Paul Ryan Takes Surprising Positions Against Women's Health & Reproductive Rights

Running Mates Paul Ryan and Mitt RomneyFamily caregivers — the vast majority of whom are women — may be surprised at the positions Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s choice for his running mate, has consistently taken on women’s health and reproductive rights issues.

Recent news reports have highlighted many of those positions taken by Congressman Ryan, which are of interest to women.

Paul Ryan’s Surprising Positions on Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights

As reported by ThinkProgress Health, the Huffington Post, and other news outlets, as well as NARAL (a nonprofit organization), Congressman Ryan has taken positions and sponsored and voted for legislation including the following:

  • Sponsored “Personhood” Bills to Outlaw ALL Abortions, Ban Common Forms of Contraception, and Prohibit In-Vitro Fertilization. Congressman Ryan co-sponsored several “personhood” bills that would give legal rights to a fetus starting at conception. The latest Ryan “personhood” bill, which Ryan and its other co-sponsors (all Republicans in the House of Representatives) called the “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” like his previous measures, declared that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” This would outlaw all abortion, some forms of contraception (including IUD’s and the pill), and in-vitro fertilization. This bill was introduced in the 2009-2010 Congress, failed to pass, and Congressman Ryan re-introduced the bill as late as January, 2011.

    Such “Personhood bills” have been considered so radical that when placed on the ballot for a referendum vote of citizens, have failed to pass across the country — in states including Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia, Florida, Colorado and even in ultra-Conservative Mississippi.

  • Expresses Consistent Opposition to ALL Abortions — Even in Cases of Rape or Incest or Where the Mother’s Life is at Risk. Congressman Ryan has said repeatedly that he is against ALL abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, or where the Mother’s life is at risk. In July, 2010, he told the Weekly Standard, a Conservative publication, “I’m as pro-life as a person gets. You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.”
  • Cast 59 Votes Against Women’s Choice in Congress. Congressman Ryan has consistently sponsored legislation and has voted to ban all abortions. According to NARAL, “During his time in the House, Rep. Ryan has cast 59 votes on abortion and other reproductive rights issues. All of these votes were anti-choice.
  • Supported Allowing Emergency Rooms to Deny Emergency Abortion Where the Woman is Likely to Die Without It. Congressman Ryan supported a highly controversial bill that many women called the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide emergency abortion care to a woman, even if her life is at severe risk.
  • Wants to Overturn Roe v. Wade. Congressman Ryan strongly favors overturning Roe v. Wade. In his own words, he has compared the decision (which guaranteed a woman’s right to choose and have control over her own reproductive health) to the Dred Scott Decision (the 1857 Supreme Court decision that allowed slavery to continue at that time).
  • Sponsored Legislation For Forced Ultrasounds. Congressman Ryan co-sponsored the so-called “Ultrasound Informed Consent Act” (H.R.3805, 112th Cong. § 2 – in 2012) requiring a woman to undergo a forced ultrasound even if not medically necessary before receiving abortion services, and even if against the woman’s will.
  • Voted Repeatedly to Deny Military Women Access to Abortion, Even if They Pay for It Themselves. Congressman Ryan repeatedly voted to deny women in the military – who defend our freedom overseas – the right to use their own, private funds for abortion care at military hospitals. (See e.g. the many amendments to ban availability of abortions to military women that Congressman Ryan voted for from 1999 through 2007, as listed in Note 9 to NARAL’s Report.)
  • Sponsored Legislation and Voted to Defund Planned Parenthood. Congressman Ryan sponsored legislation and voted consistently to defund Planned Parenthood.

    Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that provides low-cost preventive health care to millions of American women — and is the only health care provider that many women can afford or access.Representative Ryan and other Republicans have consistently misrepresented what percentage of the care provided by Planned Parenthood includes abortions. They have falsely claimed that over 90% of the care provided by Planned Parenthood consists of abortions — an assertion called blatantly FALSE by PolitiFact. In fact, only 3% of the health care services provided by Planned Parenthood involve abortions, and over 97% of services include preventive health care for women — including such services as breast cancer screenings, procedures to prevent cervical cancer, ovarian cancer treatment, Pap Smears and HPV Tests, pelvic exams, female infertility treatment, and treatments for infections.

These are just a few of Congressman Ryan’s consistent positions against women’s health and reproductive choice. For a more detailed list, see NARAL’s report on Congressman Paul Ryan.

Ryan-Romney Proposals to End Medicare, Medicaid and Programs for the Poor, Elderly, and Vulnerable, While Giving Massive Tax Cuts to the Wealthy

In addition to consistently taking the above positions against women’s health and reproductive rights, Congressman Ryan and his running mate Mitt Romney, are proposing the Ryan-Romney Budget, which, as we have reported, would:

  • End Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher system,
  • Cut some $810 Billion from Medicaid and turn it over to the states, leaving the continuation of Medicaid in grave doubt in many states,
  • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature Health Care Law, and eliminate all the rights that you currently have under that law. This would mean that Ryan and Romney would:
    • Eliminate your access to free preventive health care, which you have under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
    • End the better benefits for seniors on Medicare (including preventive care and closing the “donut hole” in prescription drug coverage) which the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides,
    • Allow health insurance companies to continue denying health care coverage based on “pre-existing conditions” — a practice which the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will eliminate,
    • Allow insurance companies again to limit your health insurance coverage by imposing lifetime and annual caps on the amount of your coverage — a practice which is ended by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act,
    • Take away the premium rebates that you are entitled to receive (and may already have received) from your insurance company under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if your insurance company fails to spend at least 80% of your premium dollars on actual care, as opposed to administrative costs, executive salaries and profits for the insurance company,
    • Take away your right to keep your children up to age 26 on your policy, which you now have under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and
    • Take away many, many other benefits you are now guaranteed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Cut approximately $5 Trillion from safety net programs for the poor, elderly, disabled and more vulnerable,
  • Give these dollars away in a massive additional tax cut that would benefit mostly the most wealthy Americans, while increasing taxes on the middle class, and
  • Fail to make any progress toward balancing the federal budget, and potentially massively expand the federal deficit, over the next ten years, and beyond.

For more detail on these impacts of the Ryan-Romney Budget, see our report on: Ryan-Romney Budget Proposals Would End Medicare as We Know It & Cut or Eliminate Programs for Poor, Elderly & Vulnerable.

Some have called the Ryan-Romney Plan “Robbinhood in Reverse – on steroids” — meaning taking from the poor and giving to the rich in a massive way.

News Coverage of Paul Ryan’s Positions on Women’s Health & Reproductive Rights

Following is a video of recent coverage by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Paul Ryan’s positions on women’s health and reproductive rights (please wait through the paid commercial advertisement at the beginning of the video):

Following is a short documentary video produced by Chase Whiteside, that explains the many recent state and national efforts by Republicans–including Mitt Romney–to limit access to birth control and other women’s health services.

Featured in the documentary are interviews include Rep. Lois Capps (CA-23), who as a former nurse has long been a leader on women’s health issues; Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List; and Dr. Kimberly Shepherd, an OB/GYN who provides medical authority on issues of women’s reproductive health »

More Information

See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:

Ryan-Romney Budget Proposals Would End Medicare as We Know It & Cut or Eliminate Programs for Poor, Elderly & Vulnerable

In Debate 3 GOP Presidential Candidates Say They Would End Medicare / Medicaid or Shift It to States or Vouchers

President Obama Lays Out Contents of Health Care Law

No Increase in Medicare Prescription Drug Premium for 2013 – Third Straight Year of No Increase – HHS Announces (under Affordable Care Act)

8 New Free Preventive Health Services for Women Take Effect August 1, 2012 under Health Care Law

Over 16 Million Seniors on Medicare received Free Preventive Care under Affordable Care Act in 2012, HHS Announces

Consumers to Receive $1.1 Billion of Premium Rebates from Health Insurers under Affordable Care Act, HHS Announces

HHS Notes Successes of Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on its 2-Year Anniversary

86 Million Americans Benefited from Free Preventive Healthcare Coverage in 2011 Due to Affordable Care Act, HHS Reports

Read more about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care reform on the HelpingYouCare™ resource page on News on Health Care Reform.


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