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Paul Ryan's positions on abortion have been nearly the same as Todd Akin's -- at least until late last night when the Romney Campaign issued a statement distancing itself from Rep. Todd Akin's ugly comments, but at the same time saying both he and Paul Ryan support abortion in the case of rape, which is in conflict with Paul Ryans previous positions,  as reported by Sam Stein, and Laura Bassett.  Reversing Paul Ryan's strong opposition to abortion, except in the cases of where the mother's life is in danger, is another major "etch a sketch" moment. Paul Ryan even sponsored legislation defining fetal cells as human beings, which would make abortion murder, unless being done to save the life of a mother in an emergency.

In response to Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) inflammatory comment on Sunday that "legitimate rape" victims rarely get pregnant and therefore do not need abortions, Mitt Romney's campaign said that he and running mate Paul Ryan support abortion rights for rape victims.

"Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Andrea Saul, a Romney spokesperson, told The Huffington Post.

While Saul's statement is consistent with Romney's position on abortion, it's a clear departure from Ryan's position, which is that abortion should only be legal in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. Ryan sponsored a fetal personhood bill, which would effectively criminalize abortion and some forms of birth control without exceptions for rape victims.

“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told the Weekly Standard in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.”

Ryan also cosponsored the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" with Akin in 2011. The GOP tried to narrow the definition of rape as it related to abortions with the measure. Only in instances of "forcible rape," the bill specified, would a woman be eligible to have her abortion covered under insurance.

So, Andrea Saul has just announced a major reversal of Paul Ryan's strong opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest.  He even had sponsored legislation to recognize fetal cells as fully human which would make abortion murder, and compared the Roe v. Wade decision to the Supreme Court's shameful  Dred Scott decision on slavery. But, now, it seems Paul Ryan is being "etch a sketched" as well.

So will Ryan go along with this, or blame Andrea Saul for confusion?  Either way expect social conservatives to renew calls for her resignation. This discrepancy adds more evidence to those suggesting the selection of Paul Ryan as V.P. was not as carefully thought out as we have been led to believe. This discrepancy will also focus more attention on Mitt Romney's attempt to now swerve back to the center, possibly neutering Paul Ryan in the process.  The selection of Paul Ryan was purported a strategy for consolidation, and firing up the base. But, moves like this are likely to cheese them off.

But, we need to make the connection between Todd Akin's and Paul Ryan's positions on abortion, so the outrage is focused in all the right directions.

And, make sure you have popcorn ready when we may start to see reports on the "Neutering of Paul Ryan."  Mitt Romney's Magic Etch-a-Sketch has teeth.  

These updates, below, are from an earlier version of this post which I did late last night, just after this announcement from the Romney campaign.  It has some great comment discussion which is still going on.  Here's a link if you would like to check it out.

Mitt Romney's Campaign Distances Itself From Akin's Comments Opposing Abortion in Cases of Rape

I do not see any comments this morning from Paul Ryan, and the media reports I've seen so far on Morning Joe and CNN have reported the Romney campaign statement, but not yet focused on the apparent change in Paul Ryan's positions.

9:01 PM PT: Karen Graham

Chosen last week as Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan (R-Wis) didn't waste any time letting the country know his views, much to the surprise of Romney, or so it seemed. His views on the budget and Medicare have been the basis of the latest campaign ads by the Obama camp.

But what has not been talked about are the positions he has taken in his political career on womens issues. For example, he co-sponsored a federal "personhood" amendment, as well as voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Ryan also opposes all abortions, except when the life of the mother is at stake. Of course, we now know his position on abortion if a woman is raped. He also supports a federal bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. ...

With Ryan spending the past week on the campaign trail talking about Medicare, it has left him open to attack from womens rights groups, thus down-playing any gains he may have made in Florida. His position on ending Medicare as we know it, and the position he has taken on many womens issues, makes it clear it will be the women of America who will ultimately decide the winner of the election in November.

9:24 PM PT: I've been looking for confirmation of Paul Ryan's previous position on abortion and found this from Politifact.

The seven-term congressman has taken a consistent anti-abortion stand -- National Right to Life says he has never voted against its position in 13 years -- that has earned him 100% ratings from anti-abortion groups and 0% ratings from abortion-rights organizations.

News coverage of Ryan’s first congressional race in 1998, as well as statements he made to the National Right to Life Committee, a leading anti-abortion group, show Ryan has taken a stricter anti-abortion view than Romney.

The only anti-abortion exception Ryan favors is situations where an abortion is needed to save the life of the mother, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The National Right to Life Committee concurs, based on information the group says it collected in 1998 and 2000 from Ryan as a candidate.

So the Obama ad correctly claims that Ryan opposes abortions in cases of rape and incest.

But the tweet also says Ryan "supports banning all abortions."

That appears to go too far.

So this confirms the description in my post.  Ryan has previously only  approved  of abortion in the case that the mother's life in in danger, not "merely" for rape, or incest.

I don't see anything up at redstate, or other conservative blogs on this yet. as it just broke a few hours ago.

10:11 PM PT: I just saw this reported on CNN, at 1:06 am EST which is now Monday morning and they credit a different spokesman from the Romney campaign with this statement. It was "Ann Hennenburg" or something close, (sorry I did not write it down.)  Perhaps, Sam Stein and Laura Basset spoke to Andrea Saul on the phone, and Ann Hennenburg issued a written, or phone statement to CNN, I don't know, but wanted to report the facts as I know them.  

The statement seemed nearly identical, but went by very quickly.

Perhaps, the campaign changed spokeswomen knowing the hard core conservatives are already angry at Andrea Saul, for her comments last week, in response to the Obama campaign ad, where the former GTI steel employee said his wife died after he lost their health insurance, and Andrea Saul said, he should have moved to Massachusetts to benefit from Romneycare.  Ann Coulter blew here top and demanded her resignation.  So, I can wait to hear the responses tomorrow morning.

Mon Aug 20, 2012 at  5:19 AM PT: We still waiting for the mainstream media to notice that Paul Ryan's views on abortion are nearly identical to Todd Akin's

Ryan has earned a perfect rating from the National Right to Life Committee for his votes during his 14 years in Congress. The National Abortion Rights Action League tallied 59 votes that Ryan took on abortion-related bills. On each measure, he voted against abortion rights.

“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Ryan told The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, in 2010.

Shortly after the formal announcement of Ryan’s selection on Aug. 11, Obama’s team tweeted that Ryan would ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest and had sponsored a bill that would outlaw some forms of birth control. ... Romney’s campaign contends that Democrats are trying to confuse voters by attacking Ryan on women’s issues. “This is a desperate attempt by President Obama’s allies to distract from his failed economic policies, which have been particularly devastating to women,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the vice presidential candidate.

In a statement, the Obama campaign said, “American women know they can’t trust a Romney/Ryan ticket to stand up for them.”

In a 2010 essay for a conservative think tank, Ryan compared the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, in which the court ruled that black slaves were not legally people. “After America has won the last century’s hard-fought struggles against unequal human rights in the forms of totalitarianism abroad and segregation at home, I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights,” Ryan wrote.

BTW Senator Claire McCaskill is about to appear on the morning Joe show just as the commercial break.  I hope see makes the Paul Ryan - Todd Akins connection.

6:00 AM PT: Here's sort of a smoking gun showing that Paul Ryan has actually been even more extreme in his opposition to all abortion, except if the life of the mother is at risk.  

Democrats Target Paul Ryan on Women's Issues

In a 2010 essay for a conservative think tank, Ryan compared the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, in which the court ruled that black slaves were not legally people. "After America has won the last century's hard-fought struggles against unequal human rights in the forms of totalitarianism abroad and segregation at home, I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights," Ryan wrote.

When he first won election to Congress in 1998, Ryan vowed to oppose all abortions unless they were needed to save the life of the mother. He voted for a bill requiring that women who receive abortions first undergo an ultrasound, and another barring anyone besides parents from transporting minors across state lines for abortions. He also voted against a measure to allow women in the military to receive abortions in military hospitals.

Ryan was also one of several dozen Republican co-sponsors last year of a bill called the Sanctity of Human Life Act. The measure, which never made it to the House floor, would give a fertilized egg the same legal rights as a person. Abortion rights groups say that would effectively outlaw all abortions, as well as some types of contraception and in-vitro fertilization. Efforts to implement such "personhood" laws at state levels have been rejected even in the most conservative settings.

6:13 AM PT: Finally, The New York Times Blog has caught this dimension of the story with an excellent overview of Paul Ryan's history on abortion, as well as quoting fact checkers supporting President Obama's charactorization of Ryan.

I can only quote a few of the many excellent paragraphs here:

Romney Statement on Abortion Contradicts Ryan’s Earlier Stance


A campaign statement that neither Mitt Romney nor Representative Paul D. Ryan opposes abortion in rape cases contradicts Mr. Ryan’s earlier position on the issue.

Although Mr. Romney has stated this position before, Mr. Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, has opposed abortion in the case of rape. During his first run for the seat in 1998, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he opposed abortions in all cases except to save the life of the mother.

More recently, Mr. Ryan was a co-sponsor of a House bill last year defining human life as beginning with fertilization and granting “personhood’’ rights to embryos, a movement that supporters say will outlaw abortions in all cases, and may also restrict some forms of birth control.

A campaign commercial from Mr. Obama’s campaign went even further, accusing Mr. Romney of supporting “overturning Roe versus Wade” and alleging that “Romney backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest.”

Aides to Mr. Romney have been particularly angry about that last charge, since Mr. Romney has said explicitly that he supports rape and incest exceptions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Akin may fly Phyllis Schlafly in (5+ / 0-)

    for an appearance in his behalf.

    Come to think of it, Schlaffly might be en route to Missouri as we speak without having been asked.  Near as I can tell, she doesn't have anything else to do anyway.

    It's an ugly thing to be both crazy and cruel, but the modern-day GOP has managed to pull it off.

  •  I've read somewhere where Paul Ryan used similar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor

    language to Todd Akin with regard to "non-forcible rape."  I'm searching google, but if anyone else has it, it will be the icing on the cake of equating Paul Ryan and Todd Akins positions on abortion, which the traditional media still has not arrived at.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:02:44 AM PDT

  •  Ryan can't slip out of this. (5+ / 0-)

    One of the original co-sponsors of HR3, on opening day, he approved of the "forcible rape" concept (precisely what Akin was attempting to say with "legitimate rape").

    He and Akin are twins on the issue, and no amount of shaking will erase that etching.

    •  We need a prominent Democrat to make this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor

      comparison.  Right not the traditional media are focusing on the Republicans skinny dipping in the Sea of Galalie.

      Ryan=Akin as far as their abortion policies go.  Actually, Ryan has been more aggressive than Akin in opposing abortion legislatively, particularly with his Dred Scott rant.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:20:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Todd Aiken and Paul Ryan co-sponsored ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, BachFan

    ... a bill that would've put into law what Todd Aiken is in dutch for right now. In 2011! Those two are tied to each other.


    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:06:16 AM PDT

  •  Actually, it might be a parsing thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape"

    -> Romney and Ryan disagree with Akins statement, and a Romney presidency would not oppose abortions for rape victims.

    No claim is made about what aspects of the Akins statement they disagree with, or even whether Romney and Ryan agree on which aspects they disagree with. Nor is any claim made about Ryan's view of abortion for rape victims, just the Romney administration's.

    Ryan can remain personally opposed, but the statement effectively creates a different impression. I've noticed that the media gets played on semantic games like this quite often.

    Regardless, an important issue, and thanks for the analysis of Ryan's perspective on abortion.

    •  You may be right, but then we have to push the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      issue so they do not get away with this.  

      All the outrage people are feeling with regard to Todd Akin's ugly comments should be focused on Paul Ryan as well.

      We should not let Mitt Romney's Magic Etch a Sketch blur this issue.

      Reporters need to be asking Paul Ryan exactly what his positions are with regard to rape, and incest was not mentioned.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:29:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too many people just don't understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how totally out of mainstream the republican party has become. They cannot believe that the repubs would actually want to criminalize women for abortion or even curtail abortion or birth control. It is just too frickin' unbelievable!

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:24:49 AM PDT

  •  Mini Mitt or Mini Santorum? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know that Santorum regrets his decision to allow his wife to abort.  (Her life was at stake -- 105° fever, etc.)

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:33:27 AM PDT

    •  I don't think that's true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He has convinced himself that this in no way falls into the category of "abortion".

      I'm sure he regrets that other women had the choice of not dying for a doomed pregnancy though.

      Keep in mind that when they talk about "risk of dying", they are not talking about some vague risk in the future, and that she can have an abortion now before her health is permanently damaged. They are talking about waiting until death is imminent, as though there is some bright line at that point. Perhaps after a series of small strokes turns a healthy, active woman into a disabled person who can never work or even exist without a care attendant, then it will be okay to permit the abortion.

  •  Romney is also on the record (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as being for "personhood." And now he's making exceptions?  That should thrill the wingnuts.

    "The Democrats have moved to the right and the Republicans have moved into an insane asylum." ~Bill Maher

    by Constant Comment on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:41:27 AM PDT

  •  HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Once again, you read my mind!

    Brilliant diary.  Thanks for all the effort, time and passion you put in all your Diaries!

  •  GOP's War on Women, Chapter 15 (0+ / 0-)

    Romney and Ryan to female voters: "The GOP has your back."

    Meanwhile, Republican Senators vote against anti-domestic violence legislation,
    … the governor of Wisconsin repeals "equal pay for women" legislation,
    … conservative pundits and politicians claim that men deserve higher pay for equal work because "men need the added income more than do women" or because "men know more stuff than do women",
    … Romney, Ryan, and the Congressional GOP leadership vow to "kill ObamaCare", including all of the components within the ACA that provide affordable preventative health care for women and children,
    … Congressional and state Republican legislators strive to make affordable access to contraception and breast cancer screenings more difficult with their assault on PP and employee health insurance coverage,
    … female state legislators are shunned and silenced for uttering the word "vagina" (gasp) during an abortion debate,
    … GOP-controlled state legislatures mandate that women seeking an abortion provide social conservative politicians with "a womb with a view".
    … Rep. Akin utters a commonly-held view among conservatives that some rapes are "rapier" than are other rapes
    … and none other than Paul Ryan advocated a federal ban on abortion, in-vitro fertilization, and most forms of birth control, as well as a national mandate on the forced ultrasound requirement for women.

    So much for the tea party/conservative movement's mantra:  "small, non-intrusive government".

    The 2012 GOP campaign slogan: A chicken in every pot and a spy-cam in every uterus.

    American women to Republican Party: "WE will decide whether or not our rights are being assaulted by conservative policies, thank you very much."

    Let us pause now for a moment of SCIENCE

    by labman57 on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:55:19 AM PDT

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