Paul Ryan gave his first interview in Pennsylvania to CBS Pittsburgh, in which he alleged that women won’t fall for the President’s attempt to distract the voters with “side issues” regarding Ryan’s positions on rape, which align closely with Republican Representative Todd Akin’s views.
Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano interviewed Ryan. Watch here:
Transcript from CBS local (my commentary and fact-checking in italics):
Delano: “Should abortions to be available to women who are raped?”
Ryan: “Well, look, I’m proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”
(That would be a non-answer; translation: yes, if up to Ryan, per his legislative record, abortion would not be available to a woman who was raped unless she were “forcibly raped”, as opposed to voluntarily raped?)
Delano: “You sponsored legislation that has the language ‘forcible rape.’ What is forcible rape as opposed…”
(Ah, the follow up gold, thank you Delano)
Ryan: “Rape is rape. Rape is rape, period. End of story.”
(Well, it’s not the “end of the story” according to the legislation Paul Ryan co-sponsored with Todd Akin, who believes women can’t get pregnant from rape.)
Delano: “So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?”
Ryan: “Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape.”
(Then why did Ryan and Akin start splitting hairs by making a huge production out of changing the language in a pre-existing bill to read “forcible rape” as opposed to “rape”?)
As for the president’s claim that Romney-Ryan will restrict birth control, Ryan calls that ridiculous.
“Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody,” says Ryan.
(That’s not true. Paul Ryan proposed denying birth control, criminalizing in vitro fertilization and allowing medical facilities to deny emergency help to women needing an abortion to save their life.
Not only has the Republican legislation attempted to criminalize some forms of birth control, but it has also, as Mitt Romney pledged, cut off funding to places like Planned Parenthood that serve as family planning for poor and middle income women, as well as cut off Title X family planning that help poor and working poor afford contraception.
Paul Ryan sponsored a Personbhood bill that would grant full personhood rights at the moment of fertilization and does ban certain contraceptives, in vitro fertilization, and again criminalizes saving the life of the mother if she requires an abortion.
Ryan also voted to deny women in the military the right to use their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals (because rape isn’t a problem on military bases? Where has he been?). Yes, she fights for our freedoms, but hers must be denied.)
Ryan says women won’t fall for these side issues.
“And I don’t think they’re going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them.”
The reason Ryan split hairs over the language in the bill he and Todd Akin co-sponsored to change rape to “forcible rape” is because already, Medicaid does not always reimburse or approve abortions for rape victims or even “medically necessary” abortions. “Some evidence suggests that providers do not receive Medicaid reimbursement for abortions that should qualify for funding.”
Ryan and Akin were trying to add yet another hurdle to a woman seeking an abortion by adding “forcible” to the bill. Forcible isn’t a legal definition. No one knows what they meant by it, and they’re not telling us. That, of course, is the beauty of it, because it’s hard to prove you have met the requirements of something that is not defined.
Paul Ryan thinks it’s a side issue that he voted for the “Let Women Die” bill, that gives health professionals the right to deny women an emergency abortion if her life is in danger. If this bill had been passed when my close friend was rushed to the hospital with a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, she would be dead now. Ectopic pregnancies as she had are not viable pregnancies, so this bill would not have been saving the life of a fetus. The only thing it would have done is let my friend die for no reason, in excruciating pain.
Medicine Net explains that before the 19th century (are Republicans blushing yet?), the major health risk of an ectopic pregnancy was rupture and thus the mortality rate exceeded 50%. But now that we have surgical intervention (called an abortion by Ryan et al), the mortality rate dropped to 5%. Ectopic pregnancies are the leading cause of pregnancy related death in the first trimester. Under Paul Ryan’s ideas, this mortality rate would explode back up to 50%.
Statistics suggest with current advances in early detection, the mortality rate has improved to less than five in 10,000. The survival rate from ectopic pregnancies is improving even though the incidence of ectopic pregnancies is also increasing.
As each hour of this surreal Republican ticket ticks by, women are recoiling in shock and horror. We knew Republicans were not the ticket for women’s rights, but to think that Mitt Romney picked as his running mate a man who advocated for my friend to die because of his religious beliefs is stunning.
My friend went on to have three healthy children. If Paul Ryan had had his way, she would have died at the hospital to which she was rushed via ambulance, writhing in terror and pain. She would have died when the ectopic pregnancy exploded inside of her.
This is the world Romney Ryan have in mind for the majority of the population, and Paul Ryan calls our lives a “side issue.”
This isn’t hyperbole. Under Ryan’s ideology, my friend would be dead even though modern medicine could have saved her. Ryan calls this a side issue, and suggests that President Obama is manipulating women to care about their own lives.
How patronizing can Mr. Ryan be? Ryan thinks that we needed President Obama to tell us that we should be upset when Ryan votes to let us die. Literally. It’s always disturbing when someone as emotionally and intellectually limited as Paul Ryan presumes his superiority over others, because of course, there is no reasoning with someone who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. In Ryan’s world, women are dumb little fools following some man’s lead. In his world view, the question is who are we going to let tell us what matters– him or the President.
Answer? Neither, good sir. We’ve been doing this thinkin’ and workin’ and livin’ stuff on our own for a good while. We really don’t need a man to tell us that it would be bad if you were in charge and thus, my girlfriend had been left to die in that hospital. In fact, sir, with all of your clearly limited medical knowledge, I’d like to add that it wasn’t her husband who called the ambulance and stood by her bed as she recovered, but me. Somehow, through the grace of God, I was able to make the determination that her life was at risk, even though now, according to you, I can’t determine what issues matter to me when I go to vote. It’s a quandary, eh?
We are left wondering if Paul Ryan is a sociopath or if he is just so ignorant that he has no idea and no curiosity to learn about the impact of his “ideas” for women. Side issues, like our lives? Okay then.
You can’t claim to be pro-life as you advocate for the painful death of women, whether that death comes from a complication from pregnancy or a desperate and unsafe attempt to end a pregnancy that results from rape or incest or intimate partner violence coupled with rape. This is pure evil. There are no other words for it. The lives of women are not up for debate.
Paul Ryan is trying to run from his record, but women won’t be fooled.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.