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COMMENTARY: Paul Ryan swaps unborn babies for vice presidency

Less than two weeks after joining Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign as the GOP’s presumptive vice presidential candidate, U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan has publicly confirmed his erstwhile inner opportunist.

Ryan, who is “very proud of [his] pro-life record,” was faced with a choice between the dangling prize of the vice presidency and remaining true to the source of his pridefulness. Lo and behold, Ryan is surprisingly pro-choice, albeit in a 1-percent sort of way.

Ryan chose to abandon his 100-percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee (a rating based partially on his rejection of abortion ban exceptions for rape and incest), to jump on board the Romney presidential campaign, which, at least for the moment,* supports an abortion ban with exceptions for rape, incest and threat to a mother’s life.

These exceptions — any abortion-ban exception — directly contradict what is known in GOP speak as “personhood” or the “sanctity of human life,” the belief that life begins at conception and that the fertilized egg, the zygote, has all the rights of an upright, walking-around, reusable-coffee-cup-carrying humanoid. This belief is reflected in the GOP party platform’s abortion plank, which calls for a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Next thing you know, the GOP will follow up its efforts to suppress minority voting, with a campaign to wire women’s wombs so their zygotes can vote — a barefoot, pregnant and unborn voting plank.)

In Ryan’s quest for higher office, he has gone from “I support the rights of the unborn child. Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, and it is for that reason that I feel we need to protect that life as we would protect other children,” to, borrowing from his words, “the flagrant disrespect for the rights of the unborn.”

And what is Ryan’s excuse for his failure to be true to his radical pro-life position? He weaseled it out in a recent interview: “I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that, the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life. But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

As in: It’s not my fault; Romney did it.

Or, probably more accurately: Yippee! The vice presidency? Hot diggety dog! Shucks, yeah, I’m there, Mitt! How cool is this! I am so on board! And, yeah, I get it: Gotta have abortion exceptions if we want moderate Republican gals’ votes. Heck, I’m with you, Mitt! No prob! Give ’em the exceptions. You know I love unborn babies as much as the next anti-abortionist guy, but if this’ll get us elected, I’m all for it! Besides, we can dump the exceptions once we’re in. The gals’ll come around.

Whatever the internal ruminations of this supposed serious thinker, Paul Ryan has proven himself to be opportunistically “pro-lifey.”

So Republican voters beware: If Ryan will dump his long-time commitment to the nation’s unborn pre-voters just to get elected, imagine what other chicanery we could expect from him as vice president.


* The possibly tentative nature of Mitt Romney’s abortion ban exceptions is explained nicely by Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check.

Exclusive interview with Paul Ryan

Video courtesy of station WJHL, Virginia.

Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag and The Progressive Post. She formerly worked for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at kbgressitt@gmail.com.