It was embarrassing enough for the GOP when Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee looking to unseat first-term Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, opened his mouth in a television interview on Aug. 19 about abortion, saying it still shouldn't be legal in cases of rape because victims of "legitimate rape" rarely become pregnant, and have ways to "shut that whole thing down."
In less than a week, Republicans began knocking down Akin's door, urging him to bow out of the race for the sake of the Party. Several of the former Republican senators of Missouri, including Sen. Roy Blunt, had asked him to step aside, as well as many major players in the GOP movement, including the 42-year-old representative from Wisconsin and the recently-selected running mate for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan.
Days after Akin's controversial comments, Ryan granted an interview to a reporter in what looked to be a hardware store in Virginia, and was asked about what he said to Rep. Akin, as well as his general thoughts on pro-life and abortion. Specifically, Ryan was asked about the issue of rape and whether or not it should be legal for a woman to get an abortion if she had conceived through rape.
"Well I'm very proud of my pro-life record, and I've always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life."
Ryan was quick to pivot before commenting further on this touchy subject.
"But let's remember, I'm joining the Romney-Ryan ticket, and the President makes policy, and the President - in this case, the future President, Mitt Romney - has exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement [over] where we are right now."
The full video can be seen here, and it is also embedded at the bottom of the page.
"The Method Of Conception"
In three days on YouTube, Ryan's interview has racked up 231,419 views - many might say that's not enough - but the page has an overwhelming number of dislikes to likes. Clearly, people heard Ryan's comments as offensive.
So, first a woman goes through the physical and emotional pain and trauma of being raped, and then to find out that her rapist had impregnated her. And then the government wants to force her, against her will, to foster the child of her rapist. What a swell, progressive country we live in," said YouTube commenter TheLaughiingMan.
"For all the people out there saying we have to protect the rights of an embryo, fine. But when doing that takes away the rights of a being with more than just cells but in fact conscious thought and the ability to make decisions concerning her own wellbeing, than that is stepping way out your? boundaries and way into someone else's," said YouTube commenter Otaku022398.
"For a guy that thinks a woman can? turn her uterus on/off (now that's very stupid), this sounds like something else he would believe," said YouTube commenter tubeinaredcircle.
Others have spoken out. Paul Slansky, a contributor to the New Yorker, introduced this video as "something that should force [Paul Ryan] off the ticket."
Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said Ryan's recent comments, which reflect the general attitudes of the Romney-Ryan ticket towards women, represent "a heartless approach to the treatment of women's health in this country."
"They represent an extremist party that has lost touch with the values they used to hold and of the people they have pledged to represent," Keenan said in an email to supporters. "And they represent everything we have been fighting against. This ticket and other anti-choice candidates simply do not trust women to make decisions about their own bodies and futures."
But are Ryan's comments as incendiary as some are making them out to be? He's not exactly saying anything like Akin's "legitimate rape" comments; in addition, while Ryan essentially calls rape a method of conception, he did not call it "a" method of conception, or "another" method of conception, or "just another" method of conception. No, Ryan said, "The method of conception doesn't change the definition of life." He is most likely talking in general terms; regardless, Ryan make any exceptions, even for situations of rape.
What do you think of his comments? Do you think he meant to say the method of conception doesn't matter? How do you feel when you watch the video? Sound off in our comments section below.