Sandra Fluke: 8 Points on Ryan’s Voting Record on Women’s Issues

Sandra Fluke: 8 Points on Ryan’s Voting Record on Women’s Issues


By Sandra Fluke

Since Rep. Paul Ryan was chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate, I’ve sent out tweets noting that by picking Ryan, Romney has doubled down on his dangerous stance on women’s health. I included links to articles describing Ryan’s abysmal record on the issue.

This being Twitter, supporters of Romney and Ryan responded. But rather than defend Ryan’s record,  they instead accusing me of making it up. This reaction of disbelief continued even after the spread of an internet meme and campaign trail pranks began drawing attention to Ryan’s positions.

Maybe that’s not surprising: Ryan’s record on women’s issues is so far outside the mainstream that many find it unbelievable.  Here are just a few of the anti-women votes Ryan has cast:

• Ryan voted for a bill referred to as the “Let Women Die Bill” because it proposed to allow hospitals to refuse a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life was in immediate danger. Currently, a federally funded hospital is required to provide at least enough care for a patient to be stabilized so that she doesn’t die and can be transferred to another hospital. The bill Ryan voted for meant that hospitals wouldn’t even have had to do that.

• Ryan co-sponsored a federal personhood bill. That bill declared a fertilized egg that hasn’t even resulted in a pregnancy to be the equivalent of a living person, with all of the rights of federal law. As a result, aspects of in vitro fertilization procedures and some forms of contraception would be criminalized, as would operations to save a woman’s life in the case of dangerous ectopic pregnancies that cannot be carried to term.

• Ryan repeatedly over several years voted against bills to ensure women equal pay for equal work, even voting against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

• Ryan voted to cut off Title X family planning programs that ensure impoverished and low-wage women affordable access to contraception as well as mammograms and cancer-screenings.

• Ryan’s budget attacks on Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and a broad range of social services (including child care, Head Start, job training, Pell Grants, housing and energy assistance) would disproportionately harm women’s economic wellbeing. That’s because the majority of beneficiaries of these programs are women, due to their longer life spans and greater likelihood of being impoverished.

• Ryan repeatedly voted over several years to end all funding for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services. Like Susan G. Komen’s defunding, voting to cut off funding of Planned Parenthood would rob women of access to breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, and the other life-saving services Planned Parenthood provides.  By law, federal funding of Planned Parenthood already excludes all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is in danger.

 • Ryan co-sponsored a bill that would deny many rape victims on Medicaid access to abortion. That bill proposed to cut off access through federally-funded programs for victims who were drugged or threatened, some victims of incest, and victims of statutory rape.

• Ryan voted repeatedly to prevent our female military service-members from using their own private money to pay for abortion at a military hospital. He also voted for legislation to allow bans on abortion coverage in the new state health-insurance exchanges, even for women paying with their own money.

If you find all of that unbelievable — and dangerous — you’re not alone.  But that’s the problem.  If voters assume no one could be that bad, and don’t learn the truth about Ryan’s record, Romney/Ryan will have the opportunity to put their vision for women’s health and economic security into action. That’s why we have to spread the word. By November, Ryan’s record shouldn’t be unbelieved, or unknown.

Sandra Fluke graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and has served as president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice.


  1. The first big test of a Presidential candidate is their choice of running mate. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to outdo the incredibly stupid choice McCain made in choosing an unknown and unvetted Sarah Palin, but Romney has managed it.

    The fallout from this first major choice of Romney's may not only lose the presidency for Romney, but wipe out several Republican House and Senate seats as well when congressmen and women have to defend their support of the Ryan budget and explain similar stances on women's issues. The spotlight on Ryan will spill over and expose like-minded Republicans in congress, and they don't look good in such harsh light!

    I don't know what Romney was thinking, if he was thinking at all. Ryan will widen the already insurmountable gender gap… and alienate seniors in the bargain!

    So, not only has Romney failed his first big test as a decision maker, he has also severely damaged his party. The only way these guys win is if Democrats and Independents don't bother to vote… or if their vote is supressed by Republican dirty tricks at the state level.

  2. It's amazing to me how many people think that simply based on a piece of legislation's title, it will do exactly what its title says. There is WAY more to legislation than that. Both sides routinely add amendments to legislation (because they believe the primary legislation will pass) that have NOTHING to do with the primary legislation. Beyond that, just because something is titled "make children's lives better" doesn't mean it will, and just because someone votes against it doesn't mean they hate children.

    The American people are ignorant and uneducated on topics like these, and both parties – and the media – take advantage of that in forming their propaganda. Where is this article's in-depth analysis of each item?

    For example…the Ledbetter Act was NOT to ensure fair pay. It's intent was to extend the statute of limitations dramatically. Also, President Obama has said it FAILED. I guess it's silly to think that maybe Ryan KNEW it was poorly written and that's WHY he voted against it. But nahhh, that would require a journalist to actually do some research, and write a longer article properly analyzing the issue. Quick hits with lowest common denominator politics, like this article, are much easier…and ignorant Americans gobble it up.

    • Here is the actual text of the LL Fair Pay Act and everyone who is tempted to believe Paul here can read it for themselves.

      What this does is reset the statute of limitations for reporting gender-discriminatory pay with each discriminatory paycheck that is issued by the employer. There is a simple way for the employer to get around this, and that's to revise the employee's pay to no longer be gender-discriminatory. There is nothing unreasonable about this at all. If you aren't a sexist employer, THIS LAW DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU.

      The United States military has NO trouble with the notion of paying military servicemembers the exact same pay for the exact same qualifications and does not discriminate by gender (with the exception of not allowing women into combat specialties and therefore disqualifying them from combat pay). Interesting that in Republican Fantasyland, the private sector always does things better than the government, and yet the government-run military has a single-payer health care system for its troops AND pays them fairly. Is there some reason the private sector just can't manage this, or are the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all dirty commie pinko hippies?

      • Wow are you a moron. How can you intelligently speak on military pay/benefits? You obviously have not served. If you had, you'd know that woman can and have received combat ( aka hazardous duty) pay. Additionally, there is no single payer health care system in the military. Active duty members receive free medical due to the risk/hazards involved with serving in the military…we defend our country and in doing so, many of us receive injuries or die. Lastly, the military pay system was based on grade long before women were allowed to serve…making a separate pay scale for women would have been more difficult. So you see, it is not prudent to speak of things you know nothing about because it only makes you look like a moron!