Ryan's Dangerous Record on Women's Health

MSNBC political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry, in a piece at the Nation, tackles GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's record on women's reproductive rights, determining that he has worked consistently to restrict women's access to health care. 

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Paul Ryan (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

MSNBC political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry, in a piece at the Nation, tackles GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's record on women's reproductive rights, determining that he has worked consistently to restrict women's access to health care. 

Despite his seemingly robotic demeanor, Mitt Romney is proving himself a bit of a rogue. His campaign has broken the cardinal rule of presidential races: pander and pivot. First the candidate secures the base during the primaries by pandering to party ideologues; then the candidate swiftly pivots to the center to attract swing voters and independents. Eric Fehrnstrom's infamous Etch A Sketch comment back in March suggested that Romney was preparing to execute this venerable campaign two-step. But the choice of Paul Ryan as running mate obliterates the possibility of moderation. This campaign is going to run hard and fast to the right. Forget the pivot; they're just going to pander.

Unlike Romney's inconsistent but mostly centrist Massachusetts governing record, whose signature accomplishment was the model for the GOP-maligned “Obamacare,” Ryan's ideological bona fides are unvarnished. And don't be fooled: this is not about economics alone. Ryan is just as devoted to good old-fashioned moral conservatism, government small enough to fit on a vaginal probe. Ryan may have slipped his playbook into an Ayn Rand cover, but it was co-written by Ralph Reed.

Nowhere is this more apparent, or more important, than in Ryan's record on reproductive rights. Romney may have flippantly suggested that he would eliminate Planned Parenthood, but Ryan has worked consistently to restrict women's access to healthcare. It's not just his fifty-nine votes to block or limit reproductive rights that are of concern; it's the absolutist nature of his positions. He rejects rape and incest as mitigating circumstances for abortion. He won't even consider the possibility that women's moral autonomy or constitutional rights are sufficient reasons for access.

Read Melissa Harris-Perry's entire piece at the Nation.

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