Democrats Trying To Turn Rick Berg Into The Next Todd Akin?


No doubt fed the story by Democrat operatives looking give weight to liberal Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp’s “war on women” mantra which, frankly, hasn’t gotten a lot of traction in the state, both the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed are this evening hyping a story about a Berg vote cast as a ND legislator for a bill making abortion a felony.

BuzzFeed’s subheadline is, “Todd Akin II?”

Rick Berg, North Dakota’s at-large congressman and a candidate for Senate, voted to criminalize abortion in the state as a Class AA felony, including in the case of rape or abortion.

Berg, who is running against former Democratic Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, voted with a minority of the state house in 2007 to make terminating a pregnancy illegal, in a bill that only made exception for when the life of the mother is endangered.

Berg was granted a coveted speaking slot at the Republican National Convention last week, just weeks after fellow Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin drew bipartisan outrage for outrageously claiming that pregnancies don’t occur in cases of “legitimate rape.”

I’m not sure why this is on par with the Todd Akin controversy. What was objectionable about Akin’s comments wasn’t his position on abortion, which is actually pretty mainstream in the United States, but rather his bizarre comments about “legitimate rape.”

If you’re pro-life, if you truly believe that life begins at conception, I’m not sure how you can believe that an exception for rape is acceptable. I can’t even imagine how horrifying it would be to carry the child or your rapist to term. I would be mortified beyond belief if one of my daughters, or one of my sisters or even my wife had to do it. But I don’t see how the rape automatically means a death sentence for the child.

The child committed no crimes. And if you believe that life begins at conception, the crime of rape isn’t justification enough for removing from that child the right to life.

The Democrats may try to nationalize the North Dakota Senate race on the back of this issue, but I don’t see it getting a lot of traction here inside the state. Especially not when it opens up Heitkamp’s own positions on abortion, which are way out of the mainstream for North Dakotans. And especially given that this issue is already well-known inside of North Dakota. The bill got a lot of attention when it was being debated in the legislature, both in and outside of the state. Berg’s support for it is well known, and Democrats bringing it up now is only going to do more to tie Heitkamp to the pro-abortion extremism of her party than to hurt Berg.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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