Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) has held a strong anti-abortion stance ever since he entered office. In 2009, though, he was kicked out of Democrats for Life of America over sponsoring a bill providing access to birth control and (oh noes!!) sex education. Because everyone knows such slutty slut-supporting services are unnecessary when all women have to do is hold that aspirin firmly between their knees, amirite?
Anyway, Ryan credits actual conversations with actual live women with changing his mind -- although his desire to run for the Senate might have a teensy little bit to do with it. Who knows? Tim has set an example for how to effectively change your public position, and that's all that matters. Via Mediaite:
Now, in an editorial for the Akron Beacon-Journal, Rep. Ryan says that after talking to numerous women in his district, his views on abortion have changed drastically: while he now believes that the decision to have a child should be a “personal decision,” “the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.”
“There are endless stories about women in troubling situations — the woman who became pregnant and has a violent spouse; the woman who lost her job and is unable to afford another child; or the underage girl worried she’ll be thrown out of her house if she reveals her pregnancy,” he wrote.
“Each of these women lived through difficult and personal situations with few options and no clear path to take. This is why there is no easy answer.”
He continued with a vision of how government could step in:
As my friend and colleague U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro says, “Nobody celebrates abortion.” No woman makes this decision lightly. Each and every American deserves the right to deal with these difficult situations in consultation with their families, close friends or religious advisers. No federal or state law banning abortion can honestly and fairly take into account the various circumstances that make each decision unique.
Where government does have the ability to play a significant role is in giving women and families the tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies by expanding education and access to contraception. We must get past the ignorance, fear and — yes — discrimination against women that lead to restrictions on contraception and age-appropriate sex education.
Only then can we hope to continue to make significant advances in what should be our true, shared objective: reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, which make up the vast majority of abortions. Isn’t that a simple approach on which we all could agree? This is not a partisan issue, but instead a personal one.
You know what? I do celebrate abortion. Every time I see some horrible news story about yet another mother who kills her child in some excruciating way (a few weeks ago, we heard of a women who set her newborn on fire and left him in the middle of the road during a bitter cold night), I say to myself, "Thank God for all the women who knew themselves well enough to get an abortion -- before things got to that point."
Because whether anyone wants to "celebrate" it or not, abortion is a tool that helps women make responsible choices. And if it was cheaper and easier to access, there'd be a lot more of them. That's why free-market conservatives love to put roadblocks in the way.