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Paul Ryan Cosponsors New Fetal Personhood Bill

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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has co-sponsored a fetal personhood bill.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has co-sponsored a fetal personhood bill.

Despite the deep unpopularity of fetal personhood bills in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has again decided to cosponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that gives full legal rights to human zygotes from the moment of fertilization.

Ryan, who reportedly has 2016 presidential ambitions, had to de-emphasize his opposition to abortion without exceptions during the 2012 election to align his position with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But this year, Ryan has been tapped as a keynote speaker for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List's sixth annual Campaign for Life Gala, and he is re-upping his support for the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the country.

The personhood bill, first introduced in 2011 by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and reintroduced by Broun last week, specifies that a "one-celled human embryo," even before it implants in the uterus to create a pregnancy, should be granted "all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood." Similar legislation has been rejected by voters in multiple states, including the socially conservative Mississippi, because legal experts have pointed out that it could outlaw some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization as well as criminalize abortion at all stages.

Broun said in a statement that a zygote's right to life should be "defended vigorously and at all costs."

"As a physician, I know that human life begins with fertilization, and I remain committed to ending abortion in all stages of pregnancy," he said. "I will continue to fight this atrocity on behalf of the unborn, and I hope my colleagues will support me in doing so."

Ryan did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment about his support for the bill, which has 17 co-sponsors.

The bill died in the House of Representatives in 2011, when a record number of anti-abortion bills were being passed, and it is equally unlikely to advance this year. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a state personhood initiative in 2012, deeming it "clearly unconstitutional" because it blocks a woman's legal right to have an abortion.

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