Just How Anti-Choice is Paul Ryan?

Answer: Pretty damn anti-choice! Mitt Romney introduced his fresh-faced young VP hopeful last Saturday morning, while some of us still lay asleep in our beds, thinking the world wasn’t so bad after all.

Well,  that’s what I was doing, but then I woke up. I checked the news on my phone, got slapped in the face with this bit of cheeriness, went back to sleep, and promptly had nightmares about Romney and Ryan. In fact, they’ve been featured in at least one other unpleasant dream since then! Perhaps it’s time to stop reading the news before bed? The dreams I’m having are, I know, are based off of my very real fear that these two will take office in January, and they’ll start right at chipping away my reproductive rights.


Paul Ryan has gotten a lot of publicity for his budget plan, which would effectively kill Medicare. Like, a lot of publicity.It’s pretty much all anyone will talk about on news sites (liberal or not), television shows, and radio. This is a major issue, and it deserves major amounts of attention. I’m certainly not complaining about too much coverage here, but I’m wondering why we can’t get some for choice and reproductive issues. Comparatively, I’ve seen about a handful of articles talking specifically about Ryan’s anti-choice ways or giving the issue the attention it needs. While the Medicare/budget/social security issues will pull older progressives and a good number of fence-sitters out of the woodwork and into the voting booths, it won’t get everyone. My generation, for example, is still in that selfish (but not so selfish that they’re still in the libertarian teenager phase, thank goodness) phase of life where they think they’ll never get old. You know what they do think? That they might get pregnant, or that someone they care about might get pregnant. Really, nothing rains on the college partying and drinking parade like a screaming infant! And from looking at his policies and voting record, Paul Ryan thinks every woman needs a baby, no matter what!

First up, the personhood thing! Personhood amendments ( in this case the Sanctity of Life act, which Ryan sponsored) are those annoying little amendments that talk about how life supposedly begins at fertilization, and after that, the little fertilized egg is a full-blown person, with all the constitutional and legal rights of any human out of the womb. Personhood amendments effectively ban all abortions and allow for no exceptions for rape or incest. None at all. I’ll just let that sink in… Personhood amendments also end much-needed stem-cell research and ban many kinds of fertility treatments, because they’re so pro-life and all that. The Sanctity of Life Act and its clones also ban many types of birth control. You read that right. No birth control, no abortions. Because some forms of birth control prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, usually as a second line of defense to not releasing any eggs at all or preventing sperm from reaching the egg, these would be banned.

Ryan has also supported laws requiring transvaginal ultrasounds, which are invasive and usually unnecessary, in order for a woman to obtain an abortion. I guess if he can’t outlaw it entirely, he’s just going to help make it as difficult as possible. Jerk. And of course he hates the Affordable Care Act, in part because of the birth control mandate, and he supports employers who oppose that mandate. Oh, and he supports the rights of doctors and hospitals to refuse necessary care to a woman if that care involves abortion or procedures that may end in abortion. Are you shocked yet?

As for the women who defend our contry, well, he wants to get them too. He has voted more than once to deny women serving in the military the right to use their own money to obtain abortions at military hospitals. If a woman is serving in the United States, this is still horrible, but easier to get around, because she can just go to a different hospital. If that woman is serving in Afghanistan, she does not have that as a safe option. I personally have this little conspiracy theory that all of this is to get women out of the military, because ladies belong at home having babies and cleaning the kitchen.

This is not a small issue, and it doesn’t deserve to come as an “Oh yeah, and…” to the budget issue. The fact that mainstream media is hyper-focused on that and gives little attention to women’s issues says a lot about the state of our country. We just aren’t that important, apparently. There’s a rumor that the Obama campaign is going to pick up the pace with this angle, because they’re thinking the same thing I am (hire me, please?). They know that some women, particularly younger women, couldn’t give a damn about Medicare, but that we’ll defend our birth control to our last breath. And from that angle, they can swoop in on partners, friends, and parents by playing the “do you want this to happen to your ______ ?” card. In fact, it’s exactly the card I’m going to play on my anti-choice mother this weekend, since I know it’s going to come up.

I know I’ve missed or skipped some things here, simply because there are too many to pack into a readable article and I’m running out of spoons on this. So tell me, what Paul Ryan anti-choice antic really gets your hypothetical goat? Feel free to throw out some more of his anti-woman whoppers, and I’ll go get the wine and tissues!

By Elfity

Elfity, so named for her tendency to be a bit uppity and her elf-like appearance, is a graduate student and professional Scary Feminist of Rage. She has a propensity for social justice, cheese, and Doctor Who. Favorite activities include making strange noises, napping with puppies and/or kitties, and engaging in political and philosophical debates.

35 replies on “Just How Anti-Choice is Paul Ryan?”

All of these debates boil down to one thing for me. If  we start telling people what they can or can’t  do to their own bodies we become that much closer to the same kinds of policies Hitler used. Human rights don’t disappear overnight, it is a gradual process. I think any woman standing by and letting MEN tell her what to do is headed down a slippery slope of submission.  As for the Personhood Ammendment, it is purely riduculous to even try and pass this legislation. if you are going to give rights to a fetus, then you would have to treat miscarriage like manslaughter. Why aren’t more people standing up and shouting about thus ridiculous legislation?

Thank you for this article Elfity, let’s start a revolution!

What the fuck? There’s creating space for discussion and change, and then there’s standing by as people suffer and die. He comes across as being less anti-choice, so much as anti-women-as-citizens. I need to go hug the Union Jack.

Great post, Elfity.

At least you avoided calling me a name!

I was responding to Elfity’s post and referencing Paul Ryan, not your previous comment, hence I avoided any reference to you.

As for the Queen, what can I say? We’re rather fond of women here – unlike, it seems, other parts of the world – whether or not they’re in positions of great power. Interestingly, we’re the 3rd best country in which to be a woman. The US is 6th. G20 Countries: The Worst And Best For Women.

I think she is a brave, proud and noble woman . . . much like Queen Elizabeth.  I think she does her country proud!   I will be in London in a couple weeks and I can’t wait to visit the many historical sites and museums. I will spend my US dollars proudly all over town (probably disproportionately scattered throughout the many great pubs!)

I think that both extreme sides of ProLife and ProChoice on this very emotional contentious issue are wrong.   For a long time, we were in a period of stalemate (ie no changes in the current status quo) and  these issues were not in the political forefront of most Americans.  Reproductive rights didn’t really come up as an election campaign issue all thru the Clinton and Bush years.  The problem is that people on the prolife side of the debate feel that Obama Care has violated that statues quo and broadened abortion and birth control to a state of public funding.   So now they are back on the march to make move the goal line back and redebate what seemed to be settled policy.  Neither side is willing to come to reasonable compromises.  Because both sides hold deep beliefs on the issue it becomes very heated and emotional and then the screaming starts.  As soon as the debate becomes a shouting match then there can be no consensus and no understanding and meetiing of the minds.   That is why I think both sides are wrong.

People who think the Affordable Care Act provides government sponsored abortion are wrong. The Affordable Health Care Act doesn’t mean government health care at all. It means that we all have to take personal responsibility for our health care, but also that we’ll all be able to GET health insurance at a rate that doesn’t cripple us financially.

For example, I own my own business and I work as an independent contractor. Before the Affordable Health Care Act (and currently, until the act takes effect in 2014) the only way for people like me to get insurance is through plans that cost thousands of dollars per month, or through cheaper temp plans that don’t actually cover anything. Don’t you think that’s discouraged entrepreneurs from trying to start new businesses? The kind of small business we need to get the economy going?

When I had my hysterectomy a few years ago, I was on a short-term plan I paid $560/month for. I was approved for the surgery, but then they denied paying anything for it after the fact. The reason? I told my doctor I always had heavy periods (the truth) but that made the prolapsed fibroid which was causing me to slowly bleed to death a pre-existing condition. I got a pinched nerve in my neck, and that wasn’t covered because I’ve previously been diagnosed with depression. (There’s no way to make that make sense.) Without the Affordable Health Care Act, more and more people will be in a position where the insurance they paid GOOD MONEY to get doesn’t actually do them any good.

Keeping the workforce healthy, allowing them access to preventative care and yes, giving women the right to decide if they want to be pregnant or not, is actually really, really, really good for all of us, no matter what our politics are.

You bring up many good points about the ACA and those are all awful issues that certainly needed to be addressed.   It remains to be seen if the ACA will fix these problems and if it does, what other problems will be created that will also need to be addressed.

What kind of issues are you anticipating? I’m pretty sure it includes all the concessions demanded by Congress, because it’s already been stripped of a lot of the benefits many of us were hoping for.

At least the ACA attempts to give us alternatives to the same old, same old, where insurance companies report billions of dollars in profit because they refused to honor the contracts they made with their customers.  Even in the current stripped-down version, the ACA is better than what we’ve been doing. I’m sure I’m not the only small business owner who knocks wood and throws salt over my shoulder in the hopes I don’t get sick or injured (superstition: nearly as reliable as insurance companies.)

It’s not perfect legislation, but I think both sides realize, at least on some level, that we can’t all have everything we want, if we want to continue to live under the same flag. And it can’t be any worse than how things are now.

Well I think that making birth control free is one of the issues that is a change to status quo that many object to.   Forcing religious institutions to provide birth control when they clearly object to it is over the line.  Birth control is so readily available from so many different sources, it seems to me unnecessary to pick that fight.  For low income woman I believe there is free birth control pills available at clinics and I know that there are definitely very low cost options ($5 at Walmart? . . .  less expensive than condoms).  I think they should be as readily covered by insurance policies (totally asinine that little blue pills for men are covered and BCPs aren’t.)   Making BCP a “free” commodity i think could have some  unforeseen negative consequences.   One example is that, the drug companies in the US have led the world in R&D innovations in birth control.  There are so many more options available and much higher quality choices available now than for me when I was a younger woman which was a hugh leap better than the choices that my mother had.   If you make them “free” then to some extent you commoditizing them down to a level that there is absolutely no incentive for drug companies to continue to innovate and make them better and more effective and more cost efficient.  So I do see that as a something that is ultimately  a loss to all woman not just in US but around the world since we are the leading innovator.  I do believe that morning after pills should be readily available to all women over the age of consent with no restrictions.

Birth control isn’t being made totally free under the ACA. It’s free to consumers. Insurance companies will still be paying the drug companies for them, so it’s completely ludicrous to say that there will be no motivation to keep working on them. There’ll be more motivation, because more people will be able to use them.

Except it’s not free. Women are paying insurance premiums, and it’s only women who already have insurance plans in place who are able to get BC without a co-pay. There’s not some drive-through baby prevention spot where they pass out BCPs, IUDs and diaphragms like Halloween candy.

There are low cost clinics, but many of those have been forced to close because of ridiculous regulations put in place by state governments. If Ryan has his way, Planned Parenthood – which is the biggest low-cost provider of women’s health care in the country – would completely lose funding, which could lead to more clinics closing.

There are also exceptions from having to provide insurance that then provides no co-pay BC to employees, even though I don’t know how it’s possible in America to force employees to practice the same religious beliefs as their employers. Especially since a year’s supply of any birth control is going to cost buckets less money than ten months of pre-natal care, childbirth and baby/new mom care.

To both Hillary and Serena . . .

You are both making very valid and similar points.  I just wish they had left the issue more status quo so as not to ignite this issue that is unresolvable by the two entrenched sides (of which I belong to neither).  And yes BCP is way less expensive then babies . . . I have sent one off to college last week and sending the other off in two weeks to I am keenly aware of that point  :-)      Specifically addressing the R&D point  . . . they may or may not have more customers  but with the end customer removed from the equation,  maybe the costs could just as well increase because the insurance companies are forced to pay for it so what is the incentive to cost contain or compete on price or to spend millions in research to innovate.  You asked me what my reservations are and I think I gave you some pretty cogent points to prove that I am not some right wing nut job. I am just not as convinced as you are that ACA is a perfect solution to the problems.  It is impossible that it will not create new ones that will need to be addressed.  And I am reserving judgement while I understand how it rolls out and effects our entire healthcare industry.

I just hope we can find a way to address the problems with our healthcare system without tearing each other apart. The Affordable Care Act is at least trying to make sure that we all have a better opportunity to get the care we need. If we can all be grown-ups, we can find solutions to problems that might spring up. I believe most Americans are pretty reasonable, it’s the people trying to get themselves elected that ruin it for everybody.

I think we can both agree that it’s a good thing your college-aged kids can stay on your plan so they can focus on getting the education that will make them self-sufficient, so they can take care of you for a change. ; )

I don’t think you’re a nutjob, I enjoy our conversations, even when we don’t agree with each other.

I appreciate that Serena because I have to tell you that so many woman on this site just want to rip your head of and belittle you when you don’t fall in complete lock step with certain ideologies.  Women can be our best allies in the world and yet many times we choose to be our own worst enemies.  I think our public discourse has become so vulgar and angry that it is ultimately so dehumanizing to everyone.  I think it comes down to respect.   Thank god (a figure of speech cause I don’t attend church) we live somewhere where we have the right to disagree and I think we should cherish that.  I find that I often learn something from you because you bring up points that I either hadn’t considered, hadn’t given proper weight to, or because they challenge me to reassess my own beliefs.

PS . . .I am not sure yet how I feel about keeping “kids” on parent’s policy til age 26. . . as they are not actually “kids” anymore.   I am still thinking about that  one!  That may not be the best solution for my family but I definitely know a few families that would benefit from that.

Regardless of views on reproductive rights, Atwood’s books are phenomenal.  My favorite of hers is Alias Grace, which is based on actual murders that occurred in Hamilton, Ontario.  It also gets into the early beginnings of psychology.  If you don’t have a lot of time and want something of substance, go with that.

Me + dystopias =  Not happening

But I do love books on historical events  . . . just finished In the Garden of the Beasts . . . just started The Devil in the White City (both by Eric Larsen-another great writer) which also chronicles a murderer so I may check that one out when I am done.  Thank you for the suggestion.

Lest we forget, absolutely no abortions under any conditions means no abortions for health reasons either. Basically, this guy thinks that if you fail as a baby incubator, you deserve to die.

To have someone with such views in the running is incredibly depressing even if I do live nowhere near the US.

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