Robotic Romney’s VP pick, Paul Ryan, has been in the news this week for both amusing (strange!) and disturbing (utterly unsurprising) reasons. Many people were astonished and bemused by Ryan’s iPod selections, which include Rage Against the Machine. It’s one of my husband’s favorite bands of the last 20 years, and he and Paul Ryan could not be more diametrically opposed on every possible issue. Tom Morello wrote a beyond fantastic retort, when he said Ryan “is the embodiment of the machine our music rages against.”
Paul Ryan’s views on “personhood” have also been widely discussed, particularly his recent co-sponsorship of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill that defines personhood as legally beginning at fertilization. In other words, a 2-cell embryo (technically not an actual embryo but a zygote) has the same rights as you and I. Several news outlets have interpreted Ryan’s stance on personhood to inherently include, by logical extension, one opposing IVF. Mother Jones’ perspective is “Ryan Sponsored Abortion Bill That Would Make Romney’s Kids Criminals – The VP candidate pushed an anti-abortion bill that would outlaw IVF – which Mitt Romney’s children used.” And, even Canada’s Nation Post questioned: “Would Paul Ryan’s anti-abortion, anti-IVF bill criminalize Mitt Romney’s son?”
It’s a fair assessment, given that the proposed law would make IVF exponentially more complex and traumatic than it already is. As many have pointed out, the law would call into question the entire premise of a typical IVF cycle: stimulating the ovaries in an attempt to procure many more eggs than required, in the hope that some will fertilize and become viable enough to transfer into the uterus. If every 2-cell zygote is a person, then this has significant implications for what you can and cannot do with them, such as discarding, donating, or freezing.
Not so fast, pronounce the blowhards over at Family Scholars. They have their own unique interpretation: that Paul Ryan, in his efforts to outlaw abortion entirely, has spawned some unfortunate and unintended legal ramifications for the one in eight couples that face infertility.
It’s irresponsible to speculate that this is an intentional attempt on the part of Paul Ryan and other congressional Republicans to make the lives of couples who are unable to conceive without assistance for whatever reason even more difficult. … Perhaps, this is merely legal “fallout” from a desperate attempt to recriminalize abortion and contraception.”
When I get really fed up with our almost four-year-old daughter – who can be as inflexible as a 2 by 8 wood plank – I have a slightly ugly penchant for saying “are you kidding me right now?” But I don’t feel even mildly apologetic or inappropriate when I want to say to Paul Ryan and his apologists at Family Scholars and elsewhere, “are you fxxking kidding me right now?”
The prospective VP who thinks abortion should be outlawed, even in instances of rape or incest, doesn’t think that any form of assisted reproductive technology should be outlawed? And what, do you suppose, are his views on donor conception? I don’t think he needs to spell it out. It’s an extremely reasonable assumption that he’s in lockstep with Family Scholars, Jennifer Lahl and her bogus Center for Bioethics and Culture, and all the other judgementalists. Ryan claims to like Rage Against the Machine’s sound, but not the lyrics. It’s akin to liking the existence of an embryo, but not how conceived, if by IVF. Liking the existence of it, but nothing of the substance, the history, or the human dilemmas.
Are you kidding me? This is who could be President? He scares me more than Sarah Palin. I can’t believe it’s happening again, but it feels like it may be time to start resurrecting the back up plan to move back to the UK. At least there, the most extreme institutionalized views are pretty much to the left of Obama.