U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) isn't the only pro-choice female US senator being challenged by a man who thinks abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's Republican opponent, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane), also says there should be no exceptions.



However, Baumgartner issued a statement today condemning McCaskill's opponent, US Rep. Todd Akin, for Akin's now-infamous statement defending the no-exemption-for-rape position. (Akin said women who are raped have witchy super powers to prevent pregnancies from rape.)

But for today's Cola "One Question," we pressed Baumgartner on his own stance that abortions should not be allowed even for women who are raped. After all, the nutty Akin quote has forced hard-liners on the abortion issue to actually explain their extreme position on rape.

Our question for Baumgarnter, who told us today that Akin's statement was "inexcusable and stupid and ignorant" —was this: How was his position different than Akin's?

"I have empathy for the victims of rape. Rape is a tragedy. It's a terrible thing. Certainly, we need to give victims all the help we can. There is no place in politics for uttering something so ignorant about pregnancy and rape."

As for Baumgartner's own position: ""I am still a Catholic. I still believe life begins at conception. That is consistent with my Catholic beliefs. And I believe we must protect life."

Baumgartner added: "Whenever abortion comes up, we get questioned about the exceptions, but no one ever questions the extreme positions on the other side, late-term abortions, no on parental notification."

Concluding that he wanted a truce in the culture wars and his campaign was about jobs and ending the war in Afghanistan, he said: "The culture wars are not why I'm in the state senate or running against my opponent. I'm pragmatic. I objected to the expansion of abortion services, but I voted for two budgets that funded [family planning] services."

State Sen. Baumgartner and the Republicans proposed cutting $6 million in family planning services in the budget standoff last year, but the final agreement made no cuts.  Baumgarnter voted for the final agreement.

Think there's something we should be asking somebody? Send "One Question" suggestions to Info@PubliCola.com.