Paul Ryan has had to say a lot of things he doesn't actually believe since joining the doomed Romney campaign, and Thursday's vice presidential debate was no exception.
Ryan is as rabidly anti-woman as can be. He's a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act to define an egg as a person in order to ban abortion, birth control, and even some fertility treatments and methods. He's proud of his perfect rating from the National Right to Life Committee, and has said, "I’m as pro-life as a person gets."
Ryan has never met an anti-abortion bill, or an anti-women's health care bill, he didn't like. He doesn't care about the science that contradicts his beliefs and agenda; he doesn't care about women; and he certainly doesn't care about children, since he's also the guy who wants to cut funding for all services that help children from the budget.
But that's not what he had to say in the debate:
RYAN: Now, you want to ask basically why I'm pro-life? It's not simply because of my Catholic faith. That's a factor, of course. But it's also because of reason and science.Memo to Ryan: Observing that your daughter looked like a bean on an ultrasound, ergo, women should not be allowed to make their own reproductive decisions? That's not science. That's not reason. That's ridiculous.
You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, "Bean." Now I believe that life begins at conception.
That's why -- those are the reasons why I'm pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don't agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.That policy of the Romney administration—that abortion is wrong because beans and Jesus, unless you've been raped or are going to die—is not actually something Ryan believes. He's a no-exceptions kind of guy, because he thinks it is okay for women to die, just not fetuses. And he also thinks that rape is a "method of conception," and should not be a factor in determining whether a woman should be allowed to make her own reproductive decisions. This is the same position held by Todd Akin; by Rick Santorum, who said impregnation through rape is a "gift" from God; and by most other Republicans. That's why they tried to close the "rape loophole" by redefining rape to exclude as many women as possible from accessing abortion.
But because he's on the Romney ticket, and is being forced to downplay his extremism, Ryan had to pretend in the debate that he agrees with those exceptions, despite his record to the contrary.
Here's where he got really confused:
RADDATZ: I want to go back to the abortion question here. If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?Judges shouldn't be making these decisions? That's funny because that's not exactly what Romney has been saying:
RYAN: We don't think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.
Well, I don't actually make the decision the Supreme Court makes and so they'll have to make their own decision. [...] And I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue.Ryan got the talking point about "the people" right, yes, but he missed the part about judges making decisions. Because Romney's latest position on abortion is that judges should make these decisions, and he will appoint judges whom he hopes will make the decisions he wants to see. For all the conservative whining about "activist judges," the official Romney/Ryan position is basically to appoint activist judges to the Supreme Court so they will overturn what Romney himself has said has "been settled for some time in the courts."
So which is it? Is it that the courts and unelected judges should make these decisions? Or that "the people" should decide? Because "the people" are pretty clear on abortion as well and overwhelmingly believe it should remain legal. The people also overwhelmingly oppose the Republican Party's official goal of a constitutional amendment banning abortion. It's not even close.
So Ryan said things about his church and "science" and his daughter's nickname and supporting a policy he has openly opposed, and none of it made much sense. Because no matter how reasonable Ryan tries to appear now, he's an anti-woman extremist with a perfect anti-woman record. And there is nothing reasonable or "pro-life" about that.