NORFOLK, VA, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Romney introduced the pro-life Catholic as his vice presidential choice at a campaign stop in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday morning.

In his acceptance speech Ryan said, “America is more than a place; it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government.”

“We won’t replace our founding principles,” Ryan promised. “We will reapply them!” 

“America is founded on the essential belief that every person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Americans United for Life President Dr. Charmaine Yoest said in an e-mail sent to LifeSiteNews.com. “Paul Ryan has been an eloquent defender of life.”

Maureen Ferguson and Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association (TCA) told LifeSiteNews.com, “As a smart, serious Catholic, Congressman Ryan has been steadfast on issues of fundamental principle: defending religious liberty, life, and traditional marriage.”

The selection helped boost Romney’s standing with his party’s social conservatives after word leaked last month that he had considered “moderately pro-choice” Condoleezza Rice for vice president.

“The addition of a second strong pro-life leader to the ticket energizes the pro-life base – we are thrilled with this pick,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a press release. “By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children.” 

Over 14 years in Washington, Ryan has earned a 100 percent pro-life voting record with the National Right to Life Committee. He voted to affirm that life begins at conception, to grant the unborn 14th Amendment status, to ban partial birth abortion, to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and to bar abortion coverage from federal health care plans.

In 2010, he vowed, “I’m never going to not vote pro-life.”

However, Ryan has done more than vote pro-life; he has articulated his convictions.

“Rather than seeing children and human beings as a benefit, the ‘pro-choice’ position implies that they are a burden,” Ryan wrote in a 2010 article. That reduces “the number of human beings who can make choices.”

“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,” he concluded

He distanced himself from social issues at one point, saying of the same-sex “marriage” debate, “I don’t know why were are spending all this time talking about this.”

Ryan’s speech on Saturday focused on economic issues, saying that Obama has “a record of failure,” and America is facing “a different, and dangerous, moment.”

“We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes,” Ryan said in an allusion to Barack Obama’s judicial and economic philosophy. “This idea is founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed. This idea is under assault.”

The seven-term House member is best known for his economic ideology. The father of three from Janesville, Wisconsin, is a former speechwriter for Empower America, the think tank founded by Jack Kemp, William Bennett, and Jeane Kirkpatrick

His budget plan, the “Path to Prosperity,” proposed to reduce spending and radically reshape Medicare and Medicaid. After unveiling his budget, commercials surfaced depicting someone like Ryan pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff

Vice President Joe Biden claimed Ryan’s budget violates “the social doctrine my church teaches.” However, Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote a letter to Ryan praising the congressman’s “attention to the guidance of Catholic social justice in the current delicate budget considerations in Congress.”

Ryan has emphasized the pro-family aspects of tax reform, voting to eliminate the marriage penalty and the death tax. 

However, some Democrats still see the plan’s confusing provisions as their biggest issue against the ticket.

The addition inches a purple state closer to the GOP column.

Republicans have narrowly lost Wisconsin, a pivotal state with 10 election votes, in recent presidential elections. Before the Ryan announcement, polls showed the state remained a toss-up. 

Other observers have noted Ryan is the first pro-life Catholic on a Republican ticket since Roe v. Wade and believe his candidacy will put the the Catholic Church’s social teachings front-and-center on the national stage.

For the moment, pro-lifers are happy at the message the choice sends to the party and the contrast the ticket makes to the current administration.

“The pro-life Romney-Ryan team stands in sharp contrast to the avowed pro-abortion administration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden,” National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias said. “With the election of a Romney-Ryan ticket, America, and her children, will be in good hands.”