Ryan, by his own admission, is “as pro-life as a person gets.” He believes that life begins at conception, and a fetus has the right and privileges of personhood and constitutional protection, and would only consider abortion if it were judged necessary to save the mother’s life. He has a perfect record of voting in favor of pro-life legislations in Congress.
“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.”
Jul 19, 2010: Paul Ryan Rules Out 2012 Presidential Run, Talks Up Mitch Daniels, The Weekly Standard
On May 7, 2003, Ryan co-sponsored the H.R. 1997 (Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 or Laci and Conner's Law), which sought to “protect unborn children from assault and murder.” The bill also noted that “the term ‘unborn child’ means a child in utero, and the term ‘child in utero’ or ‘child, who is in utero’ means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.’’
“Few issues evoke as much passion in America as the debate over abortion. For those that believe life does not begin at conception, the issue is that of a woman’s right to choose. For those that believe life does begin at conception, the issue is that of a human’s right to life. In Wisconsin and Washington, relatively minor attention has been given to major debates and decisions on the abortion question.
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...
… I remain committed to restoring the value of human life and fighting for the rights of the unborn... Most importantly, we must ensure that the most vulnerable among us – both unborn children and mothers struggling with unplanned pregnancies – are afforded the compassion and opportunities they need to choose life.”
February 4, 2009: No Retreat in Defense of Life by Paul Ryan, published in The Journal Times
Roe v. Wade
Ryan favors the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and maintains that the Supreme Court had erred in their decision, arguing that it “has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination.”
“Yet, identifying who “qualifies” as a human being has historically proved to be more difficult than the above examples suggest. Twice in the past the U.S. Supreme Court—charged with being the guardian of rights—has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination that it “disqualified” a whole category of human beings, with profoundly tragic results.
The first time was in the 1857 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford. The Court held, absurdly, that Africans and their American descendants, whether slave or free, could not be citizens with a right to go to court to enforce contracts or rights or for any other reason. Why? Because “among the whole human race,” the Court declared, “the enslaved African race were not intended to be included…[T]hey had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” In other words, persons of African origin did not “qualify” as human beings for purposes of protecting their natural rights. It was held that, since the white man did not recognize them as having such rights, they didn’t have them. The implication was that Africans were property—things that white persons could choose to buy and sell. In contrast, whites did “qualify,” so government protected their natural rights.
Every person in this country was wounded the day this dreadful opinion was handed down by this nation’s highest tribunal. It made a mockery of the American idea that human equality and rights were given by God and recognized by government, not constructed by governments or ethnic groups by consensus vote. The abhorrent decision directly led to terrible bloodshed and opened up a racial gap that has never been completely overcome. The second time the Court failed in a case regarding the definition of “human” was in Roe v. Wade in 1973, when the Supreme Court made virtually the identical mistake. At what point in time does a human being exist, the state of Texas asked. The Court refused to answer: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” In other words, the Court would not “qualify” unborn children as living persons whose human rights must be guaranteed.
Since the Court decided there was no “consensus” on when fetuses become human persons, it struck down abortion restrictions in all 50 states that thought they had reached a “consensus.” Only those already born “qualified” for protection. Moreover, the already born were empowered to deny, at will, the rights of persons still in the womb. The Court did not say that, given the lack of consensus, the matter ought to be left to the states. It did not choose to err on the side of caution, since human lives might be at stake. Nor did it choose not to rule on the matter. These options would seem to be rational courses in light of the Court’s stated agnosticism. Instead, the Court used the lack of consensus to justify prohibiting states from protecting the life of the unborn.
Like the Dred Scott decision, this opinion has wounded America and solved nothing. It has set good people on all sides against each other, fueled a culture war, split churches, soured politics, and greatly strained civil dialogue. A recent Gallup poll showed that 51 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life, 42 percent are pro-choice, and 7 percent not sure.”
September 20, 2010: The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom by Paul Ryan, published in Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It's Too Late
Parental notification and Consent
Rep. Ryan is strictly in favor of parental notification and consent. He voted in favor of an amendment to the Child Custody Protection Act S. 403 (Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act), which sought to:
• Amend the federal criminal code to prohibit transporting a minor child across a state line to obtain an abortion – unless the abortion is deemed necessary to save the life of the minor.
• Make it an affirmative defense to a prosecution or civil action under this Act that a defendant: (1) reasonably believed that before the minor obtained the abortion, the required parental consent or notification or judicial authorization took place; or (2) was presented with documentation showing that a court waived parental notification requirements or authorized the minor's abortion.
• Authorize any parent who suffers harm from a violation of this Act to seek relief in a civil action unless such parent committed an act of incest with the minor.
Define "abortion" as the termination of a pregnancy with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant female or her unborn child.
Define "parent" to include a guardian, legal custodian, or person standing in loco parentis.
• Imposes a fine and/or prison term of up to one year on a physician who performs or induces an abortion on an out-of-state minor in violation of parental notification requirements.
• Require such physician to give 24-hour actual or constructive notice to a parent of the minor seeking an abortion (exclusion applies).
Ryan is firmly opposed to federal funding for abortions. He voted in favor of the H. Con. Res. 36, which sought to cut off federal Medicare funds to Planned Parenthood for elective abortion-related procedures. Ryan also voted in favor of the H.R.1 (The Pence Amendment), which sought to prohibit any federal funds, from any program, from going to the Planned Parenthood or its 102 affiliates.
In addition, Ryan is also opposed to compelling pro-life health care providers to perform elective abortion-related procedures on their patients. Further, Ryan believes that foreign aid should never be used to finance abortion.
“Concerns have been raised with respect to an ongoing debate at a University of Wisconsin health center in Madison. Some UW Health officials are seeking to clear the way for second-trimester abortions to be performed at the Madison Surgery Center. Acknowledging the divisiveness of this issue, many on both sides agree that those morally opposed should not be forced to contribute to what they believe is the ending of a human life For federally-funded health care facilities, federal law protects the conscience rights of physicians and health care professionals.
Along with my colleague Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Menomonee Falls, I have written to the UW Hospitals and Clinics (UWHC) expressing my concerns with the impact on pro-life employees should the Madison Surgery Center begin performing second-trimester abortions. Pressure should never be placed on pro-life health care providers to perform what they believe to be morally wrong. The UWHC Authority Board is scheduled to meet this week on the proposed abortion clinic, and many pro-life Wisconsinites will be paying close attention.
In a similar vein, I believe that pro-life taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions. On January 23, 2009, three days after taking the oath of office and one day after the 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Obama cleared the way for your tax dollars to fund overseas abortions. In one of his first executive orders, Obama reversed a long-standing policy (the so-called “Mexico City policy") that prohibited U.S. tax dollars from funding abortions overseas.
I believe that U.S. foreign aid should be used to promote and protect life – not finance abortion. In addition to the flagrant disrespect for the rights of the unborn, this decision also offends the deeply held beliefs of millions of pro-life taxpayers. While ensuring that provisions that promote abortions are excluded, I will continue to support efforts to efficiently and effectively allocate resources to help confront the grave public health emergencies that grip many parts of our world.”
February 4, 2009: No Retreat in Defense of Life by Paul Ryan, published in The Journal Times
Embryonic stem cell research
Ryan is not opposed to embryonic stem cell research using stem cell lines which did not originate from human embryos, but he is not entirely in favor of expanding federal funding for stem cell research.
In 2005, Ryan voted against the H.R. 810, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which sought to amend the Public Health Service Act to compel the federal government to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo, provided such embryos:
(1) have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics;
(2) were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
(3) were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment and would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded (as determined in consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment);
(4) were donated by such individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.
Ryan voted in favor of H.R.534 Latest Title: Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003. The bill had sought to amends the federal criminal code to prohibit anyone from knowingly performing or attempting to perform human cloning or receiving an embryo produced by human cloning or any product derived from such embryo. Offenders could face penalties ranging from a $1,000,000 fine or imprisonment of not more than 10 years – or both.