Rep. Paul Ryan, a rising star in the GOP, has recently come under fire from some pro-life groups and conservative bloggers for recent comments he made that gave some people the impression that he was in agreement with other prominent Republican politicians like Gov. Haley Barbour (MS) and Gov. Mitch Daniels (IN) on calling for a short-term “truce” with social conservatives over social issues like abortion.
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack debunks the claim that Ryan is willing to put abortion on the back burner in favor of focusing solely on fiscal and economic issues here (via). The link includes a statement from Ryan, issued today to WS:
“Healthy debate should take place within the Republican Party on specific policies, but it is a false choice to ask which natural right we should discard: ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is not a menu of options. All planks – economic liberty and limited government; keeping our nation secure; championing America’s founding truths and the dignity of every human person – are rooted in same timeless principles, enshrined in our Founding and the cause of our exceptionalism. American families are under assault from many quarters, with mounting economic hardships and a crushing burden of government debt foremost on the minds of many. The American family must remain at the core of our free society, and I will remain ever-vigilant in its defense.”
Indeed – and he has been. Ryan wrote a passionate opinion piece back in February on the sanctity of life, which was re-posted on his website today. Here’s an excerpt:
Now, after America has won the last century’s hard-fought struggles against unequal human rights in the forms of totalitarianism abroad and segregation at home, I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect. I do know that we cannot go on forever feigning agnosticism about who is human. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” The freedom to choose is pointless for someone who does not have the freedom to live. So the right of “choice” of one human being cannot trump the right to “life” of another. How long can we sustain our commitment to freedom if we continue to deny the very foundation of freedom—life—for the most vulnerable human beings?
At the core, today’s “pro-choice” liberals are deeply pessimistic. They denigrate life and offer fear of the present and the future—fear of too many choices and too many children. Rather than seeing children and human beings as a benefit, the “pro-choice” position implies that they are a burden. Despite the “pro-choice” label, liberals’ stance on this subject actually diminishes choices, lowers goals, and leads us to live with less. That includes reducing the number of human beings who can make choices.
In contrast, pro-life conservatives are natural optimists. On balance, we see human beings as assets, not liabilities. All conservatives should find it easy to agree that government must uphold every person’s right to make choices regarding their lives and that every person’s right to live must be secured before he or she can exercise that right of choice. In the state of nature—the “law of the jungle”—the determination of who “qualifies” as a human being is left to private individuals or chosen groups. In a justly organized community, however, government exists to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right.
Conservatives can bridge the gap on issues of life and choice by building on the solid rock of natural rights, which belong, not just to some, but to all human beings.
I’m not worried about where his priorities are, and I hope other social conservatives who are wondering will stop worrying. While some people consider themselves more fiscally conservative than socially conservative – or vice versa, Ryan is, like myself and many others: equal parts social AND fiscal conservative, and he realizes that both sets of issues are closely related to each other.
That said, I’d like to commend Ryan for speaking so passionately on right to life issues. Radical liberal feminist women can’t stand it when conservative men weigh in on the issue of abortion because “they can’t have babies and don’t understand.” Of course these rad leftists don’t consider the fact that even though, yes, the man can’t have a baby, he’s either helped created one (or more), he’s been an uncle, a brother, a cousin of a little baby or has friends who have children. Men have just as much a right to weigh in on this debate as women do, because the issue of protecting the lives of the innocent impacts us all. Back at the NRA Convention in May, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) spoke emotionally about the issue, with tears in his eyes. After he finished that segment of his speech, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the Time Warner Cable arena whose eyes also misted up a bit.
As I wrote back in January on the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade:
It saddens me to know that men like [Rep.] Fortenberry [R-NE] are viewed as “controlling and dominating” and that because he’s a man with a contrarian view, that voices like his are shouted down by radical feminists who suggest that because he’s a man and therefore cannot get pregnant that he shouldn’t have a voice in the debate. This is a tactic that is highly ironic, considering the fact that traditional feminists back in the 1700s and 1800s fought against the belief that a woman should only speak when she agreed with him and otherwise should keep her opinions to herself. This is modern day in-reverse version of that, perpetuated by liberal feminists is, frankly, an unAmerican attitude, and I applaud Fortenberry – and other males like him – for standing up in the face of the prevailing view that pro-life men should have no say so in the debate over the life of the unborn.
Hillary Clinton’s remarks were so typical in nature I nearly yawned when I heard them. In typical moral relativist fashion, she morally equates a woman (Margaret Sanger) whose body and soul was devoted to ridding society of “undesireables” – especially black babies – via abortion to a man (Thomas Jefferson) who, even though he owned slaves and believed black people to be inferior to whites, pushed to have them emancipated and whose views on the issue clearly evolved for the better over the years at a time when it was almost treasonous to advocate for freedom of any kind for black people. Sadly, to the Hillary Clintons of this country, everything is “relative” and no moral judgments are allowed unless they are moral judgments against traditional American values which are “old-fashioned” and “outdated” and in some ways “misogynistic” to radical feminists.
You can watch the video of the exchange between Fortenberry and Clinton here:
“Feminists” also try to use similar arguments on women like me who don’t have children. Obviously, militant pro-choicers routinely try to narrow the scope of who is “allowed” to speak on “women’s rights” (aka abortion) because they know that the less people speaking out against it means there’s less of a likelihood of minds being changed on the issue. Thankfully, there are a lot of conseravative men out there who are unafraid to speak out in spite of the attempts by uber-left wing women to silence them via playing the “woman card.” It is my hope that even more will become more vocal in their opposition to abortion and that in the process, more minds will be changed. The tide is already turning, and I know I’m not the only conservative woman willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with conservative men in an effort to continue to make a positive, meaningful impact on this vital issue.