Monday, July 20, 2009

Updated - Rep. Tim Ryan Booted from Democrats for Life - Why It Matters

Last week, Democrats for Life of America President Kristen Day penned an article for Catholic Online in which she revealed that Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) had been removed from the group's advisory board, excerpt:
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.

Speaking to on July 13, Ryan called Democrats for Life of America a "fringe group" and said:
“We’re working in Congress with groups that agree with preventative options while [the DFLA] is getting left behind,” Ryan said. “I can’t figure out for the life of me how to stop pregnancies without contraception. Don’t be mad at me for wanting to solve the problem.”

Ryan achieved a 0 percent score from National Right to Life both in 2009 and 2008 and last week he did something truly astonishing for a self-described "pro-life" congressman.

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) had proposed a amendment to remove funding for abortion from the DC Appropriations bill. The Rules Committee barred consideration of the amendment. 39 Democrats voted to bring Davis' amendment up for a vote. Tim Ryan did not.

So not only is Tim Ryan no longer pro-life - he is actively working against pro-life Democrats who have risked their political careers to support life in the party.

DFLA's Day speculated in her column at Catholic Online that lust for higher office may be responsible for Ryan's about face on abortion, but she held out hope he would change again.

Why it Matters that Ryan is not Pro-life

A friend who works on Capitol Hill believes that Ryan along with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will introduce the Reducing the Need for Abortions Initiative this week. The move has already been telegraphed by a number of Catholic prObama groups and so has the spin. Writing in the Washington Post last week, two officials with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good wrote:
President Obama has emphasized respectful dialogue and supports efforts to help women avoid the tragedy of abortion. Pro-life Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and pro-choice Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) are sponsoring legislation in the House with the goal of reducing the number of abortions.

The Ryan-DeLauro Bill looks to be presented as the President's much vaunted "common ground" approach to reducing abortion - appealing to both pro-life and pro-choice leaders. Problem is, it is sponsored by two pro-choice legislators. By his consistent moves in the last two legislative sessions, Rep. Ryan has given up any claim to being pro-life. As we mentioned above, he is actually working against pro-life Democrats.

This Ryan-DeLauro bill is meant to derail any truly common ground approach to aid women in crisis pregnancies and their families. In its previous incarnations the bill is top heavy with hundreds of millions for Planned Parenthood and lite on actual support for women. Its unveiling this week will reveal whether it gives more to Planned Parenthood and abortion providers than before.

That is my fear and should cause concern for all who have supported common ground efforts to reduce abortion. Now more than ever, it is critical for Democrats and Republicans to show support for the Pregnant Women Support Act written by Democrats for Life and strongly supported by the USCCB.


Mark Shea sums up what common ground on abortion means for President Obama as no one can:
"Common Ground" means "On the one hand, legalize abortion; on the other hand, federally fund it."

And if that ends up being the end all and be all of "reducing the need for abortion", Deal Hudson at InsideCatholic and the widely respected chair of the Congressional pro-life caucus, Rep. Chris Smith, both opine that President Obama lied to Pope Benedict about his intention to reduce abortions.

Facilitating that lie were not only the now totally discredited DNC Catholic shingle front groups, but the editor of L'Osservatore Romano as Hudson reports.