MSNBC host Chris Matthews said earlier this week that GOP presidential candidate team Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would run the country like Shariah Law if elected, because of what he described as their "extreme" stances on abortion.
"Whatever that means," Matthews said according to Fox News, while commenting the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Romney, explaining that he thinks Romney would push for 14th Amendment rights of life, liberty and property to newly formed embryos. "An egg that had just been fertilized, right after sex, if you will."
"And to have that notion that that would be a person under this personhood thing that Ryan's pushing, and under the 14th Amendment rights, the platform that Romney's running on. This is extremism. I say (to the) center right tonight -- it's almost like Shariah."
The MSNBC host was referring to Shariah Law, an Islamic religious law practiced in Muslim countries that dictates society and life based on the teachings of the Qu'ran. Sharia has many laws and customs people must follow, but has often been criticized by human rights campaigners for the oppressive rules imposed on non-Muslims in living in countries under such a rule. Among some of its most controversial tenants, insulting the Prophet Muhammad can be punishable by death.
Matthews claimed that if the Romney-Ryan ticket is successful at the Nov. 6 presidential elections, America would "operate under a religious theory, under a religious belief. We're going to run our country this way, to the point of making a woman's decision to have an abortion, her reproductive rights, as criminal, perhaps murderous."
The host's comments are largely focused on Romney's pledge to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion in the country, and only allow abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is in danger. However, it has been highlighted that Romney allows for more exceptions to a ban on abortion than the official Republican Party platform, which promotes the procedure only if the mother's life is in danger.
The GOP presidential candidate has not yet revealed, however, what kind of punishment illegal abortion providers or women who choose to have an abortion would face under his presidency.
Matthews' accusations that America would be run under a religious rule if Romney wins stand contrary to what the candidate has promised in his official campaign message, where he says he will defend religious freedom for "all people."
His record on religious freedom has also been defended by some notable organizations:
"The charge that Mitt Romney has not stood tall to defend freedom of religion is preposterous... people of all faiths won't find a more ardent or effective advocate than Mitt Romney. He has shown backbone on every critical issue at every juncture when it counted," said Mary Ann Glendon, Chair of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.