the victim of a rape that she should carry her potential child to birth.
Mr. Smith replied that he "lived something similar to that with my own family, and she chose life. I commend her for that."
He added that his daughter wasn't the victim of a rape. Asked what the similar situation entailed, he said she became pregnant out of wedlock.
Asked if having a child out of wedlock is similar to rape, he replied: "No, no, no, but put yourself in a father's position, yes. It is similar. This isn't ..." He trailed off, then continued: "But back to the original, I'm pro-life, period."
He later reasserted that he was not comparing pregnancies from rape and from out of wedlock: "I said I went through a situation. It's very, very difficult. ... I believe life begins at conception. I'm not going to argue about the method of conception. It's a life. And I'm pro-life. It's that simple."
Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-4254.