Let's hear it for Martha Raddatz, the brilliantly skillful moderator of the vice-presidential debate: She got a clear yes from Rep. Paul Ryan to this question: "If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?"
But first, the wind up, and the pitch. She led with this::
This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time, on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion.
Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And, please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country, please talk personally about this, if you could.
The vice presidential candidates, both Catholics, were both entirely candid.
Vice President Joe Biden: "I do not believe that we have a right to tell women that they can't control their body." As an elected official, he would not impose his own personal religious beliefs on others.
Rep. Paul Ryan stated he believes that life begins at conception, and referred to his wife's pregnancy of 7 weeks as an example. He stated that he opposes abortion under any circumstances.
He said that the policy of the Romney administration would be "to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother."
He did not say that they would oppose federal funding for abortion, which is present law. He said the policy would be "to oppose abortions."
"Exceptions" do not make care accessible. They serve mostly to stigmatize reproductive health care.
The Hyde amendment currently does not allow any federal funds to be used to pay for an abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or threats to the life of mother
There are about 32,000 pregnancies a year as a result of rape.
In 2010 only 331 abortions were paid for with federal funds.
However, Rep. Ryan does not support coverage even in the cases of the exceptions he mentioned. He was a co-sponsor of HR 3, which would not use federal funds for abortion even in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother.
RADDATZ: I want to go back to the abortion question here. If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?
RYAN: We don't think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.
Ryan means to suggest that the decisions about abortion should not be made by unelected judges, but should be decided at the state level. (It apparently goes without saying that they also don't think these decisions should be made by the women most directly affected.) During 2011 and 2012, state legislatures have dramatically ramped up cutbacks on access to all forms of reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion. In fact, though, the Supreme Court did and will make decisions about abortion. And the President appoints the Justices.