(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
Only a few days after praising Rep. Paul Ryan's pro-life record, Personhood USA, one of the largest anti-abortion organizations in the U.S., is now criticizing the Romney-Ryan campaign for endorsing abortion in instances of rape.
"Personhood USA does not endorse political candidates, but we had hoped that Congressman Ryan would be a good influence on Governor Romney, considering Romney's liberal abortion record," said Jennifer Mason, Communications Director for Personhood USA. "Reading today that babies conceived in rape should suffer the death penalty under a Romney-Ryan administration is extremely concerning, and indicates that Congressman Ryan's pro-woman and pro-baby positions would have little influence if he wins the office of Vice President of the United States."
Mason, in the organization's public statement, was referring to Rep. Todd Akin's controversial remarks on Sunday in which the Wisconsin Republican said that "legitimate rape" victims have a way of preventing pregnancy from happening. Republicans across the board slammed Akin's statement, which he later apologized for, with Romney and Ryan both stating that they would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.
"Governor Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," the Republican candidates' campaign said in a statement.
Ryan has insisted that he is "proud" of his pro-life record, but has said that he will stand behind Romney's views on abortion.
"I stand by my pro-life record in Congress," Ryan said. "It's something I'm proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration."
Personhood USA's relationship with the Romney-Ryan campaign remains complicated.
The organization highlighted last week several instances in which Ryan has stood up for pro-life causes, which stands in contrast to a previous statement the organization made revealing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's alleged failures to support the rights of unborn children during his time as governor of Massachusetts.
"We would say that since someone had to be chosen, Ryan does seem to support the same values that we support, and the same values of the Republican Party," Mason told The Christian Post last week.
"I think that if Ryan is able to influence Romney in such a way that he able to counter-balance some of the more pro-choice actions that he has taken, that would definitely be a turn in the right direction," Mason added at the time.
In the most recent Persoonhood USA statement, Mason claimed that while Romney expresses pro-life views, his belief that babies conceived in rape can be aborted stands contrary to the GOP platform and contrary to the views held by most pro-life Americans. "All babies have a right to live, regardless of the circumstances of their conception," she added.
"As someone who really cares about rape victims, I want to protect them from the rapist, and from the abortion, but not the baby. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim – an abortion is," said Personhood USA spokesperson Rebecca Kiessling.
"We need to educate the American public on the truth in this matter and not make public policy based on myth and misinformation," Kiessling, who was conceived in rape, added.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party approved a platform on Tuesday that seeks a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions regardless of circumstances, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to the life of a pregnant woman.
The GOP's declaration was lauded by many pro-life advocates, such as Priests for Life.
"Priests for Life is grateful to those who have served on the platform committee for the Republican Party for reaffirming the truth that 'the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,'" said Priests for Life National Director Fr. Frank Pavone.
"A declaration like this goes far beyond party politics and national boundaries. It affirms the very purpose of government and an essential condition of civilized society – a purpose and condition which, to our alarm, has been forgotten by some parties and public officials."