Rape comments misunderstood, says Senate candidate

York, PA — A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania said his recent comments on rape were “blowed out of proportion.”

Tom Smith, a former coal company owner who is running against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, was criticized after he appeared to equate having a child outside of marriage to a pregnancy caused by rape at a press luncheon Monday.

Smith had been asked by a reporter what he would tell a family member who became pregnant after rape. He responded by saying he’d been through “something similar to that with my own family,” noting that a family member who had a baby “out of wedlock” chose to not have an abortion.

In an interview later in the day, Smith told the York Daily Record that he does not think single motherhood and rape are comparable.

“I’m not a career politician, and I have this bad tendency when people ask me a question I try to relate something to them, some way of looking at things,” he said. “That’s a tough, tough situation, but looking back, I should have just said, no, I’m pro-life, period.

Questions about abortion and rape have been a hot topic since Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin (R) said in an interview earlier this month that women who are raped cannot become pregnant, a belief for which there is no scientific proof.

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