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How Ryan’s votes in Congress reveal likely Romney-Ryan policy direction

by Barry Eitel Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM

The Republican Party Platform committee calls for a constitutional ban on abortion in the 2012 GOP Platform. The constitutional ban would make no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, according to the

How Ryan’s votes i...
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The Republican Party Platform committee calls for a constitutional ban on abortion in the 2012 GOP Platform. The constitutional ban would make no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, according to the

Social policy affecting women’s health issues including access to birth control and affordable health care, legal abortion and the ability to plan families and careers will, arguably, have the greatest, immediate effect on the everyday life of American families after the 2012 election.

Tax policy, the budget, the debt and myriad other issues will affect America’s well-being, but changes in the law which would limit access to reliable birth control, family planning and health care will be felt by women and their families on a daily basis. Such policy has the potential to radically change the lives of millions of American women.

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has supplied little detail about policy decisions he would support if elected president. The swirling rhetoric and political spin surrounding his policy direction provide conflicting information on Romney’s policy positions. Romney’s views on health care, abortion, birth control and family planning are often contradictory. He has made statements both opposing and supporting abortion, federal health care funding, the morning after pill and birth control, among others.

Legislation and policy Romney once supported he now adamantly opposes. Romney once supported a woman’s right to choose. He now opposes that right. Massachusetts’ “Romney Care” was a template for the Affordable Health Care Act which Romney vows to eliminate should he become president. It is difficult to determine what Romney believes today or to predict what policy he would support if elected president. However, Romney’s choice of running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, provides a clue into Romney’s true thinking on social policy.

Sponsorship of legislation and voting records provide concrete evidence of support, or non-support, for social issues. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has co-sponsored and voted on bills which clearly delineate his views on abortion, birth control, family planning, paycheck fairness and violence against women. Romney’s choice of Ryan as running mate, and Romney’s support of his running mate’s record, define as does nothing else, the likely direction of Romney’s social policy agenda should he be elected.

Ryan has served in the House for 14 years. On matters of women’s health care, reproductive rights, birth control and abortion, his record is clear as evidenced by the bills which he has sponsored, co-sponsored and for which he voted.

According to Ryan’s web site, he has co-sponsored bills on women’s health care, contraception and abortion including: HR 2, “Repeal Health Care Act”; HR 3, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”; HR 212, Sanctity of Life Act”; HR 217, “Title X Abortion Providers Prohibition Act”; HR 358, “Protect Life Act”; HR 361, ”Abortion Non-discrimination Act of 2011”; “HR 2299, “Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.” These bills contain language which could change the lives of American women and their families each day by altering women’s access to abortion and reliable birth control.

Language from act sponsored by Ryan

The Sanctity of Life Act, which Ryan co-sponsored states: “..the life of each human being begins with fertilization…. at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” The personhood law, as it is also known, would likely make hormonal (the pill) and barrier (such as the IUD) methods of birth control illegal should it become law as Ryan and his co-sponsors intend. This legislation is a significant change in policy and would affect millions of women who currently use these contraception measures. Abortion would be outlawed under this legislation.

According to Planned Parenthood, Romney often has expressed his support for “personhood” laws, but Paul Ryan’s support is enshrined in the black and white text of his co-sponsorship and vote for HR 212. It is written into the congressional record. It is impossible to misinterpret the meaning or intent of the law, nor is it possible to misunderstand Ryan’s vote. Ryan supports this law.

Ryan’s views are consistent with the Republican Party’s position on personhood. The Republican Platform states: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

An amendment to the constitution as is called for by the GOP Platform, or a law which would apply 14th Amendment rights to unborn children, is a game-changer for millions of American women. This is not ideological posturing or rhetorical dinner table chit-chat. This is policy which could severely change the lives of American women by denying access to reliable birth control and abortion. The law would require women to carry unplanned pregnancies to term.

The cost of raising a child has skyrocketed to an estimated 4,900. This does not include the price of college. An unexpected pregnancy is often an economic burden on families. While proposing law to outlaw two of the most reliable methods of birth control and outlaw abortion, Ryan also supports policy which would decrease social support systems. The Ryan Budget, endorsed by Mitt Romney, would decrease spending on transportation by 25%, decrease social services by 33% and cut assistance to the poor by 16%. Ryan’s proposals for privatization of Medicare would increase the cost of health care for seniors. At the current level of coverage, getting privatized Medicare in 2009 would have cost the average person an added per month, as reported by Daily Finance. This is a significant increase for many seniors. These are specific policy changes which will affect each and every American. Ryan’s support is written in black and white. His intent is clear.

The New York Daily News points to Ryan’s voting record as being “bad for women” citing his vote against The Lilly Ledbetter Act, which has given women more recourse against discrimination in the workplace. A perusal of Ryan’s voting record, according to Business Week, reveals Ryan has supported 38 anti-abortion laws, including some which make no allowance for rape. Add to this Ryan’s position on The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have outlawed paycheck discrimination based on sex, and The Violence Against Women Act. Ryan’s position on issues which would advance the well-being of women is clear. The GOP hardline position against legislation which would benefit women and Ryan’s voting record leaves some women convinced the GOP is indeed waging a war against women and that Ryan is one of the generals.

Ryan advocates policy which would outlaw the most dependable methods of contraception, outlaw abortion, restrict access to family planning, cut social services, transportation and assistance to the poor. He supports policy which will raise the cost of Medicare. He supports tax cuts to the wealthy while increasing taxes on the middle class. His policy positions are recorded in Congressional record. They are clear and concise. They provide the best evidence of what policy a Romney-Ryan ticket will endorse should they win the presidential election in 2012.

Voters have a choice. Those of us who believe policy changes advocated by the Romney/Ryan ticket will be positive ones for the country can vote for the ticket with confidence after reviewing congressional records. Those who do not believe the Romney/Ryan policy changes would improve life for the American family may vote against the Romney/Ryan ticket with the same confidence. We need not rely on verbal records and partisan spin. We can take them at their written word.

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