Paul Ryan on Marriage and Abortion

NBC News is reporting that Rep. Paul Ryan will be announced as Mitt Romney’s VP pick tomorrow. I suppose this could be a head-fake, but NBC says that it has confirmed it. For now, I’m going with NBC’s report.

Most people who know Paul Ryan for his wonkish mastery of economic policy. He put forth a serious and controversial plan to balance the federal budget and rein-in entitlement spending. It eventually passed in the house but died in the Senate. Although the plan was controversial, many conservatives loved it and admired him for his boldness. He looks like a boy, but he’s the man with the plan when it comes to economic policy among Republicans. Since this election is supposed to be about the economy, it’s not difficult to see why Romney selected him.

But where does Ryan stand on the two social issues that so many conservative Christians care so much about—marriage and abortion? If you’ve only known about Ryan’s career as the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, you may not know what his positions are on these two watershed issues. Here’s a quick sketch:

1. Marriage – In 2006, Ryan supported the effort to amend Wisconsin’s constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This is significant because the amendment excluded civil unions as well. In other words, Ryan is on the record opposing both gay marriage and any other arrangement that would confer marriage-like benefits to gay couples.

2. Abortion – The National Right to Life Committee gives Ryan a 100% voting record on life issues. In 2010, he wrote that “The Cause of Life Can’t Be Severed from the Cause of Freedom.” Here’s an important excerpt:

I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect. I do know that we cannot go on forever feigning agnosticism about who is human. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” The freedom to choose is pointless for someone who does not have the freedom to live. So the right of “choice” of one human being cannot trump the right to “life” of another. How long can we sustain our commitment to freedom if we continue to deny the very foundation of freedom—life—for the most vulnerable human beings?

How does this translate into actual votes that he has cast as a U. S. Congressman? According to one report, he…

Has a 100 percent voting record with the National Right to Life Committee. Voted against allowing embryonic stem cell research. Voted against the transportation of minors across state lines for abortions. Voted against partial birth abortions except to save a mother’s life.

In short, Ryan looks like a solid, pro-life pick for VP.


  • Paula Bolyard

    I hope this isn’t a head fake and that we don’t wake up to see pictures of Romney holding hands with Rob Portman on the deck of a ship.

    Assuming he is the Veep choice, I am pleasantly surprised at what a good strategic decision this could end up being. First, it shores up the conservative base on these important social issues.

    Second, it forces us to have a national debate on the debt, the budget, and entitlement reform. Unlike Obama, Ryan has always been the adult in the room on these issues. He’s articulate and fearless without becoming nasty and unlikable.

    In addition, as a Catholic, he is in a unique position to defend (again, articulately) the case against the Obamacare mandate. He can answer the false claims about the War on Women. He can defend the rights of Catholic schools and businesses in a calm, reasonable manner and bring along millions of Catholic votes in the process. And can you imagine a debate with (Catholic) Joe Biden? I can’t wait.

    There’s a lot to like about this choice.

  • Dan Phillips

    Yessir, I think it would be good news. For my part, I’d be very happy with the pick.

    However, solely thinking strategery, I can’t help but think “boring white guy.” A bold pick that went out of the rut in those categories (say, a Rubio or a Jindal) could have been more of a game-changer. I hope this signals that they’ve got a real plan to deal with the “RAAAAAAAACIST” line of garbage.

  • Heather Reis

    I dont care what race, religion, whatever you are, its sad & pathetic that in 2012 people STILL worry more about what everyone else is doing rather than focus on their own well-being! Really? If your neighbor was gay, got married & adopted a kid who otherwise may not have had a chance to have a happy family would that actually affect or ruin YOUR life? If so, I suggest you take a long look in the mirror then get out a Bible-granted you even own one. Jesus loves everyone..remember? NOT JUST YOU.

    • steve bramble

      @heather r – still using that tired liberal argument? anything goes? don’t judge me? and trying to blame Christians for ‘not’ following the Bible at the same time? perhaps you remember the story of the woman at the well… Jesus loved her enough to tell her that her behaviour (lifestyle) of adultery was wrong. I suggest you also do some reading and learn about God’s holiness. we can’t live however we like and expect to get away with it.

      God calls homosexuality an ‘abomination’ – same for the murder of unborn children. If Jesus claimed to be ‘one’ with God, how do you think he felt about those actions? Yes, he loves everyone. But that doesn’t mean he condones their lifestyle choices…

    • Victoria Phipps

      Heather, I couldn’t have said it better myself. The sad thing about hiding behind Christianity” as a way to divide the nation is mostly coming from people who don’t behave like Christians. Walk a mile in a gay persons shoes before you use the word abomination. People are born Gay, it is not a choice and it’s ignorant people like “Steve b” that cause suicide in young gay children. Hatred and condemnation is despised by God.

  • Don Johnson

    I think this is a smart move by Romney as it puts the economy and debates about it front and center of this election. And if he wins it provides the 101st vote in the Senate, which many think of as mostly meaningless but actually means the VP has AT LEAST the power of a Senator and so might be the needed vote to actually bring some sense to our economic house.

  • JamesStanton

    “wonkish mastery of economic policy”

    Well, that’s a nice piece of media spin. It’s not true though, Denny.

    Paul Ryan is someone that voted for the TARP bailouts, voted for the $1 trillion 100% debt-funded Medicare Part D, voted for $ 2 trillion worth of tax cuts without spending cut offsets that primarily benefits the richest Americans, and voted to debt-fund a multiple $ trillion set of wars that have turned out to be more or less useless.

    So here in 2012 Paul Ryan wants to pay for previous largesse by cutting programs that benefit the poor and middle class. And on top of that he has proposed further tax cuts that again primarily benefit the wealthiest among us from out of those “savings”. That would be called wealth redistribution and I think we all know the truth on which Americans will benefit most from that policy.

    So we have what Paul Ryan has been most of his professional career, fiscally reckless, and what he is pretending to be now. What he’s been all along is an Ayn Rand disciple.

    All he’s really got going for him is that he’s ostensibly pro-life and pro-marriage. That will have to be enough.

    • Derek Taylor

      The best thing we can do for the lower class in America is get them to be a lot less reliant on the federal government. Relentless pandering and vote buying over the last 40 years has created a form of slavery in America. The middle class will be a lot better off when we can get gov’t spending under control. If we continue to spend $10 or $11 for every $7 we take in, the middle class will eventually pick up the tab for Obama’s spending binge. Obama may technically keep his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class, but what the media and DNC won’t tell you is that their spending binge will either force higher taxes on the middle class or greatly reduce the buying power of the money they have, or both.

      • JamesStanton

        Derek, you’re right on most of your points. Either way the middle class will pay the tab for both the Republican and Democratic spending binges. Either through tax hikes or spending cuts to programs that, like it or not, maintain their standard of living. To spend is to tax or to cut. I just wanted to make it clear that Ryan has been a fiscal hypocrite all of his political life and there’s no reason to whitewash his actual record. Notice that he wants to maintain and likely increase debt spending on “defense”.

        I do, however, disagree that the middle class will be better off. Average wages have been stagnant for decades and the cuts to these programs will put more pressure on tight budgets. We’re in for a reduced standard of living in the next couple of decades.

        • Derek Taylor

          I agree with you, James. Any way you slice it, the middle class is going to pick up the hefty charge for this frat party. The thing that is so frustrating is that the biggest part of the bill will come due long after most of our politicians have secured their golden parachute and left town. This whole deal smells like a Ponzi scheme.

  • Mike Lynch

    Unfortunately, the alternative to Obama is a still a Mormon. You’re not voting for the VP. Republicans spit in the face of one of it’s largest voting block–Christians–when they continually endorsed him. What’s worse is that Christians are accepting this. Believers need to stop settling for these men.

    • Don Johnson

      Last I looked there is no religious test for President. Many people vote against the worst alternative, this means they do not need to actually be FOR anyone.

      • Mike Lynch

        Every Christian voter should be testing the man (or woman) on principles. Let me ask you, and Denny and any other Christians, planning to vote for Romney. If the Republican candidate was more conservative than Obama, but was a member of the Church of Satan, would you vote for him?

        • Don Johnson

          What you are trying to argue is a reduction to (supposed) absurdity.

          I would still vote AGAINST the candiate among the top 2 that I believed was the WORST of the 2 for the job of president of the USA. I would of course take into consideration any of his professed principles and his record. I hope that among the 2 political parties at least one of them would not nominate a Hitler or a Stalin. But as Roosevelt I would certainly make a wartime alliance with Stalin against Hitler, as I can figure out that while Stalin MIGHT try to harm the USA in the future, Hitler is trying to harm the USA right now. As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows.

        • Johnny Mason

          @Mike – I would vote for neither in that case. There are lines I am not willing to cross. A Mormon I could vote for, especially considering the alternative, but a satanist would be a bridge too far.

          • Don Johnson

            Not voting is a choice, it is the decision to let others decide and not spend the time needed to vote. If you assess the candidates as equally good or equally bad, it can be a reasonable choice to decide that your time is more valuable than your vote.

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