It was the furthest that either Ryan or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has yet gone in criticizing Obama on abortion. Obama campaign ads have called Romney and Ryan extreme on the issue.
"Giving up any further pretense of moderation on this issue, and in complete disregard for millions of pro-life Democrats, President Obama has chosen to pander to the most extreme elements of his party," Ryan said at the Values Voters Summit, a gathering of pro-family voters and organizations in Washington. "In the Clinton years, the stated goal was to make abortion 'safe, legal and rare.' But that was a different time, and a different president. Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion -- at any time, under any circumstances and even at taxpayer expense."
The Democratic platform passed at the party's convention said the party "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay" -- a reference to tax-funded abortion. The platform added, in a knock against laws such as parental notifications and 24-hour waiting periods, "We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."
Said Ryan referencing an Obama theme, "'We're all in this together' -- it has a nice ring. For everyone who loves this country, it is not only true but obvious. Yet how hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born. ... When you get past all of the president's straw men, what we believe is plain to state: These vital questions should be decided, not by the caprice of unelected judges, but by the conscience of the people and their elected representatives. And in this good-hearted country, we believe in showing compassion for mother and child alike."
"We don't write anyone off in America, especially those without a voice. Every child has a place and purpose in this world. Everyone counts, and in a just society the law should stand on the side of life."
25 speakers reference the party's support for legal abortion, an average of eight speakers a night in what was the biggest emphasis on the issue since at least the 1992 convention. During his speech Obama said he didn't want government to "control health care choices that women should make for themselves." Biden said he favored a "future where women control their own choices, health and destiny." First Lady Michelle Obama said her husband believes women "are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care." The presidents of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America also spoke.
The Obama campaign has referenced abortion in more TV ads this year than any major presidential candidate in history.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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