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Protesters: Ryan and Akin the Same on Abortion

A group of about 25 picketed the Republican vice presidential candidate's Aug. 21 speech in West Chester.

An overwhelming majority of the crowd that gathered at West Chester’s American Helicopter Museum on Tuesday to see Paul Ryan did so in support of the Republican vice presidential candidate.

Andrea Lynch was not in this majority.

“I am a woman, and I have three daughters, and this is appalling to me. We are moving backwards in our rights and even respect,” said Lynch, a Malvern resident who was one of roughly 25 protesters who clustered along the venue's Airport Road entrance in the run-up to the 3:30 p.m. speech.

A "Legitimate" Gripe?

Lynch, like many of the picketers, was incensed by what she views as the Republican ticket’s hostility to abortion rights. She carried two placards: one that read “Catholic Mother for Choice” another that asked “What is Legitimate Rape?,” a reference to Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s recent remark that “legitimate” rape rarely leads to pregnancy.

Andrea Morganstein, a member of MoveOn.Org—a liberal activist group that helped organize the protest—took the comparison between Ryan and Akin a step further. Carrying a sign that read “Ryan & Akin Agree, Only Some Rapes Count,” she argued that Ryan doesn’t just have similar abortion views as the controversial candidate—both oppose abortion in all cases except those in which the mother’s life is in danger—but said the pair were complicit in an attempt to restrict abortion access by narrowing the definition of rape. In doing so, she said, they hoped to cut off Medicaid abortion funding for victims of statutory rape and some kinds of incest.

“They recently cosponsored a bill that tried, but failed, to change the wording from rape to forcible rape—like a woman had to defend how raped she was in order to qualify for an abortion through Medicaid. And that’s why Akin’s flub is connected to what Ryan stands for,” she said, backdropped by intermittent chants of “four more years” and “Ryan is wrong for women.”

(It's unclear if Ryan and Akin are as uniquely close on abortion as the protesters claim. While they cosponsored the HR 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in January of 2011, they were just two of its 227 cosponsors. )

To advance their argument conflating the two, MoveOn took to the skies as well: for three hours an airplane financed by the group carried a banner that read “Romney Ryan Akin= Wrong 4 Women” over the rally.

Protesters Call Ryan Budget a Bust

The protestors also took issue with the congressman’s proposed budget. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” has drawn criticism from liberal (and some conservative) corners for its sharp cuts to the federal budget, including a proposal to turn Medicare for those under age 55 into a voucher system. Several protestors carried signs that read “Ryan: Yes to Millionaires, No to Medicare.”

Les Mills, 73, said he was puzzled by blue-collar support for Ryan. If you’re not rich, he wondered, why vote Republican?

“I don’t understand how so many working people can be ignorant of what happens on the Republican side. They think they’re doing something for them, and they’re not.”

Democrats Make Their Case

The protest culminated in a brief press conference where West Chester mayor Carolyn Comitta, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Democratic U.S. congressional candidates Manan Trivedi and George Badey took turns criticizing the Republican ticket.

“Mitt Romney has chosen a running mate who would not only privatize Social Security, but would also raise taxes for the middle class, turn Medicare into a voucher program, and cut investments in education, infrastructure, and important veterans' programming,” said Comitta in her introductory remarks. “All to fund massive tax breaks for millionaires like Mitt Romney.”

(“That’s not true, that’s baloney!” shouted a woman in medical scrubs from the back of the crowd. The interruption was one of several that occurred during the stump speeches. None were profane or aggressive.)

Senator Lautenberg waxed biographical: he told the crowd that his success owes much to the support of government programs. The WWII veteran said he graduated from college because of the GI Bill.

“We built a society that was called the greatest generation, and that’s what we’re asking for now,” he said, his voice raising. “We’re saying to the wealthiest among us, 'Kick in, do your share!'”

Manan Trivedi, the challenger to Jim Gerlach (R-6), and George Badey, who’s facing off against Pat Meehan (R-7), each took the opportunity to tie their Republican opponents to Ryan.

Trivedi, an Iraq war veteran and a primary care physician, poked fun at his opponents’ brag that he and Paul Ryan exercise together.

“They may be working out with each other, but they’re not working out for the middle class,” he said to laughter.

David Curran August 30, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Can't you see Morgan, Obama likes beer, Germany is known for beer, therefor it logically follows that if someone in Germany dresses his little boy in a dress than it is Obama's fault. :)
Bill L August 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Good point, Marc. See you at the Solyndra company picnic next week? I can't make it. The wife and I added up the cost of gas and at $4.00, we'll have to miss it this year. We planned on borrowing my neighbor's new Chevy Volt, but we bagged that when the cute little thing spontaneously combusted the other night in his driveway. It was crazy! And the weird thing? We didn't here a thing until the fire truck sirens pulled close to the house (who knew that fire from electric cars are silent?). We wouldn't have heard it anyway, because we were glued to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell enlightening us about how Mitt Romney's Mormon faith has made him a racist. Fascinating. Look it up!
Bill L August 31, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Marc, I forgot to mention. Hey, speaking if racist Mormans and that whole thing (god, I hate Mormans!  Jerks.), do you know that my BMW-driving, Avalon beach-house-owning, kids-in-private-school, church-going, charity-giving, golf-crazy, neighbor actually tried to convince me that Harry Reid is also a Morman.   He said that if MSNBC wants to paint a picture that Romney is racist because he is a Mormon, well, they just have to draw the same conclusion for our Great Harry Reid.   You know, I just stomped away from that potential altercation (the fire dept had just finished hosing down my buddy's Volt by then anyway), and snuck off to Google "Harry Reid Mormon" on my buddy's IPad, and darnit if that jerk-of-business-owner-neighbor of his was right (I mean correct, not 'right', as in in Extreme Right.  As in in Extreme Right Wing for that matter).   But, Marc.  How can this be?   http://spectator.org/archives/2012/08/31/racists-of-the-world-unite
Bill L August 31, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Obama will lose by 10 points. Watch and see.
Bill L September 01, 2012 at 07:41 AM
And to hear Morgan explain it, we're in this mess because of...... Uh, Reagan? Really, Morgan? Were you asleep from '76 - '80?

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