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PAUL RYAN AND TODD AKIN were two of the 227 Republican co-sponsors of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in January 2011. This was a bill that turned “rape” into “forcible rape,” until the public got wind of this wingnuttery and House Republicans were forced to backtrack.

Rep. Akin has now issued a statement saying he “misspoke” when he said that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” may not be able to get pregnant in the first place. Sorry, not good enough.

Todd Akin’s gaffe goes to the heart of the Republican base and what they believe about women, our own freedoms, as well as our own ability to self-determination. The DNC has now sent out an email tying Mitt Romney to Todd Akin, which was as predictable as the wingnut himself revealing what the far right believes about women in the first place.

It’s breaking through, with the St. Louis Post Dispatch and many other Missouri papers, as well as national outlets and new media, covering the story hard.

When talking about a harrowing event like the rape of a woman and not only saying she has the physical capacity to self-abort, but saying on TV that rape isn’t always “legitimate” when it’s charged, is something that goes deeper than just screwing up a statement.

On Sunday, the Romney campaign quickly distance themselves from Todd Akin.

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.” – Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg

However, this statement doesn’t go far enough for a team who wants to run the country, from two men against abortion and women’s right to self-determination, but with one of the men party to a bill that’s original intent was to redefine rape itself to “forcible rape,” as if there is any other kind.

The Republican brand is in shambles. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are running under the banner of offering America a “comeback.” The best place they could start is by not just disagreeing with Akin, but disavowing such language and saying it has no place in the Republican Party.

But so far that’s not what’s being done by Mitt Romney. It illustrates the stranglehold grip the far right would have on him if he were elected president and should give every modern woman and the men who love us pause. If Romney wants to lead, he’s got a chance on this, while sending a strong message to women that “pro life” actually stands for something more than a marketing term to humiliate and manipulate women.

Rape is rape and no further clarifying of this crime of power and brutality is required. Until the Republican Party as a whole respects this fundamental human rights principle they’re unbefitting to hold the highest office in this country.