Where Do Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan Stand on Abortion?

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Who's in charge of this party anyway? Senate Candidate Todd Akin is now running away from his odious comment about “legitimate rape” and, in the process, proving he doesn’t have a damn clue about why it was so offensive in the first place. He’s now saying that he meant to say “forcible rape”, completely missing the point that nobody but completely out-of-touch conservatives believes that women rarely get pregnant from rape. The statistics show otherwise.

Akin’s not-so-subtle implication is that, if a women gets pregnant from rape, she must have enjoyed it.

President Obama was quite clear on his position:

[L]et me, first of all, say the views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.

So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.

And so, although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.

But I don’t think that they would agree with the Senator from Missouri in terms of his statement, which was way out there.

This week the Republicans will put the finishing touches on their party platform. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have suddenly Etch-A-Sketched their positions on abortion being legal in the case of rape and now say they now support an exception being made when a woman is raped so that they are not forced to bear the child of their rapist if they choose not to. The question is how they square this with their own Party’s platform that is sure to be absent of that exception:

The Republican Party is once again set to enshrine into its official platform support for “a human life amendment” to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit exemptions for rape or incest, according to draft language of the platform obtained exclusively by CNN late Monday.

This new position being taken by the Ryan/Romney ticket (not sure if that’s “flip” or a “flop” from these guys) flies in the face of their past positions and is in direct contradiction to the Ryan/Romney website. From the “Values” page:

Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

So, not only does Mitt Romney believe that life begins at conception (according to his website), ANY life, even that created by rape, he wants to repeal the law that allows American women access to safe and LEGAL abortions.

Here’s Mitt in 2007 saying he’d be “delighted” to sign a bill into law that would ban ALL abortions, the so-called “Human Life Amendment”:

Ryan’s perfect score of 100 from Right to Life tells you much of what you need to know about his position in the national War on Women. Here’s more on his extreme position:

[T]he official campaign statement included a telling postscript: “a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.” The clarification was necessary because Ryan has opposed such exceptions in the past. As Newsweek’s Michelle Goldberg and Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald have pointed out, Ryan’s record on abortion is extremely conservative, even by Republican standards. He has a perfect 100 rating from the National Right to Life Committee. And he’s lived up to that rating by, among other things, co-sponsoring a bill that declared “personhood” begins at fertilization—a legal standard that, if ever applied, could outlaw not just abortion but also in vitro fertilization, intrauterine devices, and some oral contraceptives. Akin was one of the other co-sponsors.

Ryan also co-sponsored (with Akin, again) a bill that would have modified the existing ban on federal funding of abortion. Presently, the law allows federal funds to support abortions in case of rape and incest. The bill would have narrowed the exceptions to cases of “forcible rape” and, for incest, cases involving minors. The legal implications of the proposed standard were unclear. But, as Nick Baumann of Mother Jones explained at the time, abortion rights advocates feared (reasonably) that victims raped while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, victims with diminished mental capacity, and victims of date rape might not be eligible if the new definition ever took effect…The bill was so controversial that House Republicans withdrew that language.

Perhaps it’s time to reach out to Ryan and Romney and ask them if they will repudiate the GOP platform and take leadership of their party. Will they stand by their latest Etch-A-Sketching of their past positions? Will they call on the GOP to revise its platform to reflect their revised views on forced pregnancies?

You can tween Paul Ryan at @RepPaulRyan and Mitt Romney at @MittRomney.

It’s time to hold them accountable and ask for some actual leadership from these men. What are you waiting for?