Rep. Tim Ryan: My Plan for Common Ground on Abortion

The Ohio Democrats explains his bill to reduce the number for abortions.

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Tim Ryan, a Democrat, represents the 17th Congressional District of Ohio. While Dan's away, we've asked a selection of prominent guest bloggers from a variety of perspectives to give their thoughts on religion and public life.

I am a pro-life member of Congress. I have voted in favor of parental notification laws, for the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, against abortion in federally funded military medical facilities, for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, against partial-birth abortion, and against human cloning. I stand by all those votes and, in addition, I have explained to Speaker Pelosi my position that healthcare reform should prohibit public funds from paying for abortions (a provision which the House Energy and Commerce Committee added to the bill).

I believe that for elected leaders like myself who oppose abortion, it's not enough to say what we're against; we must say what we are for. That is why I came together with my pro-choice colleague Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut to introduce the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act, which offers common-ground policy solutions to reduce abortions by addressing the root causes.

The act has two policy tracks: preventing unintended pregnancies and providing support for women who do become pregnant. The bill is backed by a broad coalition of pro-life and pro-choice supporters never before assembled. Together, we seek to reduce the number of abortions in our nation while reducing the rancor and acrimony that can too often lead to tragedy, such as the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller.

I remained convinced, and the data support, that for meaningful reductions in abortion, there must be a contraception component included to prevent unintended pregnancies. Four out of 10 unintended pregnancies end in abortion, and 57 percent of abortions are performed on women who live at or below 200 percent of the poverty line. Thus, we can't reduce abortions without preventing unintended pregnancies and providing support for low-income woman. My legislation does both.

I understand the sensitivity and emotional impact this issue has had for many Americans, but I believe that with my fellow colleagues, Secretary Sebelius, and President Obama, we can find a common sense solution to solve this debate. It is obvious that no American is pro-abortion, and I plan on working to create a solution that works for every American.

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