Despite Mitt Romney's efforts to court women voters ahead of November, he chose a running mate who is far outside the mainstream on women's health issues. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cosponsored a bill that would give fetuses full personhood rights from the moment of fertilization, which was even rejected by voters in the socially conservative state of Mississippi. He voted to defund federal family planning programs, authored a budget that dismantles Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, all of which disproportionately aid and employ women, and voted multiple times to prevent women in the military from using their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals.
Ryan also supported a highly controversial bill that Democrats nicknamed the "Let Women Die Act," which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life is on the line.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement on Saturday morning that Ryan has earned zero percent on its women's health voting scorecard, and other women's rights group expressed similar alarm.
“Mitt Romney as President would be devastating for women and families -- and Paul Ryan would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him the whole way,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of progressive women's advocacy organization EMILY’s List. “In fact, Ryan's already gotten his own start, by ramming his radical budget plan to decimate vital plans for seniors through Congress -- and do it on the backs of the women and families who need these programs the most.”
"It comes as no surprise that Romney would choose a like-minded running mate who is just as out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities as he is," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "The Romney-Ryan ticket is dangerous to women’s health.”
By contrast, Concerned Women for America, a conservative, anti-abortion group, celebrated Romney's choice.
"Paul Ryan is an energetic and solid social conservative," said CWA president and CEO Penny Nance. "He has tirelessly supported the unborn and voted in favor of a federal marriage amendment. In addition, he showed great courage and willingness to make the hard decisions needed to clean our fiscal house by actually putting pen to paper and advancing a plan."