WASHINGTON, August 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Responding to the media frenzy over Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s gaffe about abortion and “legitimate rape,” the Romney campaign has avowed that it will not oppose abortion in cases of rape. Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said: “a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
A spokesperson for the Romney campaign would not elaborate on the statement when contacted by LifeSiteNews, but affirmed the accuracy of the quotation.
The position is one which Mitt Romney has voiced previously. In his “pro-life pledge” of June 2011, penned in the pages of National Review, Romney began by stating: “I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.”
The ‘pledge’ went on to enumerate several pro-life promises including reversing Roe v Wade, barring use of federal funds for abortion, reinstating the Mexico City policy banning US funds to NGOs performing or promoting abortion, and appointing judges who respect the constitution.
Romney’s position does not appear to be shared by his running mate, Paul Ryan, who has supported personhood legislation, which would recognize all human beings as persons, beginning at conception. He has stated in the past that the only case in which he would support abortion is threat to the life of the mother. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Ryan told The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, in 2010.
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A media furor broke out this week when pro-life Congressman Akin flubbed a response to a question about abortion in cases of rape. “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, if it’s a legitimate rape, that’s really rare. The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Democrats pounced on Akin’s confusing terminology – “legitimate rape” – as insensitive to women who have suffered rape.
Some conservative media joined the fray, with National Review calling on him to resign over the remarks. “We suspect that this same lack of judgment will cause Akin to blow past tomorrow evening’s deadline for him to leave the race and allow the Republicans to select a better nominee,” said the editors.
Akin has apologized for the remark. “I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue,” Akin said Sunday on the Huckabee show. “But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”
In a more measured response, Akin’s choice of words were deemed unfortunate by a woman who is intimately connected to the issue, but who affirmed his basic point. Rebecca Kiesling, a pro-life speaker who was herself conceived in rape, wrote on her blog today that pro-life politicians would do well to learn some effective talking points on the difficult issue.
Kiesling says, “First of all — NEVER say ‘legitimate rape!’” She then goes on to offer these suggested responses for candidates when asked about rape and abortion:
1. The Supreme Court has said that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment for rapists and that rapists don’t deserve the death penalty. I don’t think the innocent child conceived in rape deserves the death penalty for the crimes of her father. It seems to me that is cruel and unusual punishment.
2. Rape victims are 4 times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion, with a higher rate of suicide, murder, drug overdose, etc.. As someone who really cares about rape victims, I want to protect them from the rapist, and from the abortion, and not the baby. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is. We need to educate the American public on the truth in this matter and not make public policy based on myth and misinformation.
3. Rape victims choose abortion at half the rate of the average unplanned pregnancy, which is over 50%. Only 15-25% of rape victims choose abortion, depending on the study. The majority of rape victims choose to raise her child — not “the rapist’s baby” — HER child.