Romney VP Pick Paul Ryan Cosponsored Personhood, Ultrasound, and “Let Women Die” Legislation

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

I have written a number of posts for the Turley blog about The GOP’s war on women and proposed extreme anti-woman legislation which has been sponsored by members of the Republican party (here, here, here, here, here, and here). In a piece for Mother Jones, Stephanie Mencimer said that Paul Ryan has a “long history as a culture warrior”—and that people are taking  “a fresh look” at it  since Mitt Romney named Ryan as his running mate. I thought I’d do some investigating of my own to find out more about the Wisconsin “culture warrior’s” position on women’s issues.

According to Laura Bassett, Rep. Ryan “voted to defund federal family planning programs, authored a budget that dismantles Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, all of which disproportionately aid and employ women, and voted multiple times to prevent women in the military from using their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals.”

Sylvia Casablanca, a medical doctor and holistic psychotherapist, wonders if Ryan will now “head the conservative war on women.” Casablanca wrote in a VOXXI article that Ryan “sounds, thinks, acts, so much like Rick Santorum!” She added that both men have spent much of their public lives “battling the things that matter most to women.” She continued, “He [Ryan] has been opposing contraception, eulogizing women who quit successful careers to be stay-at-home moms (like their own wives have done), and vowing to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act. And, Ryan voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

Casablanca feels that Ryan’s stance on the issues mentioned above are “zilch” compared to his “support of a federal ban on abortion in all circumstances, including incest and rape.”

In her Mother Jones article, Mencimer also wrote the following:

What isn’t so well known about Ryan’s record, though, is that one piece of legislation he supported is so extreme that it would have turned Romney’s children into criminals.

The Sanctity of Human Life Act, which Ryan co-sponsored, would have enshrined the notion that life begins at fertilization in federal law, thus criminalizing in vitro fertilization—the process of creating an embryo outside of a woman’s womb. In IVF, doctors typically create multiple embryos and then only implant the healthiest ones in the woman. Some of them stick and become babies, and some don’t. The embryos that don’t make it to the womb are either frozen for later use or destroyed. The Sanctity of Human Life Act, if passed, would make all those embryos “people” in the legal sense, so if they aren’t used or don’t become babies after being implanted, they would essentially become murder victims under the law.

H.R. 212: Sanctity of Human Life/Personhood Bill

Sponsor’s Summary: To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.

Excerpt from the text of H. R. 212:


For purposes of this Act:

(1) FERTILIZATION- The term ‘fertilization’ means the process of a human spermatozoan penetrating the cell membrane of a human oocyte to create a human zygote, a one-celled human embryo, which is a new unique human being.

(2) CLONING- The term ‘cloning’ means the process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, that combines an enucleated egg and the nucleus of a somatic cell to make a human embryo.

(3) HUMAN; HUMAN BEING- The terms ‘human’ and ‘human being’ include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, beginning with the earliest stage of development, created by the process of fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent.

Link to MSNBC Hardball Video: Revisiting Ryan’s extreme pro-life positions: Chris Matthews talks with Kate Michaelman, former head of NARAL, and Politico’s Maggie Haberman about Paul Ryan’s extreme pro-life stance, and his support for a federal ‘personhood’ law.

In addition, Rep. Ryan is a cosponsor of some other “extreme” anti-woman legislation that has been introduced in Congress. To wit:

H.R. 3805: Ultrasound Informed Consent Act

Sponsor’s Summary: To ensure that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to review the ultrasound before giving informed consent to receive an abortion.

H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Open Congress Summary: This bill would make permanent and expand the Hyde amendment restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions. It seeks to prohibit even indirect funding streams that may potentially come in contact with abortion services. For example, it would deny tax credits to companies that offer health plans that cover abortions and it would block anybody with insurance that covers abortions from receiving federal subsidies or medical cost tax deductions, even if the abortion portion is paid separately with personal funds. Women who use tax-free Medical Savings Accounts would have to pay taxes on the costs of abortions.

H.R. 358: Protect Life Act aka “Let Women Die” Bill

Open Congress Summary: Amends the new health care law so that no federal money could be applied to health insurance plans that cover elective abortions, even if the abortion coverage is paid for entirely with private funds. It also states that a federal agency can not force a health care provider that accepts Medicare or Medicaid to provide abortion services, even in cases when the mother’s life is endangered.

From Human Rights Watch:

US: House Vote Puts Women at Risk

Bill Would Permit Hospitals to Let Women in Need of Care Die

(Washington, DC) – The United States House of Representatives approved a bill on October 13, 2011, that would put women’s lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, if it becomes law, would reverse longstanding federal policy requiring hospitals to provide life-saving care regardless of expense, Human Rights Watch said.

The Protect Life Act, HR 358, would amend the healthcare reform law to grant hospitals far-reaching powers to deny patients abortion care, without any exception for emergency situations. US law currently requires hospitals receiving federal funds to provide emergency care to anyone in need up to the point at which they can be stabilized or transferred, if the original hospital is incapable of providing the care they need.

“The misnamed Protect Life Act is about allowing women to die if they need an emergency abortion,” said Meghan Rhoad, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is a vicious attack on women’s rights and on the most basic right to life.”

The Paul Ryan Vision: Ban Abortion, Defund Contraception, Outlaw In Vitro Fertilization 

What do you think about Paul Ryan’s position on women’s issues?


Paul Ryan: the ‘Personhood’ Crocodile? (Huffington Post)

Paul Ryan Sponsored Fetal Personhood Bill, Opposes Family Planning Funds (Huffington Post)

Paul Ryan, new head of the Republican war on women? (VOXXI)

Bill Press: The Paul Ryan-Mitt Romney ticket: trouble for GOP (Newsday)

Sandra Fluke: 8 Points on Ryan’s Voting Record on Women’s Issues (Politic365)

Rep. Paul Ryan Supported the “Let Women Die” Bill (Blog for Choice)

How Did Your Representative Vote on the “Let Women Die” Bill? (Blog for Choice)

See How Your Lawmaker Voted on the “Let Women Die” Bill, H.R.358 (Prochoice America)

Sandra Fluke: Paul Ryan on women’s issues — so bad it’s unbelievable … but true (Lean Forward/MSNBC)

Five Reasons Why Paul Ryan Is Bad For Women’s Health (Think Progress)

Ryan Sponsored Abortion Bill That Would Make Romney’s Kids Criminals: The VP candidate pushed an anti-abortion bill that would outlaw IVF—which Mitt Romney’s children used (Mother Jones)

The Paul Ryan Vision of America: Ban Abortion, Defund Contraception, Outlaw In Vitro Fertilization (Democracy Now)

List of Bills Sponsored and Cosponsored by Paul Ryan (Open Congress)

403 thoughts on “Romney VP Pick Paul Ryan Cosponsored Personhood, Ultrasound, and “Let Women Die” Legislation”

  1. Legalising abortion does not mean that every future baby is going to be ‘murdered’. A woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy is entirely her choice, a choice that has nothing to do with anybody commenting here.

  2. Ed,

    What is your opinion of men who rape and impregnate women? Do you think that there should be a war on men who are rapists?

  3. There is no “War on Women” ! What a joke! The woman here do not speak for anywhere near the majority of women, they are smarter than that. This is just another liberal lie-you people are disgusting!

  4. 53 million babies murdered by woman in the last 40yrs and they think there is a war against them! Maybe there should be!

  5. Tom Smith, GOP Senate Candidate: Pregnancy From Rape Similar To ‘Having A Baby Out Of Wedlock’
    By Laura Bassett

    Trying to distance himself from the “legitimate rape” comment that Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) made last week, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith (R) stirred up further controversy by comparing a pregnancy caused by rape to “having a baby out of wedlock.”

    Smith said Monday at the Pennsylvania Press Club that although he condemns Akin’s comment, he agrees with Akin that abortion should be banned without any exceptions, including for rape and incest victims. Pressed by a reporter on how he would handle a daughter or granddaughter becoming pregnant as a result of rape, Smith said he had already “lived something similar to that” in his family.

    “She chose life, and I commend her for that,” he said. “She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to … she chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.”

    When a reporter asked Smith to clarify what kind of situation was similar to becoming pregnant from rape, the candidate responded, “Having a baby out of wedlock.”

    He added, “Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar.”

  6. Paul Ryan: ‘Forcible Rape’ Reference Just ‘Stock Language’
    By Elise Foley

    GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Monday he supported removing the term “forcible rape” from his bill banning taxpayer funding for abortions, claiming it was included only as “stock language” and not to limit the definition of rape.

    “Rape is rape, period,” Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, said in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier. “This is language that was stock language used for lots of different bills, bills I didn’t author, and that language was removed to be very clear and I agree with that. Removing that language so we are very clear. Rape is rape, period, end of story.”

  7. Paul Ryan’s Social Extremism
    August 26, 2012

    Mitt Romney, who will be officially nominated this week as the Republican nominee for president, appears to trim his social convictions to the party’s prevailing winds. There is no doubt, however, about where the party’s vice-presidential candidate stands. A long history of social extremism makes Paul Ryan an emblem of the Republican tack to the far right.

    Mr. Romney’s choice of Mr. Ryan carried some risks, considering Mr. Ryan’s advocacy of overhauling Medicare, but it has sent the strongest signal of solidarity to those who have made the party unrecognizable to moderates. Strident conservatives had been uneasy with Mr. Romney, but it is the rest of the country that should be nervous about conservatives’ now-enthusiastic acceptance of the Republican ticket.

    Mr. Ryan is best known as the face of Republican budget-cutting, though his ideology runs much deeper. For years, he has been a reliable vote against workplace equity for women, opposing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to file wage-discrimination lawsuits, and two similar measures.

    The full outpouring of hard-right enthusiasm is based, to a large degree, on Mr. Ryan’s sweeping opposition to abortion rights. He has long wanted to ban access to abortion even in the case of rape, the ideology espoused in this year’s Republican platform. (Mr. Romney favors a rape exception.) Mr. Ryan also co-sponsored, along with Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, a bill that would have narrowed the definition of rape to reduce the number of poor women who can get an abortion through Medicaid.

    Besides that, he has co-sponsored more than three dozen anti-abortion bills, including measures that would require women to get an ultrasound first, bar abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia and end federal spending for family planning programs. Though he urged Mr. Akin to end his Senate race last week over an offensive remark about “legitimate rape,” Mr. Ryan has actually co-sponsored more of these measures than Mr. Akin.

  8. Men Defining Rape: A History
    By Erika Eichelberger
    Mon Aug. 27, 2012

    Men have been in the business of deciding when it is okay and when it is not okay to rape women for thousands of years. If Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s claim that women’s bodies magically fend off rapist sperm or the GOP’s meditation on what’s really rape sound medieval to you, that’s because they are. Check out our timeline of the male notions and common-law statutes that have defined rape over time, and see for yourself which eras the GOP’s views on rape line up with:

    Property theft: The Code of Hammurabi, one of the first sets of written laws, which dates to about 1780 BC (and contains the old “eye for an eye”), defines rape of a virgin as property damage against her father. If you were married, sorry lady: You were an adulteress. Punishment? You get thrown in the river.

    God is a dude: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says if you rape a virgin, you have to give her dad 50 shekels and take her to the altar.

    Et tu, Roma? The Latin root raptus referred to the abduction of a woman against the will of whatever male controlled her life. What the abductor did with her was secondary.

    (Mississippi and) The Middle Ages: During the 13th century, the severity of punishment under Saxon law varied according to the type of woman raped—whether she was a virgin, a wife, a widow, a nun, or a whore. That’s appropriately medieval. But in the United States, well into the ’90s (yes, the nineteen-nineties) some states still had laws that held statutory rape wasn’t rape if the woman was “impure”. Mississippi was the last state to ditch such a law—in 1998

  9. What’s the Difference Between Todd Akin and Paul Ryan? P90X
    by Floyd Elliot

    The Republican Party has risen almost as a body to denounce Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) insane, counterfactual and repulsive comments on “legitimate rape” and the mythical ability of a woman’s body to reject a rapist’s sperm and resist pregnancy after rape. Akin’s remarks were in support of his belief in the need for a “personhood” amendment that would declare human life to begin with conception and outlaw abortion even in the case of rape or incest, and would also outlaw most forms of contraception, including the Pill, Plan B contraception and IUDs. What the Republicans have desperately attempted to sweep under the rug is that vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan not only holds views similar to Akin’s, but has co-sponsored personhood legislation with Akin that would make abortion except in the case of “forcible rape” murder — and that this extreme view of the government’s role in a woman’s private decision is enshrined in the GOP’s 2012 platform.

    Though Ryan called Akin to urge the representative to resign from the race rather than face certain defeat in November and in so doing damage the top of the Republican ticket, Ryan’s own support of Akin’s views — sans the bogus medical nonsense that displays a complete ignorance of the operation of the female reproductive system — has been firm, unwavering and long-standing. Ryan is on record as far back as his first Congressional campaign in 1998 as being opposed to abortion except in cases where the pregnancy threatened the life of the mother. He and Akin worked together on a personhood bill, as well as on a bill denying Medicaid funding for poor women seeking abortions, except in the case of, as the bill put it, “forcible rape”, a clear parallel to Akin’s “legitimate rape”. Now though, asked if women who are raped should be allowed access to abortions, Ryan refuses to answer, presumably so as not to contradict Mitt Romney’s timid support of a rape exception while still maintaining Ryan’s credibility with the Hezbollah-ish range of anti-abortion organizations like Personhood USA, which has condemned the Romney-Ryan ticket for supporting a rape exception. Romney and Ryan are, in other words, trying to have it both ways.

    Indeed, having it both ways seems to be the official strategy of the GOP with regard to personhood: include a plank in the party’s 2012 platform that calls for “a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to the life of a pregnant woman” but then attempt to Etch-a-Sketch that plank, downplaying it in the knowledge that it will not play well with the vast majority of American voters in the general election, and certainly not with independents and swing voters. The personhood plank represents the red meat thrown to the Republican base, the morality voters whose main concern is what they see as the moral holocaust of modern life, the conservative activists who would sooner gnaw off their own legs than vote for anyone who supports a woman’s right to choose abortion, even if raped. Akin’s comments thus brought the Republicans to a crisis of conscience: one of their own, going off-script, had made clear what the party very much did not want clarified: the Republican Party is the party of no abortion, no exception, the party that when a woman is brutalized, tells her, “You’re on your own.” Would the party live according to the dictates of its conscience — which, make no mistake, Akin was and is — or would it throw Akin off the island and under the bus as quickly and as quietly as possible, hoping to minimize the damage that revealing its true face caused?

  10. Nick,

    You are much better equipped and skillful than I. And have witnessed more tricks than I can dream of.
    My advice will be superfluos, but will be forthcoming. It is a life trait.

    They may soon offer armistice terms or quieten for a while to purchase breathing space or an armistice.
    You’ve been offered that before of course.

    I have learned a lot here, for which I am grateful.
    But they were, with few exceptions, NOT offered as instruction, but in the form of a beating. But one can learn from that too.

    They never offer honest arguments on the basis of substance. GeneH is a master at diagnosing fallacies, and will divert to that battleground where he has all the weapons. They have all, to their level of skills, learned GeneH’s methods.

    You won’t nned my advice nor support but I will offer both. You are well-equipped and skillful, basing it on reality.

    Will be a pleasure to watch. Shame such resources will be taken up fighting, instead of better more useful deeds. But some abattoirs have to be cleaned.
    And defending yourself against gangs of dogs is a life necessity.

    Most here are peaceful citizens, glad to write Kilroy was here and making good points in that. But the ruling gang is small. As most elite circles are.

  11. idealist, I appreciate your wisdom and counsel. I’m pretty saavy and as you might expect have a great weasel/bulls@$t detector. You know id I don’t know what this “troll” thing is about. No one sent me here. My god do I seem like a person who would be an errand boy or take marching orders? I’m here for presumably the same reason everyone else is, a respect for Mr. Turley. I know attorneys quite well, Turley is the only legal pundit worth a damn on tv. That’s it, no agenda. I won’t be bullied and I am relentless. That’s why attorneys, many who didn’t even like me, hired me. I’m cool, calm, and relentless. My real world experience is a threat to some. You can’t believe how jealous fellow teachers were when I taught. I just had real world knowledge about crime, courts, prisons, etc. I was teaching on 9/11. What a teachable moment. The principal knew I could explain to students what was going on to help allay their fears. I was teaching 8th grade history but she had the entire class come into my room[crowded] to watch and explain. In person I’m a big, but gentle, calm man. One or two teachers got it, the rest were envious and petty. We have much of the same dynamic here. I’ve dealt w/ it and I’ve dealt w/ the petty politics of law firms. An attorney who is a lifetime friend of me gave me sage advice when I went to work in a big law firm. This guy knows me well. He said, “Nick don’t get sucked into the office politics.” I took his advice and it was a good experience. The politics w/ teachers was more pervasive and least that was my experience.

    Stay well my paisan!

  12. Nick,

    Spent the day breathing air outside the kennel here, or should I call it the coterie place. They are good dogs. They know who the alpha dog is. They are quick in cooperating in the chase. And will bite whatever target that has been chosen by the leader.

    Peraonally I felt that ElaineM’s citations of you were OK, considering what has been posted by some gang members before.

    Rafflaw, is the little whelp who is allowed to yipe when the big dogs have yelped first. He is usually first to say tbings in approval of what the big dogs say.

    I beat him down once and the big dogs attacked me. C’est la vie. That is how the system worked now. You were helping ElaineM make a spectacle of herself, and they rushed to sidetrack it all by attacking you.
    Even OS and Blouise chimed in. Loyalty before all.

    Seems like common human traits. The person who is helping me keep my place in the pecking order and my treats (whatever they are) is my buddy and etc etc.

    You read what I said about MikeS, of course.

    Nuf said. It smells bad in here. And what cheap shots that invites too.

    Oh yes, one important thing. Don’t ever be allured to drop your guard by sweet talk or even neutral talk by any of these figures. It is tactical and will lead you into a trap. They never forgive those who don’t csst themselves prostrate upon entering their presence.


    Nice watching you operate.

    A shame on a nice thread, trashed by folks who can’t read what you wrote. But their misreading was do to they were looking for the opportunity to get you on a false issue. Common trick also.

    All I tried to do was mediate peace. The smell of some dogs gets others upset. I shall remember not to bathe.


    1. ID707,
      Petulant purveyor of spurious victimhood. Keeping you on a leash….hardly. Your self control has none.

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