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Paul Ryan’s Still Carrying Todd Akin’s Mantle, Will Co-Sponsor New Fetal ‘Personhood’ Bill

By Ian Millhiser  

"Paul Ryan’s Still Carrying Todd Akin’s Mantle, Will Co-Sponsor New Fetal ‘Personhood’ Bill"

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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) with former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)

Long before Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) convinced most of the House Republican caucus to vote to phase out Medicare, and long before former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) ended his political career by claiming “legitimate rape” is a form of contraception, the two men were partners in pushing anti-woman legislation. Ryan and Akin were original co-sponsors of the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill which, among other things, introduced the nation to the term “forcible rape.” And they partnered on a so-called “personhood” bill that would criminalize all abortions.

Todd Akin’s no longer an elected official, but Paul Ryan is still carrying Akin’s mantle in the new Congress:

Despite the deep unpopularity of fetal personhood bills in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has again decided to cosponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that gives full legal rights to human zygotes from the moment of fertilization.

Ryan, who reportedly has 2016 presidential ambitions, had to de-emphasize his opposition to abortion without exceptions during the 2012 election to align his position with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But this year, Ryan has been tapped as a keynote speaker for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List’s sixth annual Campaign for Life Gala, and he is re-upping his support for the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the country.

The personhood bill, first introduced in 2011 by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and reintroduced by Broun last week, specifies that a “one-celled human embryo,” even before it implants in the uterus to create a pregnancy, should be granted “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” Similar legislation has been rejected by voters in multiple states, including the socially conservative Mississippi, because legal experts have pointed out that it could outlaw some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization as well as criminalize abortion at all stages.

In the previous Congress, a total of 65 members of the House joined Akin and Ryan in co-sponsoring this bill.

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Justiceline: January 11, 2013 ›

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