Where Do The Vice Presidential Candidates Stand On Abortion Rights?

Paul Ryan Joe Biden vice presidential debate abortion birth control 1

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden disagreed on abortion–and a lot of other things. | Source: WENN / ShutterStock

At last night’s vice presidential debate, a lot of us sat wondering, “Okay, this is all great–but where do you stand on women’s health issues?” Because women’s health–from birth control access to abortion rights–affect us directly, and they affect everyone else indirectly. Think about it: If you get pregnant, it doesn’t just affect you, it affects whatever guy you were with, it affects your parents, it affects the government if you require public assistance to keep and care for a child. Still, considering it’s your uterus, it’s disturbing that a bunch of rich white men feel the need to make the decisions about what goes on within it. But last night we finally at least saw where these men stood.

The presidential debates didn’t touch on them at all, but the vice presidential face off between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan addressed the abortion issue directly.

We knew going into the vice presidential debate that Joe Biden is pro-choice and Paul Ryan is anti-abortion. But last night we learned why they each had their respective stances and what kind of influence their religious beliefs (they’re both Catholic) have on their positions.

Vice presidential candidate and Mitt Romney running mate Paul Ryan spoke first, telling debate moderator Martha Raddatz about a seven-week ultrasound of his first daughter that helped mold his views on abortion–and that science and medicine also influenced his position, though he didn’t mention anything scientific. “Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day we have nicknamed our first born child, Liza, ‘Bean.’ Now, I believe that life begins at conception,” he said. Okay, cute story, but still not science . . . “Those are the reasons why I’m pro-life,” he continued, “Now, I understand this is a difficult of issue, and I respect people who don’t agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.” We’d like to point out that Paul Ryan, prior to being chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate, actually authored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would seek to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or health of the mother, and defines life as beginning at fertilization.

Paul Ryan also made a false accusation against Joe Biden and the Democratic party, claiming that President Obama and his party endorse abortion “without restriction and with taxpayer funding.” The truth is that for the past 30 years, something called the Hyde amendment prevents tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions. So, why was Ryan basically lying to make Biden and Obama look bad?

On the opposing side, Joe Biden, when he wasn’t chuckling and silently encouraging more Americans to go to the dentist, took a much more moderate view, even in spite of his own Catholic beliefs. “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that, women, that they can’t control their body,” he said. “It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view, and the Supreme Court. I’m not going to interfere with that.”

Biden also made sure to point out Ryan’s prior stance on abortion in cases of rape and incest. “I guess he accepts Governor Romney’s position now, because in the past he has argued that there was — there’s rape and forcible rape,” Biden said. “He’s argued that in the case of rape or incest … it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.”

Paul Ryan responded with the usual religious malarkey, telling Biden, “Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain religious liberties,” he said. He conveniently forgot that faith-based employers–churches, religious schools, etc.–don’t have to pay for contraception. Oopsies! Again, saying something that’s not true to try to make your opponent look bad. Everybody’s entitled to their opinions, but that’s not so cool.

We’re not here to tell you how to vote. That’s your business. But we do want you to know what you’re getting into: Your body is also your business, and if you want the ability to maintain control (and affordable birth control) over your body, electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will endanger that right.

Here’s why: The next president will decide whether the Affordable Care Act, which helps us afford–you guessed it!–health care and contraception, sticks around. The next prez will also probably need to appoint two Supreme Court justices in his term. Supreme Court justices have the ability, should the case arise, to overturn Roe v. Wade, which granted abortion rights to women. Obviously, any P.O.T.U.S. is going to appoint someone with, ostensibly, the same views as they have–and those two votes can change a whole lot about our lives and our freedoms to control what goes on in our own bodies.

Are you voting in the 2012 presidential election? Did you watch the vice presidential debate? Who do you think won the vice presidential debate? Do you agree with Paul Ryan or with Joe Biden on abortion and women’s reproductive rights? Sound off in the comments!

LOL at these politicians dancing!

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  • Alison Melissa

    ABORTION IS WRONG! We have control of course, but it’s those women’s fault they got knocked up in the first place. They should just go through the pregnancy and take it like a woman!

    • Ashlyn

      I beg to differ. In cases such as rape, it is most definitely NOT the woman’s fault she had sex. That’s saying, “She was just asking for rape.” Not cool, Alison. Women deserve to have control over their own bodies, and while I understand people have their own beliefs, the government should not force women into keeping a pregnancy. The woman may not have the money or resources to support a baby. As my friend always says, “Keep your laws out of my uterus!”

  • Eliza

    They shouldn’t be able to tell use if we can abort our baby or not. It’s kinda our right and freedom. I don’t believe in it unless rape or danger to health or u fell it’s the best thing for u. We don’t tell men they can’t do this or this envolving their body. They need to think about if they were a women who was raped or might die because she can’t get an abortion.

  • Danielle

    Let me just say it seems like your being bias. You shoul have a two sided argument and make it fair the conveniently really gives you away. I’m catholic and it’s offensive that you had to say “religious malarkey” that just shows that you need to respect other people’s opinions which means that you were no better than Paul Ryan.It is also the church suing the government over the rights of religiousness.

  • Virgo398

    I just have to say that when they abort the “baby” it’s not really considered a human being until it is beyond seven weeks, or beyond the embryonic stage. So you are not really killing a person. I’m feel ever strong with women’s rights and I don’t believe a bunch of old men should be deciding what I can do with me body. What if a woman was raped and the government would be forcing her to keep it? The child would always remind her of that horrible day in her past and I’m sure the child will suffer, too. Through out their life knowing they are the product of rape (not to seem cold hearted, but it most likely will happen). These is just my opinion.

  • katelyn

    I believe that if a women wants to get an abortion that is her choice.

  • Allie

    I think that it is an interesting discussion. As a woman, I do not believe that abortion is a right. If you go with your line of thinking, a girl has the right to kill another girl without any consequences, but she does NOT have the right to live? Is that right? Imagine you were that baby. You have the right to have an abortion, but no right to live? Come on people, let’s think. Yeah, yeah. You’re going to have stretch marks. It’s going to hurt like a mother$#@!$%^, but hey. Isn’t it worth it to allow someone the right to live? Isn’t life more than just about you? Seriously, people. We have NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER except for the choices we make. And nothing we do will ever change that. Also, just another thing. How is your baby a part of your body? IT ISN”T! People! Come on! A baby has the right to live, no matter what. One last thing. If you aren’t willing and able to have a baby, don’t have sex!!! (And don’t you talk about rape and incest. Babies still have the right to a chance at life, and so what about rape? Just don’t keep your baby! I understand about incest, wanting to have an abortion, but seriously. Doctors are wrong. I was supposed to have Downs syndrome, and my friend wasn’t supposed to be able to talk or walk. She got a bachelor’s degree!) Be honest here. Do you want to have an abortion because you’re stupid, or because you’re selfish?

    • Mila

      That is not the biggest issue here. Romney and Ryan will make abortion illegal under any circumstances and Romney will be able to appoint two supreme court justices, who do you think he will choose? Certainly not a moderate or fair one. This issue also affects the economy, they will make it so that women have to pay more for contraceptives and life saving health screenings like mammograms because they will get rid of Planned Parenthood and “Obamacare”.

      • Flynn

        Actually Ryan and Romney want to make it illegal except for in cases of rape and they’ll make it up to the states

  • Ashley

    Everyone has their own opinon on abortion and I’m not gonna attack anybody that thinks it’s ok but I’m pro-life and every life created is precious and worth while. And I’m more concerned about jobs and the economy and also the fate of America then some little pill.

  • Calle

    I am 100% against abortion, id like to think no matter what the situation is. I think everyone deserves to live.

    • Mila

      And I think everybody deserves to make their own decisions.

  • Taylor

    I completely agree with Biden, having an abortion is a very private and personal matter, and a choice only we as girls can make. The government has no right to make that decision for us. I loved how you said the choice is between a girl and her doctor. No one else. Some people will agree with Ryan, and thats great. But just because you believe that, does not make you superior, or give you to ability to take that away from someone who doesn’t agree with you.

    • Mila

      I completely agree with you Taylor!