Abortion as an Option after Rape: Paul Ryan Opposes It; Independent Women Support It

This is at Andrew Sullivan’s blog today:

Nate Cohn also points out that “undecided voters are disproportionately women, and there’s no question that an overwhelming majority of voters, let alone women, support permitting abortion in instances of rape or incest.

Paul Ryan’s fanatic views concerning “forced rape” in relation to abortion ought to tip independents to President Obama. And the next four years will probably see two more Supreme Court justices retire, which means that women’s rights will be in the balance. This is a big election. It matters who is President and which party controls the Senate. What kind of America do you want to live in? Which side are you on?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Abortion as an Option after Rape: Paul Ryan Opposes It; Independent Women Support It

  1. David Yates says:

    Gee, Santi, I’m not so sure that R&R’s position on the abortion issue is as sure-fire election-losing as you seem to think. According to the latest polls 50% of the U.S. population identify themselves as “pro-life” versus 41% calling themselves “pro-choice.” (That’s a record low for the pro-abortion option, btw. Admittedly, it’s only been in the last few surveys that the majority/plurality have leaned pro-life, but nonetheless it has to be said that right now the momentum is on the pro-life side of this.)
    Moreover, although Nate Cohn’s claim above is that “an overwhelming majority of voters, let alone women, support permitting abortion in instances of rape or incest,” having scanned his source for this conclusion, it simply doesn’t say that. First of all, I fail to see where it’s broken down between men and women. And second, it doesn’t mention rape or incest! Rather, it asks the broader question, “Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?”
    It doesn’t specify whether those polled, when bearing in mind “most cases,” are thinking more “rape,” or more “incest,” or in my opinion, a bigger factor, “when a woman’s life is in danger.” Heck, I’m about as pro-life as one can get and yet I’d be prone to making exceptions when a woman’s life was genuinely at risk.
    Is this a slam-dunk argument in my favour? No, I’m afraid not. But in light of the figures above, when it comes to how this issue will affect the election (if it’s even still an issue by November), I really don’t believe one can be overly confident going either way.

    • Santi Tafarella says:


      Any time one can remind women that Romney-Ryan are reactionaries against feminism and women’s equality, it helps solidify the women’s vote against them. And I think this election will be decided by women. Also, it matters where the women in question live. Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado are basically where the question of abortion will make a difference in a close race, not among evangelical women in the deep South or Mormon women in Utah.

      Both sides have approximately 46 percent of the population decided for them pretty firmly. The race is for that 8 percent of the electorate that has yet to break one way or the other. My guess is that it will go 5% with Obama and 3% with Romney, and it will be because Romney got himself too far out on the right-wing edge without the ability to pivot to the center.

      Obama is doing a good job reminding people, especially via Ryan, of just how reactionary and backward the Republican Party is. Against the strong headwind of high unemployment, Obama is running an impressive campaign. He probably shouldn’t be close, but the Republican Party confuses its Southern identity with an American identity. This is the last election that Republicans might win going hard right (and hard white). After that, the demographics will begin to overwhelm them and they’ll have to adjust more convincingly to the American center (or end up like the Republican Party in California).


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