By Michelle Goldberg, The Daily Beast
Indeed, Ryan exemplifies a strange sort of ideological hybrid that now dominates the GOP. On economic issues, he’s a hardcore libertarian who once said, "[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker...it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism." Yet when it comes to women’s control of their bodies, he quickly turns into a statist. "In the state of nature - the 'law of the jungle' - the determination of who 'qualifies' as a human being is left to private individuals or chosen groups," he wrote in a 2010 essay titled "The Cause of Life Can't Be Severed From the Cause of Freedom." "In a justly organized community, however, government exists to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right."
For anyone who wants to know how Ryan thinks, that essay is worth reading. It’s about 1,500 words long, but the word "woman" doesn’t appear in it once. Nor does the word "mother." To him, a woman's claim to bodily autonomy or self-determination doesn't merit even cursory consideration....
This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives - the dismissal of their choices as amoral exercises of "arbitrary will" - was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman's life or health is endangered."Ryan said he opposes abortion, period," reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He said any exceptions to a 'partial-birth' abortion ban would make that ban meaningless."
During that campaign, Ryan also expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions. According to another Journal Sentinel article, he "would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions. Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, 'If it's illegal, it's illegal.'"