Though Paul Ryan is often portrayed as being a policy wonk on budget issues, he also has an appalling track record on social issues like gay rights and reproductive rights. Mother Jones points out that the personhood bill he sponsored would ban in-vitro fertilization techniques, including the one that produced Mitt Romney’s grandchildren.
The Sanctity of Human Life Act, which Ryan co-sponsored, would have enshrined the notion that life begins at fertilization in federal law, thus criminalizing in vitro fertilization—the process of creating an embryo outside of a woman’s womb. In IVF, doctors typically create multiple embryos and then only implant the healthiest ones in the woman. Some of them stick and become babies, and some don’t. The embryos that don’t make it to the womb are either frozen for later use or destroyed. The Sanctity of Human Life Act, if passed, would make all those embryos “people” in the legal sense, so if they aren’t used or don’t become babies after being implanted, they would essentially become murder victims under the law…
In May, Romney’s son Tagg became father of twin boys thanks to help from IVF and a surrogate mother. Tagg’s son Jonathan was also produced this way. Two of Tagg’s brothers reportedly have struggled with infertility issues and resorted to IVF as well. It’s hard to imagine that Romney will score any points with voters by tapping a running mate whose anti-abortion views are so extreme that Romney’s own kids can’t live with them.
Ryan’s position on IVF might give President Obama an opening for attack: While Romney’s running mate has advocated criminalizing a procedure that has brought untold joy to about 3 million families over the past three decades, Democrats might be able to claim credit for making advanced infertility treatments available to the vast majority of Americans who can’t afford them. Currently, most health insurance plans don’t cover infertility treatment, so IVF and other advanced baby-making technology is mostly available to rich people—like the Romney boys.
That’s bad. But this is worse and I’ve seen little comment from it in the media: Ryan’s bill would also ban embryonic stem cell research, both because new stem cell lines are produced through the use of those surplus blastocysts from IVF clinics and because of the direct effect of declaring any fertilized egg as fully human. And all this because he thinks God loves all the little snowflakes. This is what theocracy looks like.