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.
And how is this relevant to Mitt Romney?
No fewer than three of Mitt Romney's own children have relied on the procedure to produce some of his 18 grandchildren.Whoa.
In May, Romney's son Tagg became father of twin boys thanks to help from IVF and a surrogate mother. Tagg's son Jonathan was also produced this way. Two of Tagg's brothers reportedly have struggled with infertility issues and resorted to IVF as well. It's hard to imagine that Romney will score any points with voters by tapping a running mate whose anti-abortion views are so extreme that Romney's own kids can't live with them.
I've actually wondered about this for some time. My wife and I actually considered IVF briefly at one time, but ended up not needing it after all (yay!), which is just as well since there's no way we could've afforded it. Still, I always wondered, especially during the idiotic "embryonic stem cell research" kerfuffle, why the anti-choice crowd never said a peep about IVF, which is, after all, in the same area of medical research/procedures. IVF always seemed to be a blind spot--a third rail, to use a tired term. Apparently I was wrong about this, it's just that until one of these stupid "personhood" laws actually sticks, it isn't an issue for most people.
Of course, just like so many hypocritical Republicans, this isn't about THEIR kids or THEIR reproductive rights, it's all about OTHER peoples'--more specifically, anyone who isn't rich and white.
Update: Whenever I get into an abortion/"when does life begin" debate with someone, I always throw this simple hypothetical at them:
You're in a burning building with a 5-year old child and a canister of a dozen frozen fertilized human eggs. You only have time to save one of them. What do you do?
If you choose the canister, congratulations; you're not a hypocrite. You can feel proud of your ideological purity as you're carted off to jail for negligent homicide.
If you choose the child, good for you; you recognize that the life of a living, breathing, self-aware child is worth at least 12 times as much as the "life" of a tiny spec of organic matter.
And what's the cut-off point? What about 50 fertilized eggs? What about 100? 1,000? 10,000? If you choose to save the child's life over "saving" a whole freezer-full of fertilized human eggs, you're admitting that the kid is a human life, but fertilized eggs are not.
Of course, the response to this is invariably "that's a ludicrious situation that would never happen. It's not as simple as that!"
To which I reply, "You're absolutely right. It's NEVER that simple. Life doesn't work that way; pregnancy, and how to handle it, is the most private, personal, emotional decision a woman can make, and isn't subject to anyone else's value judgments. Which is why it's not something that should be legislated."