KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Abortion Issues Emerge As Distraction For Republicans

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney charges Democrats with trying to exploit comments made by Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin for political gain.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: As Convention Script Undergoes A Rewrite, Romney Accuses Obama Of Exploiting Abortion Issue
His Republican National Convention curtailed by a threatened hurricane, Mitt Romney conceded Sunday that fresh controversy over rape and abortion is harming his party and he accused Democrats of trying to exploit it for political gain (8/26).

Politico: GOP Sidetracked By Abortion Details
Republicans have been taking ground in the war on abortion for years, putting Democrats on the defensive on specifics like "partial-birth" abortion and parental rights. But suddenly the GOP has fallen into a similar trap, bedeviled by details: rape, invasive ultrasounds and the merits of contraception. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" remark forced fellow Republicans to publicly explore the details of how they think about abortion — details that don't serve their broader argument and that give Democrats a chance to reframe the debate, conservatives say (Allen, 8/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Pregnancies From Rape Prove Tough To Count
The outcry over Mr. Akin's remarks, made after he was asked whether he favors allowing abortion for women impregnated by rape, raises a question that researchers who have studied rape and pregnancy struggle to answer precisely: How many pregnancies result from rape each year in the U.S.? (Bialik, 8/24).

The Associated Press: AP Interview: Obama On Romney's 'Extreme' Views
Obama alluded to the provocative issue of abortion, suddenly thrust to the fore this week when Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said the female body has a way to "shut that whole thing down" when a woman is the victim of "legitimate rape." The Republican platform in Tampa calls for a ban on abortion with no specific exceptions for rape or other circumstances. Obama predicted that a President Romney would not "stand in the way" if Congress gave him a bill that stripped away women's control over their reproductive health. Romney is on record, however, as not opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest or if it will save the mother's life (Feller, 8/25). 

The Hill: Planned Parenthood's Action Fund Planning Revenge On Mitt Romney
Planned Parenthood's Action Fund plans to spend more than $3 million in Ohio and Virginia against Mitt Romney in the wake of his pledge to "get rid" of the women’s health advocacy group. The group is one of several liberal-leaning women's organizations planning to spend millions of dollars in crucial election states to swing undecided female voters toward President Obama. Joining them are NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY's List, two abortion-rights groups who are also planning aggressive campaigns (Bolton, 8/25).

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