Ryan backs away from his ‘forcible rape’ bill: ‘No splitting hairs’

By David Edwards
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:45 EDT
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Paul Ryan speaks to KDKA
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Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is now refusing to explain a bill that he co-sponsored with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that critics say would have redefined rape, providing federal assistance only to victims of “forcible rape.”

In an interview with KDKA on Tuesday, Ryan said that he believed Akin’s assertion that only victims of “legitimate rape” could get pregnant “were outrageous, over the pale.”

“I don’t know anybody who would agree with that,” the candidate said. “Rape is rape period, end of story.”

KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano noted that Ryan’s congressional record showed that he had opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

“Look, I’m proud of my pro-life record,” the Wisconsin congressman explained. “And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president, and he will set the policy of the administration.”

Although Romney has repeatedly said that he backs a “personhood amendment” to define a fertilize egg as a person and ban abortion in all circumstances, he now says he “would not oppose” an exception for rape.

“You sponsored legislation that has the language ‘forcible rape,’” Delano pointed out to Ryan. “What is forcible rape?”

“Rape is rape,” Ryan replied, shaking his head. “Rape is rape, period. End of story.”

“So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?” Delano pressed.

“Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape,” Ryan insisted.

Romney’s running mate also said it was “ridiculous” for President Barack Obama to claim that women would be denied birth control if Republicans won the White House.

“Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody,” Ryan remarked. “And I don’t think [women are] going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them.”

As a member of Congress in 1999, Ryan voted to deny birth-control coverage to federal employees. He later co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would have criminalized some forms of contraception. And he vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, calling the president “paternalistic” and “arrogant” for mandating that birth control be covered by all health plans, including those offered by religious organziations.

Watch this video from KDKA, broadcast Aug. 21, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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