The Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan is well to the right of most Americans on the issue of abortion. Ryan believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases except if it endangers the life of the mother. Ryan believes life begins at conception, and as a result a women should be forced to carry a fetus to term even if it was the result of rape or incest. The fact that rape may happen to be the “method of conception,” as Ryan phrases it, does not change Ryan’s position on whether the government should allow abortion.
This puts Ryan well outside the mainstream. According to a new CBS News poll only 21 percent think abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. By comparison an overwhelming 75 percent of voters think abortion should be allowed at least in those cases.
The poll also found that most voters are at least willing to consider voting for someone even if they don’t agree with their opinion on abortion. 57 percent said it was possible they would vote for someone who disagrees with them on abortion while 34 percent said they would not.
The fact that Ryan is extremely to the right on this issue may not automatically cause most people to vote against the Romney/Ryan ticket, but it could still seriously hurt the ticket if Democrats chose to highlight it. It feeds the Democratic narrative that the Republican party has become extreme, and it could make Ryan seem uncompassionate towards women.
The Romney ticket is already suffering from a big gender gap among women. Making it known that Ryan wants there to be a law that would make you or your daughter bear the child of a rapist can produce a very emotional and visceral reaction.