News / USA

Abortion Issue Casts Shadow Over Republican Candidates

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa, August 22, 2012.Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa, August 22, 2012.
x
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa, August 22, 2012.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa, August 22, 2012.
VOA News
Democrats are trying to take advantage of the controversial remarks of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate on abortion, but presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is seeking to refocus the campaign debate on the sluggish economy.

U.S. Representative Todd Akin, who is running for a Senate seat in Missouri, started a firestorm of controversy this week when he defended his opposition to abortion -- even in cases of rape -- by claiming that victims of "legitimate rape" have a natural mechanism to avoid pregnancy.  Akin later apologized, but rejected calls by Republican leaders, including Romney, to give up his race for the Senate.

President Barack Obama poked fun at Akin's remarks during a fundraising dinner in New York Wednesday night.  He said that although Akin is a member of the House's science and technology panel, he "somehow missed science class."

For his part, Romney is seeking to avoid the divisive abortion issue and focus on the economy in his attempt to unseat Obama in the November election.  Campaigning in Iowa, Romney criticized Obama for failing to bring down the nation's debt and deficit.  He said if elected, he would "cut federal spending" and "encourage growth" and that the result would be a balanced federal budget.

Democrats have seized on Akin's remarks to draw attention to the Republican Party's stance against abortion, which they claim is part of their efforts to infringe on women's rights.  The Obama campaign told reporters Wednesday that U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, Romney's vice presidential running mate, has co-sponsored strict anti-abortion legislation in the House.  

Ryan said he was "proud of his pro-life" record in Congress during an interview Wednesday, but he has also called on Akin to withdraw from the Senate race in Missouri.

Republicans preparing for next week's national party convention have adopted a statement of beliefs that includes a call for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.  The pledge does not include exceptions in cases of rape or incest, putting it at odds with Romney's previously stated position.  

Romney and Ryan will be formally nominated at the national convention in the southern city of Tampa, Florida.  

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs