Ryan's Positions On Women's Issues Become Campaign Target

Politico reports on how Rep. Paul Ryan's record on reproductive issues -- including co-sponosring a "personhood amendment" that would declare a fertilized egg to be a person, and voting to defund Planned Parenthood -- could widen President Barack Obama's lead among women. Meanwhile, a controversial comment about rape by a GOP candidate running for Senate in Missouri has stirred anger and angst.

Politico: Paul Ryan Targeted On Women's Issues
Paul Ryan co-sponsored a federal "personhood" amendment. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He opposes all abortions, except when the life of the mother is at risk. And he supports a federal bill requiring women to get an ultrasound before an abortion. If this sounds like an ominous ad from the Obama for president campaign, something like it could soon be coming to a TV near you. These are among the positions the Wisconsin congressman has taken in his career that Democrats are bound to highlight in the weeks ahead in ads, press conferences and rallies as they try to widen President Barack Obama's lead among women over Mitt Romney in polls (Haberman, Schultheis and Romano, 8/19).

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Los Angeles Times: Candidate Says 'Legitimate Rape' Rarely Causes Pregnancy
The Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri on Sunday advanced the theory that the female reproductive system can shut down during what he described as a "legitimate rape," thus preventing conception in most cases. Rep. Todd Akin, a tea party candidate who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri's closely watched race, was asked in a local television interview about whether he supported access to abortion in the case of rape (Abcarian, 8/20).

Politico: Todd Akin’s Rape Remark Has GOP Fretting
Rep. Todd Akin's damning statement that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant is just the latest in a string of unforced errors by the GOP Senate candidate that has Republicans fretting about his chances of beating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. And a loss in Missouri would almost certainly quash the party's hopes of reclaiming the Senate majority (Catanese, 8/19).

National Journal: Akin Remarks Latest Example Of GOP Drawing A Line On Rape
[Todd Akin’s] comments immediately drew condemnation from his rival, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and even earned Akin a trending hashtag on Twitter. But soon after taking the House in 2011, Republicans were forced to respond to a similar media frenzy over abortion and pregnancies resulting from rape. The House was getting ready to consider a bill from Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., that originally narrowed the definition of rape to only include "forcible rape," excluding women in statutory rape cases, among others. That is important, because the federal government traditionally covers abortion procedures for women in government programs like Medicaid only in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother could die as a result of the pregnancy (McCarthy, 8/19).

Kansas City Star: Senate Candidate Todd Akin's Remark On Rape Stirs Anger
"It just demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of that situation that women are put in," said Jean Peters Baker, the Democratic Jackson County prosecutor and board member of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault. "It just disappoints me that somebody who wants to represent my constituency and my community would have so little understanding of what these women go through." Asked whether there's a factual basis to Akin's statements about pregnancy after rape, Peters Baker said, "No, no, no. We have no magical powers" (Kraske, 8/20).

CNN: Romney And Ryan Disagree With Akin Rape Remark, Says Campaign
A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney wrote late Sunday that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, did not share Rep. Todd Akin's sentiments on rape. "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. Earlier Sunday, Akin said he "misspoke" when he claimed "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy (8/19).

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