Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan has been a good soldier when it comes to Todd Akin and his unfortunate ideas about “legitimate rape.” Although there’s no daylight between Ryan’s beliefs and Akin’s when it comes to opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and they’ve co-sponsored some of the meanest antiabortion bills in history, the Wisconsin pro-lifer dutifully asked Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race for the good of the party.
And he has repeatedly deferred to the top of the ticket on the rape-exception question, noting that Romney’s support for exceptions to an abortion ban in the cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother would prevail in a Romney-Ryan administration. He’s been a bit of a robot when he answers this question, always adding in some fashion that “I’m proud of my pro-life record,” which would seem to indicate that he still opposes such exceptions – as does Todd Akin and the GOP party platform going back to 1992.
But on Thursday night Ryan went a little bit off script, telling Virginia’s WJHL-TV not only that “I’m very proud of my pro-life record,” but that “I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” In other words, a rape victim must bear her rapist’s baby.
Why did Ryan amplify his own views? I wonder if it has to do with Mike Huckabee coming out with guns blazing on behalf of Todd Akin on Thursday. Huckabee had previously telegraphed his support for Akin but yesterday he made it a crusade, blasting GOP leaders for abandoning the pro-life “pilgrim” in a fiery email to supporters.