A week after Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) sparked a massive controversy with his comments regarding abortion and “legitimate rape,” Democrats are stepping up their efforts to tie Akin to his Republican colleagues — including Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.
The Maryland lawmaker is one of 20 being targeted with automated phone calls by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Republicans like your Congressman Roscoe Bartlett share some of these radical, right-wing beliefs – that the government should take away a woman’s access to making informed decisions about her own pregnancy,” the DCCC call says, after referencing Akin’s remarks.
The DCCC does not explicitly say what Bartlett’s position is, but does note that the 2012 Republican Party platform opposes abortion without exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
Bartlett — who criticized Akin for his comments last week — does not agree with that policy, according to campaign spokesman Ted Dacey. “The Congressman believes in the exception in case of rape, incest and the life of the mother,” Dacey said in an e-mail Monday.
But if that is the case now, it has not always been. In 2001, Bartlett co-sponsored a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions and would include an exception only to protect the life of the mother, not for rape or incest. Dacey did not respond to a question about whether Bartlett’s position on the subject had changed.
Bartlett is a longtime abortion opponent, a position that has played well in his largely conservative district. The issue may resonate differently this November, though, since Bartlett’s seat was redrawn to include more liberal-leaning Montgomery County.