Paul Ryan Imagines America That Doesn’t Even Consider Abortion

Representative Paul Ryan is earning a bit of criticism over comments made about abortion on Thursday. Ryan is unambiguously anti-abortion, and said that like-minded activists should try to find common ground with pro-choice individuals in order to advance their agenda.

The Wisconsin Republican said in a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List said that abortion opponents “need to work with people who consider themselves pro-choice – because our task isn’t to purge our ranks. It’s to grow them.”

“We don’t want a country where abortion is simply outlawed. We want a country where it isn’t even considered,” he said.

Ryan said that the anti-abortion base should stay strong, and said that pro-choice advocates often condemn their opponents until they give up their convictions. But, in Ryan’s words, “that would only demoralize our voters.”

He also said that instead of over-turning abortion outright, the pro-life movements should seek to make small changes to existing laws that “raise questions about abortion.”

Ryan’s comments are somewhat ambiguous, because he doesn’t exactly lay out what changes should be made to the law in order to “raise questions” about abortion. Still, he is angling for a bipartisan solution to the divisive issue, and his comments recall those of President Barack Obama himself.

Speaking in 2012 on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Obama said (emphasis ours):

“I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue—no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.”

Of course, the divide between the two is that President Obama supports Roe v. Wade, while Ryan does not. But there are some interesting questions here.

What do you think? Is Paul Ryan trying to find a backdoor to making abortion illegal, or can pro-choice and pro-life advocates come together to “reduce the need” for it?

[Image via: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons]