Paul Ryan’s rape reversal

Romney says he would not oppose abortion in instances of rape; but Paul Ryan's record looks a lot like Todd Akin's

Topics: Paul Ryan, Abortion, Mitt Romney, Todd Akin,

Paul Ryan's rape reversalPaul Ryan and Todd Akin (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

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 choose, 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 co-sponsored “personhood” legislation that would give fetuses “all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges.” If 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.”

You Might Also Like

I’m as pro-life as a person gets … I’m never going to not vote pro-life,” Ryan told the Weekly Standard in 2010.

In a 2010 speech called “The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed From the Cause of Freedom,” Ryan compared the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision to its Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which sanctioned slavery. “Twice in the past the U.S. Supreme Court — charged with being the guardian of rights — has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination that it ‘disqualified’ a whole category of human beings, with profoundly tragic results,” Ryan said. The first, he said, was Scott, and the second was Roe, “when the Supreme Court made virtually the identical mistake” it had made in the slavery case.

He also co-sponsored 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.

Ralph Reed, the social conservative leader, praised Mitt Romney’s pick of Ryan, who “has a 100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record in his 14 years in Congress.” He was just one of many social conservative leaders who praised Ryan’s stance on abortion. Nate Silver, the New York Times’ quantitative political analyst, examined Ryan’s voting record and found that he is statistically “roughly as conservative as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).”

This is just one more area where the Obama campaign is eager to attack the Romney-Ryan ticket, and they’ve already done so in the wake of Akin’s comments.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>