You have to love a Congressman who doesn’t equivocate on the Life issues. Here is Paul Ryan to the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack: “I’m as pro-life as a person gets.”
Here is Ryan responding to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels controversial suggestion for a “truce” on the Life issues: “You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life,” Ryan said.
While some politicians begin to distance themselves from pro-life issues once they come to Washington (this is called “growing” or “evolving” by the pro-abortion Washington Post), Ryan has been steadfast. Over the past 12 years, he has compiled a perfect, 100% pro-life voting record.
This year alone, he has voted to ban sex-selection abortions, stop taxpayer funding for abortions, ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the nation’s capital, protect the conscience rights of pro-life medical professionals and, repeatedly, to repeal Obamacare and cut off taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.
Ryan is pro-life not for reasons of political expediency, but out of deeply held convictions, formed in part by his interaction with a series of principled pro-life conservatives for whom he worked before his 1998 election to Congress. These include familiar names like Education Secretary William Bennett, former Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp, Senator (now Governor) Sam Brownback, and Republican Senator Robert Kasten Jr.
(n.b., PRI worked with both Jack Kemp and Bob Kasten to get the Kemp-Kasten Amendment passed in 1985, cutting off funding to China’s horrific one-child policy.)
But the best evidence comes from his own pen, in the form of an essay entitled, “The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom.”
I write as an unswerving proponent of both free market choice and the natural right to life. It is unfortunate that “life” and “choice” were ever separated and viewed as alternatives. This is a false dilemma. Logically, each implicates the other. ...
I am deeply committed to capitalism, the “system of natural liberty,” as Adam Smith called it. Free markets create unparalleled prosperity and have a moral basis in freedom and choice. … As a champion of capitalism, I strongly support every person’s right to make these economic choices and to fight against government efforts to limit them. Freedom and the choice it implies are moral rights which Americans are granted, not from government but from the principles that have made this a great and prosperous society. …
Yet to ensure that this guarantee is consistently provided, the government first needs to determine whose rights should be protected—that is, what the concept of a human being entitled to natural rights denotes. …
Yet, identifying who “qualifies” as a human being has historically proved to be … difficult ... 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 Court held, absurdly, that Africans and their American descendants, whether slave or free, could not be citizens with a right to go to court to enforce contracts or rights or for any other reason. … Every person in this country was wounded the day this dreadful opinion was handed down by this nation’s highest tribunal. It made a mockery of the American idea that human equality and rights were given by God and recognized by government, not constructed by governments or ethnic groups by consensus vote. ...
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. At what point in time does a human being exist, the state of Texas asked. The Court refused to answer: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” In other words, the Court would not “qualify” unborn children as living persons whose human rights must be guaranteed. ...
Like the Dred Scott decision, this opinion has wounded America and solved nothing. … 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. …
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.
If anyone had any doubts about Romney’s sincerity when it comes to the pro-life issue, his choice of one of the House’s leading pro-lifers as his running mate should put this to rest.
Ryan’s full essay can be read here.
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute.
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