Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign sought to distance itself from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) Sunday after Akin said women who are victims of what he called “legitimate rape” can potentially prevent pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
In a brief statement late Sunday night, the Romney campaign said it does not share Akin’s view, nor will the Romney-Ryan ticket govern in keeping with his belief that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape and incest. Akin himself later tried to back away from the comments.
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement,” the Romney campaign said in statement. “A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
The position is somewhat consistent for Romney, who has said he favors making abortion illegal except in the case of rape, incest or “to save the life of the mother.” Before he ran for president in 2008, Romney ran as a pro-choice Republican in Massachusetts.
Ryan has been more consistent over the long-term when it comes to abortion, and the rape exemption called for by the Romney campaign would represent a big shift for him. Ryan is among the most socially conservative members of Congress on abortion, favoring a ban even in cases of rape and incest.
Both Akin and Ryan co-sponsored a 2011 bill in Congress that would refine the federal abortion coverage ban exemption for rape to cover only “forcible rape.” That language was dropped under pressure from women’s advocacy groups and Democrats.
Ryan also co-sponsored a so-called “personhood” bill in Congress. In 2011, Democrats attacked Romney for appearing to support a personhood amendment to the Constitution.
The Akin flap comes just as the Obama campaign is seeking to tie Romney to Ryan’s more conservative views on abortion.