What is Chris Matthews Talking About?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


I’ve had Hardball on in the background for the past hour (I know, I know), and I just have to say that sometimes Chris Matthews stuns me. The topic was Todd Akin, and Matthews kept insisting that there was no difference — none, zero, nada — between Akin’s infamous reflections on “legitimate rape” and Paul Ryan’s view that abortion should be outlawed even in cases of rape and incest. He ended up badgering his guests over and over to admit that the two things were identical.

WTF? I assume Matthews is right about Ryan’s view (though I’m not sure if Ryan has ever explicitly clarified this), but what does that have to do with Akin? I don’t have any reason to think that Ryan believes some rapes are “legitimate” and others aren’t. He simply believes that abortion is murder, and it’s murder even if the fetus is the result of rape or incest. This is an extreme pro-life view, but it’s hardly a fringe view.

Does anyone have any idea what Matthews was talking about?

UPDATE: The consensus in comments seems to be that Matthews wasn’t referring to Ryan’s view that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. Instead, he was referring to a bill that Ryan and Akin (and most of the GOP caucus) cosponsored last year that would have narrowed Medicaid funding for abortion in rape cases. The legislation would have restricted Medicaid funding only to cases of “forcible rape.”

The theory here is that “legitimate” is just another word for “forcible,” and Ryan agrees with Akin that there’s some kind of distinction here. Unless I missed something, Matthews didn’t actually say this, but I suppose he might have meant it and just forgot to say the actual words. Or something.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate