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Ryan and Akin backed bill to redefine rape

Paul Ryan and Todd Akin (file)
Paul Ryan and Todd Akin (file)John Moore/Getty Images; Orlin Wagner/AP Photo

Mitt Romney and other Republican leaders have been running away from Todd Akin's insulting comments on "legitimate rape." And Republicans have reason to be concerned — his bizarre and scientifically inaccurate tirade amplifies the GOP's war on women. Todd Akin widely-condemned comments further damaged the GOP brand as the party bringing American women back to days of before birth control. It could cost them the Missouri Senate race and women voters in November.

Romney, who boldly condemned Akin's comments on Monday, has flip-flopped in the past when it comes to his stances on abortion. But, ties between Paul Ryan, his staunchly conservative vice presidential running mate, and Akin threaten to widen the gender gap.

Last year, Ryan and Akin cosponsored a bill to prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions for rape victims. The bill sought to narrow the government's definition of rape — by literally rewriting it to the term "forcible" rape — in order limit federal funds for abortion coverage.

Ryan has stated in the past he opposes abortion even in the case of rape — a position which contradicts Team Romney's latest statement on abortion following Akin's comments.

Seizing on Akin's remarks, President Obama used him as an example of why GOP lawmakers — or furthermore any lawmaker — should not be involved in these personal decisions typically made after consulting with doctors and family members.

During an appearance at Monday's White House press briefing, Obama said, "We shouldnt' have a bunch of politicians, amajority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf women."