On Sunday night, as Rep. Todd Akin‘s “legitimate rape” comment caused a national uproar, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz previewed how Democrats will use the remark to tie Akin to Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Here’s Wasserman Schultz wrote in a fundraising email:
Mitt Romney famously says he would “get rid of” federal funding for Planned Parenthood if he had the chance. His running mate, Paul Ryan, was one of more than 200 Republican cosponsors of a piece of legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape.
Can you imagine — the same Republican House that refuses to pass a jobs bill jumped at the opportunity to make life harder for victims of rape?
And what do Romney and Ryan think of Akin’s latest statement? 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.
With the vice presidential nominee Ryan, especially, expect Democrats to hit that direct connection over and over for the next three months.
In 2011, Ryan joined Akin — along with 171 others, however — in co-sponsoring The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, or House Resolution 3, which aimed to “prohibit taxpayer funded abortions and to provide for conscience protections.” It passed the House but has no chance, at least now, of being brought for a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The Hyde Amendment contains exceptions to federal law banning funding for abortions that include cases of rape, incest and life-threatening circumstances for the mother. The original version of H.R. 3 would have narrowed that exception to cases of “forcible rape,” though that definition was removed after much dissent (see Page 35 of the current text of the bill here).
Here’s where the issue gets cloudy for Paul Ryan. Politifact notes that Ryan has only supported abortion in life-threatening cases for the mother, not rape or incest. But the Romney campaign is quickly moving to distance itself from that view, declaring Sunday night that “a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
But the Obama campaign is making sure people know where Ryan has stood in the past:
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