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Thursday, July 16, 2009

When "Moral Purity" Is Valued Over Helping Women & Children

Rep. Tim Ryan was just ousted from the advosory board of Democrats for Life. The reason? Because he dares to insist that contraception is necessary to reducing abortion.

Please send your messages of protest to info@democratsforlife.org

If this happens in an organization that bills itself as progressively prolife--what future is there for the prolife movement? It is so out of touch with the reproductive justice concerns that women live with every day.

Especially when eight in ten people in the US who identify as prolife also advocate women's access to contraception.

So why doesn't the prolife movement--even organizations that say they differ from the mold-- include or represent us and our plans for reducing abortion?


Sophia said...

I completely agree with you about the contraception issue, Marysia, but there may be more going on here. According to one commenter at the site you linked to: "He recently voted for public funding for abortion for DC residents, advocated against conscience protections for health care works, supported embyonic stem cell research and had a 100 percent pro-choice voting record with the largest pro-abortion organization - NARAL - in 2008. I don't call that pro-life."

The above is a mix of issues--especially because conscience protection for health care workers can mean anything from not being forced to perform abortions to being allowed to unjustly deny women their contraceptive prescriptions. But if he got 100 percent prochoice approval from NARAl he may have had a significant shift of position that also helped lead, more reasonably, to the ouster.

Jen R said...

"He recently voted for public funding for abortion for DC residents"

Not quite. He voted to allow DC to use locally generated (i.e., not Federal) funds to pay for abortion. His reason for doing so was that it wasn't Congress's place to forbid it.

"advocated against conscience protections for health care works"

I assume that means this:

The concern was about contraception, not abortion.

"supported embyonic stem cell research"

Yeah, that one's true. I don't agree with that, though I can see how a pro-life person could come to a different conclusion.

"and had a 100 percent pro-choice voting record with the largest pro-abortion organization - NARAL - in 2008."

I haven't been able to find what votes that rating was based on. It's entirely possible that they were mostly contraception-related. I do note that NARAL did not endorse Ryan for re-election in 2008, and did not list him among the "2008 Winning Pro-Choice Candidates" here:


So, NARAL certainly doesn't think he's one of them.

I think what's going on is that Ryan a) is pro-contraception and b) doesn't think that every bill that's ostensibly targeted against abortion is necessarily helpful or legally sound. That would be more than enough to put him at odds with the pro-life establishment (of which I regret to say DFLA seems to be part), but it's not at all clear to me that his position has actually changed. Maybe it has, but I'd want to verify that independently, since I frankly don't trust the pro-life establishment, which generally has a very narrow and self-serving view of what constitutes "pro-life".

Marysia said...

Jen, thanks for doing all that research. Antiabortion critics of Ryan have been vague about what exactly his alleged "pro abort" votes are.

They have also criticized him for criticizing the prolife movement. Sheesh, a movement above constructive criticism...what kinda movement is *that*?

Sophia said...

Just catching up with this....Thanks, indeed, Jen, for doing such careful research on this issue.