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Tim Ryan says he would ‘most definitely’ have Roe v. Wade ‘litmus test’ for federal judges

May 17, 2019 GMT

Rep. Tim Ryan, who had been a pro-life Democrat, now says he would “most definitely” have a Roe v. Wade “litmus test” for appointing federal judges if elected president.

“This is not something to be messed with,” the Ohio Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate said on MSNBC Thursday. “At this moment in history, people [could] try to dance around it I will have someone who will protect Roe v. Wade, no question about it.”

Mr. Ryan acknowledged that he had been a “pro-life Catholic.”

“And then I got to Congress, and I started hearing the stories of women who have had to deal with this situation, and it moved me,” he said. “It moved me emotionally; it moved me intellectually until I eventually changed my position to say hey, I don’t want the government between a woman and their doctor at all, ever.”


Asked if there was room in the party for pro-life Democrats, Mr. Ryan said he is a “big tent Democrat kind of guy.”

“I think we should have room for people of all different viewpoints,” he said. “Politics is about addition, not subtraction.”

That’s a contrast to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 Democratic contender from New York who said this week that the Democratic Party should be “100 percent pro-choice” and that it should be “non-negotiable.”

“We should not settle for less, and if our party cannot support women’s basic human rights, their fundamental freedoms to make decisions about their bodies and their futures, then we are not the party of women. ... I will not compromise on women’s reproductive freedom,” Ms. Gillibrand told The Washington Post.

The abortion issue has returned to the forefront this week with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signing into law a broad measure that outlaws the practice even in cases of rape and incest.

Proponents of the Alabama measure say it could ultimately spark a court battle that ends with the U.S. Supreme Court reversing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that generally legalized abortion in the United States.