Paul Ryan says he is clear now on the definition of rape. Earlier he had not only supported legislation narrowing the federal definition of rape to “forcible rape,” he actually co-sponsored it.
However, in an interview with a Pittsburgh television station, he now says, “Rape is rape. Period. End of story.” He says he’s still proud of his pro-life record, which includes support for a ban on abortion even in the case of rape and according to NARAL, his record includes 59 votes (all anti-choice) on abortion and other reproductive health related issues, but he is yielding to Gov. Romney as to what the Romney-Ryan administration would say on that question. Romney in the past has appeared to oppose an exception for rape, but that, too, appears to have changed in the wake of the Akin controversy. Romney now says he would make an exception for rape.
So I guess we’re clear on the abortion/rape question. But what about family planning? Here, too, Ryan seeks clarity. He says flatly, “Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody.”
Really? If so, does the term “nobody” extend to everyone, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? Both Romney and Ryan want to eliminate federal Title X funding, which supports the operation of clinics providing family planning services to low-income women in the U.S. Ryan has consistently cast votes in the House against international family planning programs, voted to eliminated Title X and has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Alternatively, maybe the term “anybody” is not supposed to apply to low-income women. Or maybe “deny” is supposed to mean “forcibly deny,” like under penalty of imprisonment for use of contraceptives.
This is not an academic question. Thanks to state attacks on Planned Parenthood, family planning clinics all over Texas are shutting down, and if a Romney-Ryan Administration gets it way, many Title X-supported family planning clinics across this country will be shutting down, denying low-income women, particularly in rural areas, from getting access to family planning services.
More than 5 million women and men access family planning and related services every year through Title X funded clinics. This access has had a large impact, according to the Guttmacher Institute; in 2008, Title X-supported centers helped prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 432,600 unintended births and 406,200 abortions.
If these Guttmacher numbers are even remotely correct, it would appear to suggest that “Somebody is proposing to deny birth control to a lot of people.” Moreover, it would appear that “somebody’’ would include the proposed Romney-Ryan Administration.
Congressman Ryan, would you care to clear this up?
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