In an op-ed piece submitted to the Akron-Beacon Journal on Jan. 27, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan wrote that he changed his stance on abortion upon speaking to women who chose to have abortions.
He met with several women and listened to their experiences. The situations varied greatly, from abusive relationships and financial difficulties to rape and incest. One underage girl worried that she would be thrown out of the house if she revealed she was pregnant.
After meeting with the women and hearing about their situations, Ryan wrote, “No federal or state law banning abortion can honestly and fairly take into account the various circumstances that make each decision unique.” He acknowledged that because of these different circumstances, sometimes tough choices must be made.
Although Ryan had previously aligned with pro-life legislation like the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, the birth of his son seemed to have shifted his perspective. According to Ryan, it was after this that he saw the government “had no place in the room with the doctor as [he and his wife] made decisions about the pregnancy.”
When asked about the potential conflict between Ryan’s religious beliefs as a practicing Roman Catholic and his new perspective on abortion, Ryan replied, “The church has taught me to be compassionate and nonjudgmental. I invite others to bring their compassion and non-judgment to the conversation.”
“This is really about the government’s role in all of this. This is a very personal thing for people, and the government’s involvement just seems like a major overreach.”
Ryan’s change in opinion is great news and another step forward in further legalizing abortion. Hopefully, other politicians will follow his example.