Monday, August 20, 2012

Can Ryan, And GOP Ticket, Survive Support For Rape Victims' Abortions?

Posted at the Journal Sentinel's Purple Wisconsin blog site:

Odious remarks by GOP Missouri Senate candidate Cong. Todd Akin about how few pregnancies result from "legitimate rape" have done more than outrage people across the country and doom Akin's bid to move up from the US House.

It motivated the Romney campaign - - already trailing among women voters in recent polls - - to distance itself from Akin by assuring voters that Romney and Paul Ryan - - the "Romney-Ryan administration" - - should they win in November, would not oppose raped women's access to abortion.

"Governor Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

You'd probably say that sounds reasonable and humane - - except it was just three days ago that PolitiFact devoted a lot of space to this issue and found that while Romney backed abortions in cases of incest and rape, Ryan did not.

And had been an abortion opponent throughout his entire political career - - backing an exception only when the life of the mother was at stake - - thus earning a perfect score from a leading anti-abortion organization on this basic tenet of conservative ideology and practice.

From PolitiFact on August 17:

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.
And notes The New York Times early Monday morning:
A campaign statement that neither Mitt Romney nor Representative Paul D. Ryan opposes abortion in rape cases seems to contradict Mr. Ryan’s earlier position on the issue...

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.
I think this will be a huge issue in the campaign.

I don't see how Romney and Ryan can sell this to the base, which will see it as a Ryan sellout or forced surrender ordered by Romney - - a former moderate whom the base has never embraced.

And on the eve of the GOP convention!

Ryan's roll out - - embarrassed and side-tracked last week over his duplicity in blasting the Obama stimulus while taking its funds, then conceding his denials about the funding solicitations were inaccurate - - is unraveling more quickly than Sarah Palin's.

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