CNN reports that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has pointed out the similarities in Reps. Paul Ryan's and Todd Akin's positions on abortion.
Earlier this morning I posted, Romney Campaign Changes Paul Ryan's View on Abortion While Distancing From Akin noting that Paul Ryan positions on abortion are just as extreme as Todd Akin's are. Ryan's and Akin's policies are even more distressing than Akin's ugly remarks.
The issue is particularly sensitive for Ryan, a devout Catholic and staunch anti-abortion politician who has previously expressed opposition to abortion in all cases except when the life of the mother is endangered.
A Romney-Ryan campaign official, speaking on condition of not being identified, confirmed to CNN that Ryan's personal view opposes abortion in the case of rape. The campaign official said Ryan's stance differed with Romney's view, which was described in the statement Sunday and is the formal position of the GOP presidential ticket.
Democrats immediately challenged the Romney-Ryan team on the issue.
"They've been trying to distance themselves from it -- but Congressman Ryan has already partnered with Akin on a whole host of issues that restrict women's ability to make their own health care decisions," said a statement by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. "This kind of 'leadership' is dangerously wrong for women."
CBS News correspondent Major Garrett notes:
(CBS News) National Journal correspondent Major Garrett said comments by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., regarding abortion and "forcible rape," make the Romney campaign "more nervous" about a conversation they already want to avoid.
"Democrats...are going to make the point, as they have consistently, that Mitt Romney and his own approach to abortion, even though it has evolved over time, may be out of step with where the majority of the country is from the Obama campaign's point of view," Garrett said Monday on "CBS This Morning."
Romney rebukes Akin rape remark
Akin, who is running against Senator Claire McCaskill for Missouri's Senate seat, said in an interview Sunday while explaining his opposition to abortion even in instances of rape that women's bodies go into a biological defense mode when raped that prevents pregnancy.
Garrett said the Obama campaign will make the argument that Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, is even "more extreme" than Romney. He added that the Obama campaign has already been running ads in swing states that the Republican pair's views are "inconsistent with women's views" on both contraception and abortion. "I guarantee you it's the last thing a Romney/ Ryan ticket want to talk about right now," he added
8:39 AM PT: Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and the Very Real War on Woman shows Paul Ryan using similarly offensive "forcible rape" distinction language that Todd Akin is getting hammered for. Paul Ryan has the same positions, but so far has escaped public outrage and censure. One of our goals for the day is to make sure Paul Ryan stands side-by-side with Todd Akin for public accountability for their regressive policies. Their regressive policies are more consequencial for women than their language "gaffs."
Akin, who clearly didn’t pay attention in biology class, is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. After the negative and swift public reaction to his remarks, Akin said in a statement that he “misspoke,” but that claim doesn’t fly when you do a quick review of his legislative history, which is directly connected vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan on this exact issue.
Akin and Ryan were the original co-sponsors of the controversial bill H.R. 3, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which initially included language which changed the definition of “rape” to “forcible rape,” until public pressure forced the bill’s supporters to remove that unacceptable and narrow definition. As I wrote previously, Paul Ryan is not just anti-choice, his anti-choice views are extreme and just plain bad for all women.
Linking Ryan to Akin and the idea that there is such a thing as “legitimate rape” based on pseudo-science and folklore is something that needs to be done before the upcoming election. While Team Romney attempted to create distance with Akin, saying that both Romney and Ryan “disagree” with his statements, there was nothing in their statement that said they condemn his remarks as hurtful to victims. There was also nothing in Team Romney’s statement that pointed out that what Akin said about pregnancies resulting from rape being rare is just flat-out wrong.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were quick to flee Rep. Todd Akin’s drowning ship after he said that victims of “legitimate rape” magically don’t get pregnant, but a closer inspection reveals that Ryan’s views on abortion are not that different from Akin’s. “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” a Romney spokesperson said in a statement late last night.
Romney, of course, has a bipolar relationship with the issue of a woman’s right to chose, but the spokesperson’s statement represents a flip-flop for Ryan, who has proposed and supported legislation that would outlaw abortion with no exception for rape. Ryan has earned a “100 percent pro-life voting record” from the National Right to Life Committee during his 14 years in Congress. NARAL, the pro-choice group, looked at 59 key votes on abortion, and found that Ryan voted the anti-choice position on every single one.
He cosponsored “personhood” legislation that would give fetuses “all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges.” If it enacted it would ban abortion care in almost all cases, including rape or incest. The head of the main group pushing Personhood legislation said, “In supporting Personhood, Congressman Ryan has taken a consistent pro-life position, one that is called for by the Republican Party’s own platform.”
He also cosponsored a measure that would force a woman to undergo an ultrasound before she can receive an abortion, even if her doctor doesn’t recommend it or she doesn’t want to. Last year, Ryan joined Akin and other Republicans in co-sponsoring a bill that would have redefined rape so as to narrow access to federal funding for abortions (under the bill, only women who were victims of “forcible rape” would be eligible). That language was eventually shelved after a national outcry from Democrats and women’s rights advocates. Ryan also voted against letting U.S. troops get abortions at military health centers.