KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Mark McCloskey, who is running for the U.S. Senate, said he does not support allowing abortions for young girls who become pregnant through rape or incest.
McCloskey, a St. Louis personal injury lawyer who gained national attention after he and his wife waved guns at racial injustice protesters last summer, made the remarks last week at a forum in Osage Beach in response to a woman who said some candidates who profess to be anti-abortion would allow the procedure in some cases.
“I’ve got a client who was raped by an uncle when she was 13 years old, had the child; she finished high school, finished college and got a master’s degree,” McCloskey said. "That child she would have aborted finished high school, finished college and now has a master’s degree. ... I don't believe in any exceptions.”
McCloskey did not specifically address whether he would support an abortion to save the life of the mother, The Kansas City Star reported.
He said it has always bothered him that people who oppose the death penalty often support abortion rights.
“The justices of the Supreme Court in the most heinous crimes don’t have the right to decide who should live and die,” he said. “But every 13-year-old girl on the street should be able to decide the fate of the life of their child?”
The video of the full candidate forum, hosted by We the People Camden County, has been posted online. A portion of his comments was captured and sent to The Star by American Bridge, a Democratic research organization.
A federal appeals court is deciding the fate of a Missouri law that would ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. The full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis isn’t expected to rule for several weeks.
In June, a three-judge 8th Circuit panel upheld an injunction from U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs prohibiting Missouri from enforcing the law’s provisions, but the full court decided to hear the case.
Jane Cunningham, a Republican former state senator who attended the event, said the audience was thrilled by McCloskey's answer.
The abortion issue is "one of the litmus tests if you’re running in a Republican primary,” Cunningham said.
The subject of abortion exceptions sank the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Todd Akin in 2012. Akin, who was the Republican nominee, was asked if he supported abortions for women who were raped.
Akin, who died this month, responded, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He was later soundly defeated by Democrat Claire McCaskill.
McCloskey announced his Senate candidacy after he and his wife waved weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their house in St. Louis last summer. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and his wife pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment but they were pardoned by Gov. Mike Parson.