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Ryan identifies as Catholic and previously described himself as pro-life. He has supported several pieces of anti-abortion legislation during his time in Congress — including restrictions on minors seeking abortions, a ban on embryonic stem cell research, and a ban on so-called “partial birth” abortions.
But, according to his new op-ed, Ryan has since “come to believe that we must trust women and families — not politicians — to make the best decision for their lives.”
The congressman says he has listened to women across the country talk about their personal experiences with abortion. Some told him they became pregnant from abusive relationships or from sexual assaults. Others said they couldn’t afford to have another child.
Ryan heard from women who developed serious health issues during their pregnancies, and from underage girls are were afraid their parents would kick them out for getting pregnant.
“These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families,” Ryan writes. “No federal or state law banning abortion can honestly and fairly take into account the various circumstances that make each decision unique.”…
Ryan’s change of heart may signal a potential path forward for reproductive rights supporters eager to shift the political landscape around abortion, which has remained largely unchanged for the past several decades.
~ Tara Culp-Ressler, writing on Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-OH; pictured) gradual “evolution” from pro-life to pro-choice, Think Progress, January 28
[Photo via nymag.com]