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Ryan in the crosshairs of pro-life groups

Published: Fri, August 14, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

By David Skolnick

It wasn’t that long ago that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan received praise from some of the nation’s leading pro-life groups.

Now Ryan receives anger and scorn from officials with the National Right to Life Committee, the Democrats For Life of America and Ohio Right to Life for his positions on what they consider pro-life issues.

The NRLC, probably the most prominent pro-life organization in the country, has declared war on Ryan of Niles, D-17th.

The group calls Ryan a “pro-life impersonator” and has gone so far to create a Web page — http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/RyanUpdate.html — that links to what it calls “several detailed documents regarding Ryan’s pro-abortion activities.”

The organization also says Ryan has become “a major asset to the pro-abortion lobby.”

The DFLA kicked Ryan off of its national advisory board because “he has turned his back on the [pro-life] community at every turn,” said Kristen Day, its executive director.

“Tim Ryan has completely lost his way regarding the pro-life movement,” added Mike Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life.

So what did Ryan do to cause such backlash from these pro-life organizations?

Ryan said he tried to convince DFLA officials that the use of contraception is needed as part of any plan to reduce unintended pregnancies.

“I can’t figure out for the life of me how to stop pregnancies without contraception. Don’t be made at me for wanting to solve the problem,” Ryan told me last month.

DFLA and NRLC officials say that’s not the reason.

They contend Ryan stopped voting for pro-life issues in 2007, and is serving as a “front man” for the pro-choice movement. Ryan vehemently disagrees with that saying he’s doing everything he can to reduce the number of abortions.

Ryan certainly didn’t endear himself to these organizations by recently proposing a bill — it went nowhere when first introduced in 2006 — to reduce unintended pregnancies by making contraception easier to obtain, provide more aid to women who proceed with unintended pregnancies and expand adoption programs.

Supporters of the bill include the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NARAL Pro-Choice America, two leading pro-choice groups, as well as the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, a pro-life group, and pro-life ministers.

The attacks on Ryan by the pro-life crowd has attracted national attention.

Slate, a left-leaning online magazine, and The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, both published articles earlier this month on the topic.

‘Pro-lie Democrat?’

It should come as no surprise that The Weekly Standard slammed Ryan in an article titled, “A Pro-Lie Democrat?”

As for the Slate piece, it was much, much kinder to Ryan. The article describes the statements of the NRLC’s legislative director’s critique of Ryan as “incoherent.”

Ryan’s voting record on abortion issues is inconsistent based on groups tracking such votes.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL gave Ryan a zero percent in 2006. He got a 100 percent the next year from NARAL and a 43 percent from Planned Parenthood.

The NRLC gave Ryan an 80 percent score for the 2005-06 congressional session and then a zero for 2007-08. He’s got a zero from NRLC so far this year.

The Slate article points out that the total number of votes on the NRLC’s scorecard for 2007, 2008 and 2009 is 10 and they were mostly on stem cells, drug price controls and contraception issues.

It’s been said many times that people shouldn’t talk about politics or religion.

Abortion takes in both of those and Ryan finds himself in the middle of the polarizing debate on this issue.

It shows that one person’s pro-life is another person’s pro-choice.


1andersonathan(687 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Good most people in the middle of the road get run over. Maybe it is time for a change in the MV. Taking in account his voting record and his stance on cap and trade and health care maybe he has a copy of Saul Alinsky books in his closet also.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Ryan wants the votes from both sides but he caters to the left where he gets most of his votes . What does he really stand for ? I don't think that even Tim knows .

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3DouglasJohnson(6 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

This is an informative article, but it barely scratches the surface. On the National Right to Life site, there is an article that explains in detail how in recent weeks, Ryan has actively worked with the pro-abortion lobby, attempting to undermine the efforts of genuine pro-life lawmakers, in both parties, to prevent the Obama health care bills from providing massive subsidies to health plans that cover elective abortion -- including the huge new "public plan" that the bills would create. The article is here:

The National Right to Life site also has a detailed explanation of how Ryan was instrumental in a July 7 Appropriations Committee vote to remove a longstanding ban on government funding of abortion on demand in the District of Columbia. Ryan has claimed, in this newspaper, that he did not vote for taxpayer funding of abortion, but this is bogus: He voted specifically to allow the D.C. bureaucracy to fund abortion on demand with funds appropriated by Congress. The details are here, along with much more about Ryan's pro-abortion activities:

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
Washington, D.C.

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4DouglasJohnson(6 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

By the way, the Slate article referred to above was in error in suggesting that National Right to Life downgraded Ryan's score partly based on "contraceptive issues." National Right to Life has no position on contraception. The votes referred to by Slate were on amendments that would not have reduced funding for federal contraceptive programs by one penny, but would have steered the money away from the groups that most aggressively promote abortion as a method of birth control.

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
Washington, D.C.

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5Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

"Ryan in the crosshairs..." ...and...."The NRLC..has declared war on Ryan?" Wow! Makes it sound like these folks are pro-death!

Let's get real. Abortion is what it is. At least in most states:


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6Woody(493 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

"Don’t be made at me for wanting to solve the problem,” Ryan told me last month."

Looks the Vindy needs to hire better proofreaders

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7Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I am getting really sick of these "pro-life" people. They at at these town halls yelling about their freedom and rights but then they want to take away someone elses freedom and rights. It's just ignorance all the way.

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8valleyred(1103 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

On Tim Ryan's facebook.com page, he claims he is a moderate. Haha give me a break!

The non-partisan website, OnTheIssues, puts Ryan in the heart of the left-liberal end of the political spectrum.

FYI: The same website had Jim Traficant as a moderate conservative.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago


"I am getting really sick of these "pro-life" people. They at at these town halls yelling about their freedom and rights but then they want to take away someone elses freedom and rights. It's just ignorance all the way"

Yes, who are they to even suggest that an unborn child has a right to live ? Well they are not the evil ones such as yourself who champion the killing of the most innocent , THE UNBORN !

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10epicfail(217 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

They aren't all innocent...


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11Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Okay Stan,

How does your significant other use birth control? Same thing. Your child is conceived and then aborted from a daily hormone. If you say you have never been a part of birth control then you are a liar. Most pro-life men are and they don't even realize it.

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12Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Being a nurse I had to do rotations in many places during my studies. The abortion clinics were the real eye openers. I always thought they were used as a form of birth control from young irresponsible girls. The reality is that most of even the first trimester abortions were also due to health related risks. Older women who went through menapause and thought they were no loonger able to get pregnant topped the list. Some of them would have been too high risk just carrying the baby let alone delivering. And I am talking about up to 70 years old. Don't forget the people who flat out have medical conditions that they found out after they conceived and were very upset to have to choose their own life and very much would have loved to have the child.

Don'r forget that a miscarriage is also called an abortion because most of them have to be aborted out if they don't come out on their own.

Don't forget the victims of rape or sexual assault. So your saying not only did they not have the choice to when and how they conceived but they shouldn't have a choice wether or not to be a human incubator for 9 months. Did you ever thing of the additional emotional stress of carrying a baby for nine months and giving it up for adoption. Or choosing to be a single parent. I'm sure with your attituse you would set prejudice against a single mom without even knowing her story. Just like most people.

There are many reasons why this is legal and very few are the reasons most pro-lifers are against it. I hope you or no one in your faily ever has to deal with some of these situations. They are emotionally damaging even to the "killer of the unborn" as you call it.

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