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JANUARY, 28 -- Leaders from Planned Parenthood advocacy organizations today praised Congressman Tim Ryan’s honesty and courage coming forward publicly to explain how his views on abortion have evolved – from opposing access to safe and legal abortion to supporting a woman’s right to decide whether to end a pregnancy.

In the Akron Beacon Journal today, Congressman Ryan writes:

“I was elected to political office at a young age, and being raised in a Catholic household, always considered myself pro-life...  Today, I am a 41-year-old father and husband whose feelings on this issue have changed. I have come a long way since being a single, 26-year-old state senator, and I am not afraid to say that my position has evolved as my experiences have broadened, deepened and become more personal. And while I have deep respect for people on both sides of this conversation, I would be abandoning my own conscience and judgment if I held a position that I no longer believed appropriate.  I have come to believe that we must trust women and families—not politicians—to make the best decision for their lives.”

Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio released the following statements thanking Congressman Ryan:

“We are humbled by Congressman Ryan’s heartfelt commentary about a topic that is too often politicized and stigmatized,” said Stephanie Kight, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. “We look forward to working with Congressman Ryan to ensure that all women -- no matter where they live or how much money they have -- can access the care they need without political interference.”  

“We’re grateful for Congressman Ryan’s honesty and courage in sharing how his views have evolved to support access to safe and legal abortion,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Abortion is a complex and deeply personal issue, and Congressman Ryan’s journey is not unusual.  Congressman Ryan joins the overwhelming majority of Americans who want women to have access to abortion and don’t want politicians to interfere in women’s personal medical decisions. We thank Congressman Ryan for standing with women across Ohio and around the nation, and we look forward to working with him.”

Congressman Ryan’s disclosure comes just days after several Republican women in the House of Representatives balked at an extreme anti-abortion bill, exposing a split within the GOP leadership and causing the bill to be withdrawn from a planned vote at the last minute. Last week, Planned Parenthood sent a letter to every Member of Congress emphasizing that women’s health and economic security are deeply connected and laying out ways that the 114thCongress can move forward on improving health outcomes for women. You can view a copy of the letter here; and an accompanying fact sheet on Planned Parenthood’s services and the role that access to reproductive health care has played in economic advancement here.

Forty years after the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roe v. Wade, significantly more Americans want the landmark abortion decision kept in place rather than overturned, 53 percent to 29 percent. According to the Pew Research Center, large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), black Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82 percent of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. WadeSix in 10 young Americans believe abortion should be available in all or most cases, and 68 percent believe it should be available in their own community.