Ryan’s Scary Abortion Answer, and How Biden Missed an Opening

One more thing about Thursday night’s VP debate.

On the big issue of abortion, Ryan was downright scary, though he tried to hide it with that good-guy mask he wears around.

First, he said he didn’t believe that this issue should be decided by unelected judges.

This is an old trope against the Supreme Court, but since Marbury vs. Madison, the Supreme Court has had the authority to decide what is constitutional and what is not.

So when it ruled, in Roe v. Wade, that women had the right to have an abortion, it was well within its bounds.

Ryan either doesn’t get that, or doesn’t respect that, and either of those is troubling.

But more troubling still is the unstated but obvious fact that if something terrible were to happen to a President Romney, we’d have Paul Ryan in charge with his Neanderthal views on abortion.

Ryan said, under a Romney-Ryan administration, abortion would still be legal in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother, which is a huge rollback in and of itself.

But what about under a Ryan administration?

The only real reason we have a vice president these days is in case of that awful emergency. And Ryan doesn’t believe in any exceptions for abortion. “I’m as pro-life as you can get,” he told The Weekly Standard back in 2010. Anti-abortion groups have hailed Ryan: See “Romney in Denial about Lethal Lack of Health Insurance."this laudatory column from “Pro-Life Wisconsin.”

Ryan has even compared Roe v. Wade to the “Romney in Denial about Lethal Lack of Health Insurance."pro-slavery Supreme Court Dred Scott decision of 1857.

Joe Biden made a mistake by not nailing Ryan on this issue and by not showing how out of touch Ryan is with most women in this country on abortion and contraception.

Instead, Biden narrowly answered the question about how he meshes his Catholic beliefs with his own views on abortion. He added only that he didn’t want to impose his views on others. And he ended by saying: “I—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.”

But Biden could have said, “If you become president, and one of my daughters gets raped, who are you to tell her that she shouldn’t be able to get an abortion?”

Ryan would have been hard-pressed to answer that one.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Romney in Denial about Lethal Lack of Health Insurance."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter