For much of the political establishment, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is a fiscal wonk preoccupied with lowering the deficit he helped increase during the Bush/Cheney era.
But for those more familiar with his record, Ryan is, and has always been, a fierce culture warrior.
In recent years, Ryan fought against contraception access; he worked with Todd Akin to redefine rape; he said the government should force women impregnated by rape or incest to carry their pregnancies to term; he co-sponsored a "Personhood" measure that would ban in-vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control; and he twice voted for a constitutional amendment to prevent marriage equality.
As the new Congress gets underway, the far-right Wisconsinite appears to be picking up where he left off.
Despite the deep unpopularity of fetal personhood bills in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has again decided to cosponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that gives full legal rights to human zygotes from the moment of fertilization.
Ryan, who reportedly has 2016 presidential ambitions, had to de-emphasize his opposition to abortion without exceptions during the 2012 election to align his position with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But this year, Ryan has been tapped as a keynote speaker for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List's sixth annual Campaign for Life Gala, and he is re-upping his support for the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the country.
As was the case in the last Congress, the "Sanctity of Human Life Act" has no realistic chance of becoming law at any point in the next four years, but that obviously didn't dissuade Ryan, who wants to be on record backing the extreme proposal anyway.