Dana Perino misinformed viewers of Fox's The Five while trying to whitewash the record of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on reproductive rights. Perino criticized co-host Bob Beckel for tying Ryan to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) through their mutual support of a bill that would limit reproductive rights in cases involving rape. But Ryan's views are more closely tied to Akin than Perino would like to admit.
Akin generated a firestorm by responding to a question about why he supports a ban on abortions even in cases of rape by stating that conception resulting from "legitimate rape" is very rare.
And Ryan and Akin both support bans on abortion with no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape. Both Ryan and Akin also co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which as originally conceived, limited the circumstances for which federal funding for abortion have traditionally been available.
Longstanding provisions of federal law have allowed federal funding for abortion in circumstances in which a pregnancy threatened to endanger the life of the pregnant woman or resulted from rape or incest. In its original form, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act rewrote these provisions so that federal funding for abortions would only be available in cases of "forcible rape," incest involving a minor, and situations in which the pregnant woman's life is in danger from a physical illness.
Furthermore, when trying to explain what he meant by "legitimate rape," Akin has said that he actually meant to say "forcible rape," the very term that was originally included in the No Taxpayer for Abortion Act.
Perino's attempt to downplay Ryan's position on abortion is part of a conservative media pattern. Fox and others in the conservative media have attempted to downplay or distort the GOP's radical stance on women's health issues. Indeed, earlier on the same show, when Beckel tried to make the same point, he was scolded by his co-hosts, who insisted that they should "focus on the issues at hand."