Ex-Pro-Life Democrat, Congressman Tim Ryan, Faces More Abortion Criticism

State   Steven Ertelt   Aug 4, 2009   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Ex-Pro-Life Democrat, Congressman Tim Ryan, Faces More Abortion Criticism

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 4
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Ohio congressman Tim Ryan is digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole when it comes to his relationship with the pro-life movement. The former darling of the pro-life community has come full circle and is now refusing to take a firm pro-life stance and is supporting abortion in health care.

Ryan was initially elected as an Ohio congressman who was one of the rare pro-life Democrats in the Democratic Party. His willingness to stick his neck out earned him accolades, endorsements, and a seat at the leadership table of pro-life groups.

As LifeNews.com previously profiled, Ryan got himself kicked off the advisory board of Democrats for Life of America.

Between his pro-abortion voting record and his insistence on funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business in a warped version of a pro-woman, pro-life bill he had worked on for the pro-life Democrats group, Ryan increasingly alienated himself from pro-life advocates.

Now, Ryan is earning the scorn of pro-life advocates for claiming that a new amendment in the House version of the government-run health care bill that funds abortions is a "common ground" abortion effort.

Ryan’s new mantra is a so-called compromise between pro-life and pro-abortion groups and his desire to be a broker in that process now has him calling measures that are wholesale promotions of abortion "pro-life."

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Capps amendment, a phony "compromise" that essentially has resulted in ensuring that HR 3200, the House health care bill, will fund abortions and promote insurance mandates for abortion.

The amendment would explicitly authorize the government-run health care plan, known as the public option, to cover any and all abortions. It would mandate that every area of the nation have an insurance plan that paid for abortions and would allow the Obama administration to include abortions in the plan.

But to hear Ryan describe it, as he did to the Weekly Standard, the Capps amendment makes it "very clear that no public money can be used to provide and pay for an abortion."

Ryan’s description doesn’t pass the straight face test, even for a fellow Democrat, pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan.

Stupak told the Weekly Standard he believes the Capps amendment is a "phony compromise."

Rep. Chris Smith, who defines what it means to be a pro-life member of Congress, agreed.

"It’s one of the most deceptive amendments I have ever seen," Smith said. "The bottom line is that money is fungible, and the plan itself will be subsidizing abortion-on-demand, with taxpayer funding commingled, and the numbers of abortions will go up significantly."

"[Ryan] has no right whatsoever to advertise himself as right-to-life," says Smith, who notes that he has only cast pro-abortion votes since 2006.

But Ryan further dug his own grave when he told the conservative magazine something that appeared to borrow a page from President Barack Obama, when it asked him when life begins.

"That answer’s above my pay grade. That’s for God to determine," he said on the question of the beginning of human life. "I don’t know. I mean, that’s God. God knows when it begins, and when it ends, and all that other stuff."

With answers like that, it is no wonder that Kristen Day of Democrats for Life told the Weekly Standard that Stupak, and not Ryan, speaks for her group and the millions of pro-life Democrats across the country.

"As far as the health care bill is concerned, I think we have to make it very clear that Congressman Bart Stupak is speaking for pro-life Democrats," says Day. "We’re hoping at the end of the day Congressman Ryan will find his way back. He was elected by his constituents to be pro-life."

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