A campaign statement that neither Mitt Romney nor Representative Paul D. Ryan opposes abortion in rape cases contradicts Mr. Ryan’s earlier position on the issue.
The statement was issued late Sunday in response to a widely condemned comment earlier in the day by Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, that in cases of what he called “legitimate rape,’’ women’s bodies reject a pregnancy. Mr. Akin was explaining why he opposes abortion in the case of rape.
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,’’ a Romney campaign spokeswoman, Amanda Henneberg, wrote.
Although Mr. Romney has stated this position before, Mr. Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, has opposed abortion in the case of rape. During his first run for the seat in 1998, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he opposed abortions in all cases except to save the life of the mother.
More recently, Mr. Ryan was a co-sponsor of a House bill last year defining human life as beginning with fertilization and granting “personhood’’ rights to embryos, a movement that supporters say will outlaw abortions in all cases, and may also restrict some forms of birth control.
Ryan co-sponsored a bill last year with Rep. Akins that created a new status of “forcible rape” related to abortion law.