When asked a succinct follow-up question by ABC journalist and moderator of Thursday's vice presidential debate Martha Raddatz, “Should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?” Paul Ryan did not say "No."
To the previous question regarding faith and a women's right to choose, Joe Biden said that though he accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church (which largely opposes abortion) in his personal life, the Vice President said he has no right to overlay that belief system on public policy decisions that impact millions of Americans who do not hold those same beliefs.
"I refuse to impose [my personal spiritual beliefs and the teachings of my church] on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews," he said. "I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that – women – they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view, and in the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.”
Republican candidate Paul Ryan—one of the staunchest anti-choice members of Congress—however, offered no equivocation on the fact that he would, if elected vice president, impose his narrow view on all women in the United States when it comes to the issue of abortion.
Instead, in response to whether or not pro-choice advocates should be worried about a Romney-Ryan administration, he said, “We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision.”
Responding to Ryan's answer and the very clear implications that the Republican party, under Romney-Ryan leadership, would either legislate away the protections granted under Roe vs Wade or appoint Supreme Court judges likely to overturn it, NARAL Pro-Choice president Nancy Keenan responded with elevated alarm:
“Ryan’s responses to questions about whether women should have the ability to make decisions about their own health care reinforce the serious threat Mitt Romney’s presidency poses for women’s health,” Keenan said. “He refused to say whether American women should be worried about the future of their reproductive freedoms if he and Gov. Romney win the White House. Let me be clear: The Romney-Ryan ticket is extremely dangerous to women’s health and Americans should be very concerned about the future of women’s health and rights if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win on November 6.”
She continued: “Rep. Ryan’s performance reminds us why elections matter. The 2012 presidential election very well could determine whether abortion remains legal and accessible for the next generation of American women. Romney has consistently said he would be a pro-life president; that means taking away women’s reproductive rights will be a priority in a Romney-Ryan administration. The choice is clear.”
As The New Yorker's Amy Davidson put it: "The answer, in effect, is yes, they should worry." And, she said, it shows just "how extreme the Republican Party’s position on abortion rights now is."
"The Romney-Ryan campaign has been attacking Obamacare by complaining about boards that would be involved. Who would a woman seeking an abortion have to stand in front of, and what would she have to prove?" Davidson asked.
# # #