Today Congressman Tim Ryan took a bold step away from the pack and told the Akron Beacon Journal that his stance on Abortion has shifted. In his fourteen years as a politician in the state of Ohio, Ryan has remained true to his political and religious stance on abortion, which led him to publicly proclaim himself as Pro-Life. But after hearing stories from women across the state and the nation, it was virtually impossible for Ryan to carry on with business as usual while carrying the narrative of these women’s trials with him.
Congressman Ryan quoted Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro writing that, “Nobody celebrates abortion.” And this is indeed true. Would we love to live in a world where every single pregnancy is chosen? And every single fetus can be carried to term without any complications? Yes. I think we can all agree that, this is a world we’d all love to live in. But it is not, and until we can make it to that day where we live in that utopia “the heavy hand of the government must not make this decision for women and families” as Congressman Ryan stated.
So what happens when there is a paradigm shift in regards to choice? Perhaps the work shifts to comprehensive sex education. Study after study has shown that when students are educated early on they are more likely to make better decision for themselves. Across the globe, we see that comprehensive sex education is working, and is continually driving down the teen pregnancy rates in countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.
What Congressman Ryan has decided does not make him a traitor. It makes him aware that this country cannot be headed towards, and retain, greatness if we do not support programs and legislation that “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.”
Both Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio and Planned Parenthood Federation of America are elated to have a new ally in Congressman Ryan. “We are humbled by Congressman Ryan’s heartfelt commentary about a topic that is too often politicized and stigmatized,” said Stephanie Kight, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio stated in a press release. “We look forward to working with Congressman Ryan to ensure that all women — no matter where they live or how much money they have — can access the care they need without political interference.”
“We’re grateful for Congressman Ryan’s honesty and courage in sharing how his views have evolved to support access to safe and legal abortion,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Abortion is a complex and deeply personal issue, and Congressman Ryan’s journey is not unusual. Congressman Ryan joins the overwhelming majority of Americans who want women to have access to abortion and don’t want politicians to interfere in women’s personal medical decisions. We thank Congressman Ryan for standing with women across Ohio and around the nation, and we look forward to working with him.”
If we are to hold tight to myth that we as Americans should be able to pull ourselves up by our proverbial bootstraps, those bootstraps for women are shaped in the unwavering need to have full autonomy of our bodies. I applaud Congressman Ryan for honoring and acknowledging that our stances and should consistently be questioned and when appropriate should be shifted to accommodate a new way of thinking.