PA Senate Candidate Says Having a Baby Out of Wedlock “Similar” to Being Raped

Anti-choice politicians have been struggling recently to properly define reproductive terms. Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” moment was followed by a number of politicians and activists explaining that for the “baby” involved, it’s all the same when it comes to the “means of conception.”

Presumably, that was the point that Pennsylvania senate candidate Tom Smith was going for when he tried to tell reporters he understood how challenging it would be to tell a rape victim to carry a pregnancy to term, since he had to do the same thing when his daughter got pregnant and wasn’t married.

Via PoliticsPA:

Robert Vickers, Patriot News: In light of Congressman Akin’s comments, is there any situation that you think a woman should have access to an abortion?

Tom Smith: My stance is on record and it’s very simplistic: I’m pro-life, period. And what that Congressman said, I do not agree with at all. He should have never said anything like that.

Vickers: So in cases of incest or rape…

Laura Olson, Post-Gazette: No exceptions?

Smith: No exceptions.

Mark Scolforo, Associated Press: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?

Smith: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.

Scolforo: Similar how?

Smith: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: That’s similar to rape?

Smith: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.

Smith tried to clarify that he was saying a life is a life, regardless of its “method of conception.” But it kinda came across as suggesting that his property had gotten “soiled” and his daughter’s role in the whole thing affected him the same way as if she had been raped. And it seems “fortunately” for him, his daughter chose the “right” thing in a difficult situation so he did’nt have to be made to feel uncomfortable. Never mind how she felt one way or the other.

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  • coralsea

    So — the real issue is how a woman’s father is going to feel about the stain of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy — or the daughter having an abortion?  Rape doesn’t really matter — but neither do the woman’s feelings, desires, or needs?  Just that it’s AWK-WARD.  But she has to follow Dad’s beliefs?  


    Yuck!  Compassion for the LIVING much?  I guess not much — if the Living is a female.

  • thalwen

    Makes sense from a father’s perspective. Both a rape pregnancy and an out of wedlock pregnancy reduce the value of the father’s property. Now the poor man, if he wants a husband to own his daughter, will have a hard time selling her off, as she’s lost her freshness seal and reeks of sluttiness. 


    Oh yes, he’s pro-life, period. Unless it’s the life of the fetus-vessel, those are expendable.

  • lisakaz

    Smith asserts the laws of patriarchy, pure and simple. He is supposed to give the daughter in marriage. Any sexual encounter that doesn’t involve his permission is the same. So, the trauma of rape to the woman is inconsequential. Or her consent to a boyfriend or fiance. Reminds me of Mussolini’s view that women “should count for nothing,” though Il Duce said that in terms of female suffrage. Still, in Mussolini’s Italy, the male head of household had the ultimate say in anything the woman did — even whether she lived at all. There was no penalty if a husband killed his wife because he suspected her of adultery, even if he was wrong.


    The ironic thing is that in the pre-industrial world, women commonly became pregnant before marriage. Guaranteeing fertility was the last step in approving of a match — the families involved wanted assurance that the couple could have children. Obviously, there weren’t any other tests to determine this. So many a pre-industrial era bride was already pregnant when marriage took place.


    It seems to me Smith has a nostalgic view of the power of fathers but like most people who pine for yesteryear, he invents an idealized version of it that never existed.