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Don C. Reed Headshot

Paul Ryan: the 'Personhood' Crocodile?

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Paul Ryan's cultivated image is cheerful, smiling, outwardly the sort of person one might wish for as a neighbor; but his policies are deadly dangerous.

He is, for example, co-sponsor of the anti-woman legislation H.R. 212: the "Sanctity of Human Life Act", which gives "all the legal and constitutional attributes of personhood" -- to fertilized eggs.

Let us be specific here: a married woman may shed a fertilized egg as part of her monthly cycle. Essentially invisible, this non-implanted embryo passes from the body in a liquid state, and is disposed of; hardly worthy of polite conversation -- until now, when the contents of a sanitary napkin may be the focus of law.

Where does Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stand on this issue? Let us recall that he pledged to "absolutely" support a Constitutional amendment to impose personhood on the nation.

Enacted into law, a Romney/Ryan personhood plan could remove women's reproductive rights completely. It would ban abortion at any stage, block the In Vitro Fertility (IVF) procedure that presently helps so many couples achieve parenthood, end the embryonic stem cell research which offers the hope of cure to my paralyzed son -- and criminalize birth control pills.

Wherever personhood legislation has been brought to the ballot, it has been crushingly defeated. The citizens of Mississippi rejected the concept as too extreme. Coloradans voted it down twice. The Oklahoma Supreme Court found it unconstitutional.

Yet whom does Mitt Romney carefully select for his running mate, potentially a heartbeat away from the presidency?

The co-sponsor of a bill declaring: "The life of each human being begins with fertilization... at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood... " Robert Pear points out that, "Under this definition, abortion and some forms of birth control could be construed as murder. ..."

It is said that God in His wisdom made the crocodile ugly, so children would not play with it, and be eaten.

But what if there was a smiling crocodile?