Rep. Paul Ryan's 100 percent rating by the pro-life National Right to Life Committee and his support of the "Protect Life Act" are evidence of the Wisconsin Republican's extremism on abortion and as such, should hurt the appeal of the Romney/Ryan ticket with women voters, MSNBC's Alex Wagner argued on the August 14 edition of her noon Eastern Now with Alex Wagner program.
Of course the 100 percent pro-choice record that Barack Obama has with NARAL Pro-Choice America might strike centrist voters as equally "extreme," but Wagner failed to note Obama has never deviated from the NARAL line. What's more, as a state senator, Barack Obama voted AGAINST an Illinois state version of the "Born-Alive Act" which was designed to punish abortionists who kill babies who were born before the abortion procedure was finished in utero. Nothing says pro-abortion extremist like voting against a bill to penalize infanticide, especially considering that a federal version of the bill passed the U.S. Congress in 2002 without any votes in the negative. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
But alas, NARAL Pro-Choice America -- formerly the National Abortion Rights Action league -- was one of the "women's rights groups" that Wagner cited as among those clanging the alarm bells about Ryan's pro-life "extremism."
The "Protect Life Act" is "a bill that would allow hospitals to deny abortions to women, even in emergency situations," Wagner told her audience. That is, however, an alarmist spin on the bill's simple language that prohibits the federal government from discriminating against a hospital or a doctor who has moral qualms with performing abortions (emphases mine):
‘(g) Nondiscrimination on Abortion-
‘(1) NONDISCRIMINATION- A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), may not subject any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination, or require any health plan created or regulated under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) to subject any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination, on the basis that the health care entity refuses to--
‘(A) undergo training in the performance of induced abortions;
‘(B) require or provide such training;
‘(C) perform, participate in, provide coverage of, or pay for induced abortions; or
‘(D) provide referrals for such training or such abortions.
‘(2) DEFINITION- In this subsection, the term ‘health care entity’ includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.
Wagner then cited a recent poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal showing that women support Obama over Biden by 15 percentage points as if to say that Ryan's pro-life record would only widen the gap.
"These sorts of social issues really raise the question of just how radical Ryan is," Time magazine's Rana Foroohar added, agreeing with Wagner. "That's something that's going to come up again and again" and "be a huge factor" in the campaign.
But as Gallup polling showed earlier this year, the percentage of Americans who consider themselves pro-choice is at a record low of 41 percent. Overall, 50 percent of Americans call themselves pro-life and a full 47 percent of swing-voting independents call themselves pro-life.
What's more, only 25 percent of poll respondents believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances, and most assuredly those rabidly-pro-choice voters were already voting for NARAL-endorsed President Obama's reelection. Most Americans, 52 percent, believe that abortion should be legal in some circumstances, like say rape, incest, and the life of the mother, all of which are exemptions covered by the Protect Life Act whereby Medicaid could pay for abortions:
‘(c) Limitation on Abortion Funding-
‘(1) IN GENERAL- No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), including credits applied toward qualified health plans under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or cost-sharing reductions under section 1402 of this Act, may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except--
‘(A) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest; or
‘(B) in the case where a pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.