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Democrats for Life: Congressman Ryan Losing His Way?

By Kristen Day
July 16th, 2009
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

After his last vote in favor of taxpayer funded abortions, his credibility as a pro-life legislator has crumbled.

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) - File this one under “timing is everything in politics.” A recent Ohio poll showed that 64.2 percent of Ohioans strongly oppose public funding of abortion. Another 5.8 percent somewhat disagreed with that practice.

At the same time this poll was being conducted, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, an alleged pro-life Democrat, voted to support a bill to allow public funding of abortion. This is either unlucky timing for Congressman Ryan or a clear illustration of a politician abandoning the base that helped elect him to his current office.

It’s no secret that Congressman Ryan is very politically ambitious and has his eyes set on a statewide office in the near future. So maybe he’s proactively abandoning his pro-life roots in hopes of sliding his hands into the deep pockets of the national pro-choice donor base. Maybe he made a mistake and didn’t realize he was voting for taxpayer funded abortions.

Either way, he has made a serious political misstep.

There was a time when pro-life Democrats were proud of Congressman Ryan. He was even elected to the National Advisory Board for Democrats For Life of America (DFLA). But in the last year or so Congressman Ryan’s voting record has become more and more pro-abortion. After his last vote in favor of taxpayer funded abortions, his credibility as a pro-life legislator has crumbled with the national pro-life community.

These developments forced DFLA to quietly remove Congressman Ryan from the National Advisory Board last year. DFLA gave Congressman Ryan ample opportunities to prove he’s committed to protecting life but he has turned his back on the community at every turn.

And while DFLA embraces the notion that there is room in the Party for differing views, Members of Congress should not be tricked into believing that pro-life Democrats allow themselves to be taken for granted. For now, pro-life Democrats have lost a promising, rising star to the pro-choice movement.

But the fluctuating tides of Washington may cause Congressman Ryan to reverse his stand once again. Many will be watching Congressman Ryan and which side of the abortion debate he plans to finally land on. DFLA would gladly welcome him back, but he has to have his eyes, and not his back, focused on the comfort of home before he can be taken seriously.

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Kristen Day is the Executive Director of Democrats for Life, Inc., a national organization for pro-life members of the Democratic party.Democrats for Life of America exists to foster respect for life, from the beginning of life to natural death.

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