Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Paul Ryan's "softening" on abortion

After compiling an admirable pro-life record as member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin, which included being opposed to abortion in cases of rape, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan today announced that because his running mate, Gov. Mitt Romney, was not opposed to abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother, mentioning that if they are elected Romney would be president and, therefore, "sets policy," that he was "comfortable with" Romney's exceptions "because it's a good step in the right direction." It is the last phrase I find troubling.

It is well-known that President Obama is an enthusiastic supporter of abortion. On 23 January 2012, Obama, speaking on the thirty-ninth anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, said about his support for abortion "rights" that abortion "ensure(s) that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams." Funny how the issue of making our sons sexually irresponsible louts never came up, but I digress. The sad fact is that anyone who favors putting any restrictions on abortion, including the horrific late-term form, which really amounts to infanticide, known as "partial-birth abortion," would be at least an incremental step in the right direction.

What I find particularly vexing in Ryan's "softening" of his position is that he bailed on his convictions at a crucial moment, namely during the Akin debacle. For those not "in the know," Rep. Todd Aiken, who is running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, in a televised interview with St. Louis' KTVI, commenting on his opposition to abortion in cases of rape, offered that "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down." He went on to say that a physician he knows imparted that bit of nonsense to him. Of course, the implication is that if a woman is raped and conceives as a result, she was not "legitimately" raped. This has led to many people, including several prominent Republicans, to call on Akin to abandon his Senate bid. It seems to me that this was a golden opportunity to note that Akin reached the correct conclusion by way of defective, even moronic, reasoning and to demonstrate that there are sound logical and moral reasons for being opposed to abortion in cases of rape, as awful that may sound to many people.

Ryan's reasoning is now as incoherent as is that of many people on this subject and looks something like, "I am opposed to the murder of innocent, unborn children except in cases my boss tells me not to be opposed," or, "unless I feel it jeopardizes my chances of becoming VP." It is an issue with that much moral gravity! So, again, while proportional reasoning, which shows Romney and Ryan to be a much better choice when it comes to abortion than Obama and Biden, still needs to be applied, it is quite a spectacle to see matters of conscience dealt with so glibly. I think a better summary of his "softening" would be, "A bad a step in a better, but not ideal direction."

Given all that, maybe the relevant question for Paul Ryan is, "If you were find yourself as president, what would your position be?"


  1. Thanks for posting your thoughts on this, Scott. I know you are often reluctant to wade into political discussions on your blog (I closed my facebook account many months ago, so I don't know if you're getting into it there!), but it's important for Catholics to speak up about the troubling aspects of this campaign season and the candidacies in particular. Too many of our brethren are jumping on the "GOP Will Save Us" bandwagon.

  2. Hello Deacon Scott,

    We can only pray that Mr. Ryan, in his heart, is completely PRO-LIFE, knowing that abortion (killing) is evil in every situation. Of course, this is politics. The sad reality is that he has to tow the line.

    Still, if he gets elected, I would hope that the unborn would be more protected than they are now. We must pray for that.

    God bless !


God's love for us is tireless

Readings: Jer 23:1-6; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34 No doubt you've heard the saying, "There's no rest for the wicked...