By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania on Monday compared the decision to abort an unwanted pregnancy resulting from premarital sex to one conceived through rape as he defended his opposition to abortion in all cases.
Tom Smith, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, made the remark after being asked how he would argue to keep the baby if a daughter or granddaughter were to become pregnant as a result of rape. Smith said that his daughter went through "something similar" to rape: "Having a baby out of wedlock."
In the Senate race in Missouri, Republican candidate Todd Akin drew condemnation from Democrats and many Republicans when he referred to "legitimate rape" in discussing his stance against abortion in all cases. The Missouri congressman later apologized for saying that women have a natural biological defense against becoming pregnant because of rape.
Speaking to reporters after an appearance at the Pennsylvania Press Club, Smith said he did not condone rape but was categorically opposed to abortion under any circumstances, including rape or incest.
"I lived something similar to that with my own family, and she chose the life, and I commend her for that," Smith said, adding that his daughter was not raped. "She knew my views, but fortunately for me ... she chose the way I thought."
After comparing the decisions raised by rape and out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Smith was asked a follow-up question about whether the two were similar. He replied: "No, no, no, but, well, put yourself in a father's position. Yes, I mean, it is similar, this isn't, but I'm back to the original, I'm pro-life — period."
Asked to clarify, he said: "I'm not going to argue about the method of conception. It's a life, and I'm pro-life . It's that simple."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.