Paul Ryan On Abortion Exception In 2000: 'Wide Enough To Drive A Mack Truck Through It'

WASHINGTON -- 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. Here is the transcript:

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.

Ryan's abortion views have come under scrutiny in the wake of controversial remarks by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a candidate for Senate, that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant. Ryan and Akin co-sponsored a bill that would redefine rape, limiting federal funding for abortions to victims of "forcible rape."



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