Where Todd Akin and Paul Ryan agree, and disagree, on abortion
There's nothing to indicate that Paul Ryan shares Rep. Todd Akin's strange rationale for denying rape victims access to abortion. But the GOP's vice presidential candidate opposes such abortions, nonetheless.
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One bill that hasn’t made that scorecard, however, is a simple, three-page bill called the Sanctity of Human Life Act, cosponsored by Ryan, Akin, and 62 other Republican lawmakers. That bill, which has yet to see a floor vote in the Republican-held US House during this session of Congress, would enshrine the principle that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and the life of each human being begins with fertilization.”Skip to next paragraph
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These so-called “personhood” bills have stirred up controversy in state legislatures because, while they don’t explicitly ban abortion (in the Human Life Act, for example, states would “have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings” but not the ability to ban abortion outright), they do point strongly in that direction.
In conservative Mississippi, for example, 55 percent of voters rejected a personhood amendment in a 2011 referendum. Virginia’s Republican-controlled state government couldn’t pass a similar bill during its 2012 session.
By contrast, the Republican Party platform, formed every four years at the Republican National Convention, embraces the personhood protection.
Since 1984, the party’s official position on abortion issues has been some variation of the following line: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.”
A human life amendment, which has been bandied about since the 1970s, would in its simplest form overturn the US Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion rights, and in its broadest forms outlaw all abortions, according to the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.
That language was approved for the 2012 platform on Tuesday, a move that Democrats pounced on as the “Akin plank” of the GOP platform.
For Republicans, it's not unusual to see the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate part company over the issue of abortion exceptions. President George W. Bush and 2008 party nominee Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, for example, favored abortion exceptions in the case of incest, rape, and danger to the life of the mother.
Coincidentally, the Romney-Ryan ticket ends up in the same place as Senator McCain and his running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: the presidential nominee in favor of some exceptions, the vice presidential nominee in favor of fewer.
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