The Romney campaign is distancing itself from Rep. Todd Akin after his comment ahout "legitimate rape" on Sunday, calling it "inexcusable" and saying Romney and Paul Ryan support abortion access for rape victims -- something Ryan, for one, has opposed in the past. "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote on Sunday night, according to CNN. On Monday, Mitt Romney told National Review Online that he and his campaign were "offended" by Akin's assertion (which he's since retracted) that "if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Romney said "Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong."
But Ryan's record shows he has opposed abortion access for rape victims, which is what Akin was talking about with that inflammatory quote. PolitiFact documented Ryan's record after Romney announced his choice of Ryan as running mate and President Barack Obama sent out the following tweet:
Make sure the women in your life know: Paul Ryan supports banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 12, 2012
PolitiFact found that Ryan had opposed abortion access for rape victims, but not that he "supports banning all abortions":
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.
The New York Times' Trip Gabriel and Michael Shear also point out that report from the Journal Sentinel, and in addition noted that, "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."
All this is significant because it shows Ryan changing his own stance to fall in line with the Romney campaign, something he's said previously he wouldn't do. Author Keith Boykin dug up a 1998 Journal Sentinel profile on Ryan in which the then 28-year-old freshman congressman attributed his success to his own consistency on abortion issues.
Victory was his, he says, because he remained consistent while his opponent flip-flopped on some issues, like her support of "partial-birth" abortions.
"You've got to stick to your principles," he says.
Yes, but when you're part of a two-person ticket, you've also got to stick with your partner.
Update (11:07 a.m. EDT): Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski dug up 2007 video of Romney saying he would be "delighted" to sign a bill banning all abortion in America:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.