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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Women

Wage Discrimination

Ryan Voted Against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to Prevent Wage Discrimination. In 2009, Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Senate measure was nearly identical to some provisions in the House passed version HR 11. The final bill allowed employees to sue employers for wage discrimination within 180 days of their last paycheck affected by the alleged discrimination. The measure was designed to overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) that ruled a worker could not bring a wage discrimination suit more than 180 days after the initial discriminatory act. The Senate version of the bill did not include a provision from HR 12 that would have required employers seeking to justify unequal pay for male and female workers to prove that such disparities are job-related and required by a business necessity. [Roll Call 37, S 181, 01/27/2009; CO House Action Reports Legislative Week, 1/26/09]

Ryan Voted Against Paycheck Equity. In 2008, Ryan voted against a bill that would lift the cap on compensatory and punitive damages that women may be awarded in wage discrimination cases. The bill would also require employers who contended that pay discrepancies did not result from discrimination to give an actual business reason for why female employees were paid less than their male counterparts. Democrats argued that the bill would close some loopholes for pay discrimination. “The current system is rife with loopholes that allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay scales,” Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said. Republicans criticized the legislation, saying that it would be fodder for frivolous lawsuits. “This bill will make it easier for trial lawyers to cash in, and taxpayers should be outraged that their money is being put to such use,” Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said. [Roll Call 556, H 1338, 07/31/2008; CQ Today¸7/31/08]

Abortion And Family Planning

Ryan Criticized Roe v. Wade
Ryan Compared Roe v. Wade Decision To Dred Scott v. Sandford, Which Denied Africans And Descendants Human Rights. According to States News Service, in a press release, Ryan wrote “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 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. 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.” [States News Service, 9/20/10]

Ryan Supported Criminalization Of Abortion

Ryan Supported Personhood Bill To Criminalize Abortion And Forms Of Birth Control With No Exception For Rape Victims. According to the Huffington Post, “Ryan sponsored a fetal personhood bill, which would effectively criminalize abortion and some forms of birth control without exceptions for rape victims.” [Huffington Post, 8/19/12]

Ryan Denied Advocating Jail For Doctors Who Perform Abortions Or Women Who Get Them, But Added “If It’s Illegal, It’s Illegal.” According to the Associated Press, “Ryan, 28, a former congressional aide from Janesville, denied specifically recommending jail for physicians and women, but he added ‘if it’s illegal, it’s illegal.’ He also accused Spottswood of altering her position on ‘partial-birth abortion’ to appear politically moderate.” [Associated Press, 9/26/98]

Ryan Supported Limiting Access To Abortion Though Fetal Rights And Pain Legislation

Ryan Co-Sponsored “Sanctity Of Human Life Act” Which Granted Personhood Rights Upon Fertilization And Gave States Authority To Ban Abortion. According to Mother Jones, “Paul Ryan is a cosponsor of HR 212, the Sanctity of Human Life Act. After a bit of throat clearing, the text of the act is admirably brief and direct: (B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (2) the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.” [Mother Jones, 8/14/12]

Bill Could Allow Rapist To Sue Victim To Prevent Abortion. According to Mother Jones, “Logic chopping aside, this means that Ryan has cosponsored a bill that has the plain intent of ‘effecting’ a policy that allows states to ban abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. In fact, if this bill were passed and the Supreme Court upheld it, I’ll bet that a rapist could go to court and sue to prevent his victim from getting an abortion. He’d argue that the fetus was legally a human being, and the court has no power to discriminate between one human being and another. He’d probably win, too.” [Mother Jones, 8/14/12]

Bill Would Likely Make In-Vitro Fertilization Illegal. According to Mother Jones, “…Stephanie Mencimer reports that the same bill would likely have the effect of making in-vitro fertilization illegal. My Twitter feed is full of outrage that Stephanie would say this, but what else can you conclude about the law? In IVF, multiple embryos are created, and only a few are used. The others are either destroyed or frozen, and everyone knows that the frozen embryos are never going to be revived. HR 212 would almost certainly make IVF illegal, and since Mitt Romney’s kids have used IVF it would, as the headline says, make them criminals. Or childless. Is that a brutal way of putting it? Sure. But it’s a pretty brutal law. What’s wrong with letting people know in stark terms just exactly what it would mean? If human life begins at fertilization, it means abortion would be illegal even in cases of rape and incest, and it means IVF would be illegal. Those are the consequences. If you hold an extreme pro-life position, you need to own those consequences, even if they’re politically unpopular.” [Mother Jones, 8/14/12]

Paul Ryan Voted for Requiring Women Seeking Abortions Be Informed of Fetal Pain During Procedure. On December 6, 2006, Paul Ryan voted for the bill that would require women who are at least 20 weeks pregnant and seeking an abortion to be informed that there is “substantial evidence” that the fetus would experience pain during the procedure. The abortion provider would be required to inform women that they can request anesthesia for the fetus. The bill, which required a two-thirds majority, failed 250-162. [Roll Call 526, H 6099, 12/06/2006]

Forced Ultrasounds

Ryan Backed Legislation To Require Women Seeking Abortions To Undergo An Ultrasound. According to Reuters, “Democratic lawmakers and abortion rights organizations have opened an assault on Rep. Paul Ryan’s support for a controversial bill requiring doctors to perform an ultrasound on a woman before performing an abortion to ensure she can see the fetal image. Abortion foes have fought for versions of the measure around the country, in the hopes of dissuading women from going through with abortions, while critics see it as unnecessary and intrusive. ‘House Republicans — of which Paul Ryan is a leader — would shrink government so small it can only fit under the door of a woman’s doctor’s office,’ Rep. Nita Lowey told BuzzFeed Saturday. ‘This proposal to mandate a potentially invasive procedure is just outrageous to me and millions of other women who don’t want the government interfering in private medical decisions.’… Ryan is one of more than 60 lawmakers who have signed on to the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act in the House… The bill would also provide the Justice Department with the authority to bring civil actions against doctors who do not comply with the law.” [Reuters, 8/11/12]

Federal Funding Ban

Ryan Voted To Bar The Use Of Federal Funds To Purchase Insurance Plans That Cover Abortion. On October 13, 2011, Ryan voted for a bill that would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to bar the use of federal funds to purchase insurance plans that cover abortion services. The bill also would require that insurance companies offering plans on state exchanges that cover abortion services also offer identical plans that do not cover abortion services. Finally, it would bar federal agencies and state or local entities that receive funding under the health care overhaul law from discriminating against health care entities that refuse to provide abortions or training related to abortions. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “The bill passed 251-172, with 15 Democrats joining the GOP in favor and two Republicans opposed to the Protect Life Act, which also offers legal protection for hospitals that refuse to perform abortions. The Senate blocked similar legislation passed in May and is likely to do the same to this bill. President Barack Obama also threatened to veto any such bill. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the legislation ‘savage’ and a waste of time when Americans are more concerned about jobs. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, noted that the legislation was promised in the GOP’s Pledge to America in 2010. ‘We’ve done four to five jobs bills this week,’ Boehner said.” [Roll Call 789, H 358, 10/13/2011; Orlando Sentinel, 10/14/11]

Ryan Supported A Block On Aid To The United Nations Population Fund, Which Supported Family Planning And Women’s Reproductive Health Programs In 140 Countries. According to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, “The House on July 15 voted, 216 for and 211 against, to block U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports programs in 140-plus countries on family planning and women’s reproductive health. This removed $50 million for the fund from a $32.2 billion foreign affairs budget (HR 1950) for fiscal 2004, which awaits Senate action.” Ryan voted yes. [Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 7/20/03]

Ryan Voted for Government Funding Continuing Resolution, Barring DC from Funding Abortions. On April 09, 2011 Ryan voted to advance a bill that would provide continuing appropriations for all government agencies through April 15, 2011. Most spending levels would be based on fiscal 2010 levels, less certain eliminations and reductions totaling $2 billion. According to the Virginia Pilot, the bill would “fund the military through Sept. 30 while funding the rest of the government through April 15 with $12 billion in spending cuts. The bill also barred the District of Columbia from using its own revenue to fund abortions.” [Roll Call 253, H 1363, 04/09/2011; Virginia Pilot 4/11/11]

Limited Abortion Ban Exceptions

Ryan Said He Believed “The Method Of Conception Doesn’t Change The Definition Of Life.” According to CBS Affiliate WJHL, during an interview, Ryan was asked by reporter Josh Smith: “Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped?” Ryan replied “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…And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.” [WJHL, 8/23/12]

In 2009, Ryan Backed “Limitations On Abortion Mandates” Amendment To Prevent Abortion Coverage Under Health Care Legislation Except In Cases Of Risk To Life Of The Mother, “Forcible Rape” Or Incest. According to NBC, “Three years ago, the then-39-year-old congressman co-sponsored an abortion-related amendment called ‘Limitations on Abortion Mandates.’ That proposed amendment was blocked in what was a Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan and only one co-sponsor, Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, proposed a change to health-care legislation that would have required health insurance cover abortion services.  The Ryan-Johnson failed amendment did specify limited exceptions, permitting abortion coverage including when the life of the mother is at stake and in line 16 of the proposed text ‘… unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of forcible rape or incest.’ …The amendment was proposed by and carried the name of a more senior Republican colleague, Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas. Ryan joined Johnson in offering the amendment.” [NBC News, 8/22/12]

In 2000, Ryan Said Abortion Health Exception Was “A Loophole Wide Enough To Drive A Mack Truck Through It.” According to the Huffington Post, “Toward the start of his career in Congress, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made extreme statements about whether abortions should be allowed in cases where the mother’s health is at risk. In an April 5, 2000, speech on the House floor, Ryan lit into such exceptions, characterizing them as ‘a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it.’ His remarks came during a debate over late-term abortions… ‘Mr. Speaker. I just have to take issue with the comments that have been preceding this debate. This is not a political issue. This is a human issue. Let me just say this to all of my colleagues who are about to vote on this issue. On the motion to recommit. The health exception is a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it. The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless. Let us just go over what this procedure does. The abortionist forcibly turns the child into the breech, feet first in that position, then the abortionist pulls the living child out of the mother by the leg until only the head is left inside, stabs the child at the base of the skull and sucks out the brain with a vacuum, pulling the now dead child out of the mother. Mr. Speaker, C. Everett Koop, hundreds of OB-GYNs, have told us that this is not medically necessary. In the words of the former Surgeon General himself, from the evidence that has been presented in standard OB-GYN textbooks as well as the annals of research in OB-GYN, there is no medical necessity for this abortion procedure.” [Huffington Post, 8/22/12]