Fresh off Todd Akin's apology for his comments about "legitimate rape," Paul Ryan has also been distancing himself from the Missouri lawmaker, and trying to avoid any awkward distinctions between "legitimate" rape, "forcible" rape, and other types of rape. But, based on his voting record, Ryan has been even more anti-choice than Akin.
On Tuesday night, Ryan condemned Akin's comments. “His statements were outrageous, over the pale. I don’t know anybody who would agree with that," Ryan told CBS affiliate KDKA 2 in Pittsburgh. "Rape is rape. Period, end of story."
In the same interview, Ryan was pressed about the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which last year he co-sponsored along with Akin and others, and which initially tried to narrow abortion restrictions' exception for rape, so that it applied only to "forcible rape," and not statutory rape or other rape that doesn't involve violence.
In response, Ryan tried to distance himself from that effort. “Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape,” he said Tuesday night.
But on PoliticsNation Wednesday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the pro-choice caucus, wouldn't let that pass. "He's trying to run away from that, saying 'rape is rape,' but he did want to make a distinction," Schakowsky said, noting that "of the 38 anti-choice bills [Ryan]'s co-sponsored, several have no exception for rape or incest."
Schakowsky added that Ryan's record is actually even more anti-abortion than Akin's.
"Paul Ryan has a more anti-choice voting record than, according to the National Right to Life Committee, than Todd Akin even has—slightly better from their point of view," she said. "He's slightly more against women being able to have an abortion."
The National Right to Life Committee ranks both Ryan and Akin as voting with them 100% of the time, but Ryan comes out slightly ahead because Akin did not vote on one relevant piece of legislation.
Though Ryan has repeatedly said over the past few days that he's "proud" of his pro-life record, he has also said that Mitt Romney, who has said he backs exceptions for rape and incest, is at the top of the ticket and would set policy as president. "I'm comfortable with it because it's a good step in the right direction," he said of Romney's stance.