Democrats are seizing on the firestorm started by Rep. Todd Akin, tying the Congressman’s controversial remarks about rape to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan by calling his outburst indicative of the Republican Party and its nominees’ stance on women’s health issues.
Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, said that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
In an email, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz linked Akin’s comments to a larger trend of “backward statements from Republicans on issues affecting women’s health” and pointed to the anti-abortion bills that Akin and Paul Ryan have worked on together.
“Now, Akin’s choice of words isn’t the real issue here,” Wasserman Schultz said in the email. “The real issue is a Republican party — led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — whose policies on women and their health are dangerously wrong.”
Wasserman Schultz continues:
Really, it’s deeply concerning that Republicans continue to support legislation that is, quite literally, dangerous for women.
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.
The Romney campaign issued a statement distancing itself from Akin’s comments. “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement,” the Romney campaign said. “A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
But the statement is hardly a full-throated rebuke, and Wasserman Schultz largely dismisses it by linking Ryan’s and Akin’s record in Congress.
“And what do Romney and Ryan think of Akin’s latest statement?” she writes. “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.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.