Paul Ryan?  Really???

Paul Ryan? Really???

This morning Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Now, I find Paul Ryan objectionable in a number of ways – he has cited Ayn Rand as the “one person” who inspired his political career, for God’s sake, and never mind that she was a pro-choice atheist while he is an anti-choice Catholic – but we at Nursing Clio are particularly interested in issues of gender, sexuality, and medicine, and so I would like to take this opportunity to explain why Ryan poses a particular threat to women, gays, lesbians, and, well, anyone who cares at all about women, gays, and/or lesbians.

Ryan’s anti-abortion stance goes well beyond the typical conservative Republican position. He supported the Sanctity of Life Act, which stated that personhood began at conception and sought therefore to ban all abortion, with no exceptions made for rape or incest or the health of the mother, and he voted in favor of a measure de-funding Planned Parenthood.

But it’s not just abortion, because Ryan also co-sponsored the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act of 2012, which allows employers to decide that birth control is immoral and that, therefore, their female employees can’t get any through their company health coverage. In addition, Ryan opposes the Affordable Care Act, which includes all kinds of great benefits for women, including solid birth control coverage and better access to reproductive cancer screenings. Basically, if Romney and Ryan enter the White House, having a vagina is going to be a lot more dangerous. A few months back I argued, in this blog post, that it was time to bring back the image of Wonder Woman wielding a speculum. Now more than ever, people. Now more than ever.

And let’s not forget that Ryan stands against gay marriage (and adoption of children by gay couples) and actually voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded legally-designated “hate crimes” to include violence against individuals on the basis of sexuality or gender identity. I don’t even want to speculate about why someone would vote against protecting the LGBT community from violence. Is this someone we want as Vice President?

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Flickr

I’ll be honest. There was never a chance in hell I would vote for Mitt Romney. But this just underscores my commitment to Obama in 2012. A vote for Romney and Ryan is a vote for sexism, bigotry, and ignorance.

Featured image caption: Elephant in the womb. (Wikimedia)

Carrie Adkins earned her Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Oregon in 2013. Her specific scholarly interests include gender, sexuality, race, and medicine in American history.