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. Paul Ryan Goddam!
    Melissa Harris-Perry
    August 22, 2012

    Unlike Romney’s inconsistent but mostly centrist Massachusetts governing record, whose signature accomplishment was the model for the GOP-maligned “Obamacare,” Ryan’s ideological bona fides are unvarnished. And don’t be fooled: this is not about economics alone. Ryan is just as devoted to good old-fashioned moral conservatism, government small enough to fit on a vaginal probe. Ryan may have slipped his playbook into an Ayn Rand cover, but it was co-written by Ralph Reed.

    Nowhere is this more apparent, or more important, than in Ryan’s record on reproductive rights. Romney may have flippantly suggested that he would eliminate Planned Parenthood, but Ryan has worked consistently to restrict women’s access to healthcare. It’s not just his fifty-nine votes to block or limit reproductive rights that are of concern; it’s the absolutist nature of his positions. He rejects rape and incest as mitigating circumstances for abortion. He won’t even consider the possibility that women’s moral autonomy or constitutional rights are sufficient reasons for access.

    Ryan is one of sixty-four Congressional co-sponsors of HR 212, a “personhood” bill that gives legal rights to fertilized eggs. Last November a similar measure was soundly defeated by 57 percent of voters in that liberal bastion, Mississippi. (Mississippi!) Ryan co-sponsored a bill too extreme for a state that has only one abortion clinic, a state whose policies have effectively made it impossible for most doctors to perform—or for most women to access—an abortion. It may be time to update the title of Nina Simone’s iconic song from “Mississippi Goddam” to “Paul Ryan Goddam.” Ryan’s role in HR 212 isn’t just the symbolic co-sponsorship of a bill with little likelihood of passage. He explicitly articulated his case for personhood in a 2010 Heritage Foundation article, in which he parrots the familiar conservative case that America’s failure to recognize fetuses as persons is the same as our nation’s historical failure to recognize the humanity of enslaved black people. Therefore, Roe v. Wade is the twentieth-century equivalent of the 1857 Dred Scott decision.

    With Ryan and women’s health, there is no middle ground; there is only his moral judgment. And despite his avowed libertarianism on economic issues, on women’s health and rights Ryan is willing to use the full force of government to limit the freedom of dissenting citizens to exercise their opposing judgments.

  2. Paul Ryan: The Man Who Wasn’t There
    Eric Alterman August 22, 2012

    One reads of people obsessed with finding Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster or even Elvis. These folks may be silly, deluded and no doubt annoying, but for most of us, they are not really a problem. The same cannot be said of those pundits obsessed with a quest to locate that equally elusive creature, the intellectually honest, public-spirited conservative Republican politician. Combining their wishful delusion with an apparently congenital inability to admit error, these pundits are succeeding in the creation of an entirely fictional narrative about this year’s election.

    That obscure object of pundit desire is, you may have guessed, Representative Paul Ryan. When Ryan released his first budget plan back in early 2010, mainstream media pundits struggled to find words sufficiently praiseworthy to do justice to the man’s courage, wisdom and good looks. At the New York Times, David Brooks wrote that Ryan’s plan “set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion.” Ryan “tackle[d] just about every politically risky issue with brio and guts,” Brooks gushed, and by “grasp[ing] reality with both hands,” he was “forcing everybody else to do the same.” Soon after, the Times op-ed page cheering squad signed up Joe Nocera and James Stewart, with the latter forced to imagine, somehow, that Ryan’s plan raised taxes on the rich. And at Slate, Jacob Weisberg was so bowled over by the beauty of Ryan’s “Good Plan!” that he pronounced it “brave, radical, and smart”—even as he felt compelled to admit that it would result in “negative effects…on future retirees, working families, and the poor” and was filled with “sleight-of-hand tricks” that ultimately made a mockery of Ryan’s deficit-reduction claims.

    Given these weaknesses, one can only wonder what these pundits found so compelling about the plan. Was it that it shifted the burden of Medicare to future seniors by turning the program into a voucher plan? Was it that it lifted the tax burden from the extremely wealthy while significantly increasing the costs borne by the middle class? Was it the plan’s call for the complete elimination of taxes on capital gains and dividend income, such that even Mitt Romney admitted it would have wiped out his entire tax burden for the previous two years? Perhaps it was the plan’s unabashed attack on the social safety net via its steep cuts and death-blow changes to food stamps and Medicaid.

    The pundits who declared their devotion to the man with the plan apparently failed to notice not only the actual contents of his proposal but also its ideological origins. An acolyte of Ayn Rand, Ryan has spent his entire professional life nestled in the well-funded womb of the Koch brothers and other billionaire funders of the Tea Party movement, attending their conferences, speaking at their rallies and cashing their checks.

    Judged by the entirety of his career, Ryan is merely a good-looking version of a typical Obama-era Republican. He calls for budgetary discipline while exploding the deficit. He speaks of lowering taxes but merely shifts the burden to the middle class. Back in the Bush administration, he rarely met a boondoggle he didn’t embrace. On social issues, he may as well be Pat Robertson: Ryan co-sponsored a federal “fetal personhood” amendment, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and offered legislation to prevent Medicaid from funding abortions even in cases of rape or incest.

    Yet the punditocracy fantasy version of Ryan persists and has now corrupted the mainstream media’s narrative, as if Elvis actually were in the building and planning to sing “Love Me Tender” to the GOP in Tampa. As Matt Miller pointed out in the Washington Post, ever since Romney picked Ryan, the news “has been filled with talk of the ‘fiscal conservative’ [NPR] ‘intent on erasing deficits’ [New York Times] who has become ‘the intellectual heart of the Republican Party’s movement to slash deficits’ [Washington Post].” These are decidedly odd descriptions to apply to a politician whose original plan would have likely added $60 trillion to the national debt—reduced to a mere $14 trillion in its more recent formulation.

  3. You were getting your ass handed to you long before I chimed in, nick, so give credit where credit is due: Elaine is the one who demonstrated you were acting like a troll. And as Frank Zappa once said, “You are what you is.” I just pointed out the obvious.

    Nighty, night, troll-i-kins.

  4. I see The Sycophant Society has a quorum now. Good night and God Bless, Gene.

  5. I saw Elaine mentioned the Nuns on thebus. They came to rep Mike Fitzpatrick’s office, in Langhorne, Pa, to speak with him about the unfairness of budget, etc. the news showed Fitzpatrick, a T party republican (who also supports changing definition of rape) shaking hands with and speaking with the nuns, with no audio so it looked like they were in agreement. They showed almost nothing of the protest.

  6. Too many posts for me to catch up so apologize if someone already wrote this
    Ryan said”And the policy of the Romney Administration is that abortion exceptions will exist for rape, incest, and the life of the mother” In another interview he said and that is a good start indicating he does intend to push his position of outlawing abortion

  7. Blouise, thanks. The reason I’m “on a roll” is that I have been watching some You-Tube stuff posted by some genius known as “LLMPapa” and it has gotten me back to thinking about how ridiculous the persistent excuse manufacturing for Zimmerman has become. I support our criminal justice system’s constitutional scheme for the defendants 100% but it gets me riled up to see the manufacture of “evidence” for media consumption — “evidence” that will never reach the courtroom because not even the defense counsel will dare try to enter it in a real proceeding —

    Anyway, what does this have to do with the present thread? THIS: Any public figure can get on the air to say something so stunningly stupid that it boggles the mind. What is most irritating about it is that uncritical thinkers then adopt it as if it made sense.

    Does it show the failure of our education system? I think it shows the failure of EVERYTHING! It’s so demoralizing, all I can do is try to write funny stuff about it to save myself from tearing out my hair!

  8. lol

    Malisha is on a roll and it’s great reading!

    See “pomposity-induced early onset dementia” on the New Evidence in Zimmerman Case thread.

  9. Elaine M, if you do petard yourself, don’t worry: You won’t get pregnant.

  10. As Hamlet said, “For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar”.

  11. Oops! Hoist upon your own petard, nicky. Too bad you won’t get much sympathy from playing the victim now because being petarded is a self-inflicted wound.

  12. Nick’s first three comments on this post:

    nick spinelli 1, August 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm
    I read The Republican ticket are not only going to chain blacks, but women and illegals. I’m heavily invested in David Round in case the unspeakable occurs and those stupid, evil, lazy Republicans actually do win. I was w/ Solyndra as a hedge, but we know how that went. Any suggestions from you Dems where to put my $’s if the good guys win?

    nick spinelli 1, August 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm
    Here’s where my derision for partisan politics reaches a head. With all the hate and fear spewed by both sides there is nothing discussed that is interesting. Having grown up in a blue collar, ethnic household, in the WASP State of Ct., I saw people in power being all WASP men. We now have a Supreme Court of Jews and Catholics. We have 4 men[a woman or 2 would be nice!] running for POTUS. One is a Mormon, two are Catholic, and one is Protestant. The Protestant is black, and one of the Catholics is Irish and a Republican. This is quite historic and noteworthy. I thought I would just give my blue collar, ethnic take on this. You can all go back to spewing hatred, sorry to inject a little sanity. And feel free to tell me I’m “stupid” and “out of my league”. I know I’m not worthy of the smug and sanctimonious who hijack most threads.

    nick spinelli 1, August 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm
    Elaine, You strike me as one of those nanny teachers who would say, w/ your head tilted in the progressive “I care” look, “Mr and Mrs. Johnson, have you considered Ritalin for Josh.” Well, as I see your obsessive comments, I would say, maybe your mommy and daddy should have considered Welbutrin for their OCD child.

  13. Gene, I have to agree. There is suckitude, and then there are those who suck at suckitude. I am afraid our Nicky falls into the latter group.

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