Maddow: How would Ryan and the GOP punish rape victims who get abortions?
On Monday night, Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” asked how exactly Republicans plan to punish women who get abortions if abortions are made illegal, and whether or not they intend to prosecute the victims of rape or incest if no exceptions are made for those unwanted pregnancies.
Maddow began the clip discussing an interview from the Fox affiliate station in Fargo, North Dakota, in which U.S. Congressman Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND), the Republican running to replace retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), told interviewer Jim Shaw that he does not believe in exceptions to abortion law, even for victims or rape and incest.
“Why would you force a woman who’s been raped to have to have that baby?” Shaw asked.
“You know, like I said, Jim,” said Berg, “my position is pro-life, you know, and I care about the unborn, and I feel, you know, that’s where we should be in our policy.”
Shaw then asked what the proper sentence would be for a raped woman who received an abortion.
“You know,” said Berg, smiling uncomfortably, “I’ll leave that up to others, you know, to come up with that.”
“Shall we put her in jail? Should be fine her?” asked Shaw.
Berg still refused to give a specific answer.
Maddow said that this is why Democrats are expecting to hold on the Conrad’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
“In any political campaign,” she said, “it is a sure sign that you’re not on your strongest ground when you’re dodging questions about what your preferred jail sentence is for pregnant rape victims.”
However extreme that position might by, it’s a position that vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ran on and won in his first race for Congress in 1998. While Ryan has never specifically endorsed jailing rape victims who get abortions, Maddow quoted him from an interview, saying, “If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”
Josh Mandel, the Republican candidate seeking to unseat Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has also said that the only legal exceptions for abortion should be in the mother’s life is in danger. Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington state, Michael Baumgartner, Republican Senate candidate Rep. Peter Hoekstra (MI) and others have all gone on the record stating that abortion should be illegal, even for rape victims.
“They all have the same opinion about what the government should force rape victims to do against their will,” said Maddow.
It’s an important question, Maddow said, what a Vice President Paul Ryan or, someday, President Paul Ryan would pursue in terms of policy to make all abortion illegal and force women to bear children against their will. He has sponsored 38 separate pieces of anti-abortion legislation in Congress, including one with Rep. Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.
Watch this video, embedded via MSNBC, below: