Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the bill he co-sponsored that initially had language limiting federally funded abortions to cases of “forcible rape” only contained that term because it was “stock language” for such legislation.
“This is language that was stock language used for lots of different bills, bills I didn't author,” Ryan said on Fox News Channel’s "Special Report" on Monday. “And that language was removed to be very clear, and I agree with that, removing that language so we are very clear. Rape is rape, period, end of story.”
Ryan co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which initially denied funding for abortions except in specific cases, such as “forcible rape.”
Federal funding of abortions is banned by the Hyde Amendment, which Congress has renewed annually since the 1970s. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would effectively make those rules permanent.
In the same interview on Monday, the Republican vice presidential candidate added that the bills he co-sponsored were not necessarily meant to limit access to abortions, but rather to make sure taxpayer dollars were not used for abortions.
“Look, all these bills were bills to stop taxpayer financing of abortion,” Ryan said. “Most Americans agree with us, including pro-choice Americans, that we shouldn't use hard-working taxpayer dollars to finance abortion. Rape is rape, period.”
The GOP message was upended ahead of this week’s Republican National Convention by Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) remark that pregnancies from rape are “really rare” and that in a “legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Ryan denounced Akin’s comments as “outrageous” and “over the pale,” and said while he stands by his anti-abortion-rights stance in cases of rape and incest, he said his policy positions will be set by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I’m proud of my pro-life record and I stand by my pro-life record in Congress,” Ryan said last week. “It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”
Romney has personally called on Akin to withdraw from his Missouri Senate race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) as pressure on the embattled Republican intensified.
Akin has so far said he’s committed to staying in the race.