Tim Ryan defends shift to supporting abortion rights
© Greg Nash

2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum MORE (D-Ohio) is defending the shift in his views on abortion, saying in a Tuesday interview that progressive voters will appreciate that he "evaluated new information." 

Ryan was previously anti-abortion rights but he announced in 2015 that he had switched position after listening to the stories of women who sought abortions. He also formerly held an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, but he broke with the organization after announcing he supported expanded background checks in the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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“My positions evolved over my 17 years in Congress based on evidence and information and experience around these school shootings, around actually meeting women who I talked with and sat with and heard their stories about abortions they’ve had and complicated pregnancies they’ve had, and that’s what influenced my decision to change on those really, really important issues” Ryan said on “CNN Newsroom” Tuesday.

“I think Democrats, and especially progressive Democrats, appreciate someone who takes in new information, who has new experiences, and then evaluates their position based on that new information and new experiences,” the lawmaker continued.

Ryan also said he was preparing for Wednesday night’s first debate among the crowded slate of Democrats running for president in 2020. He called it “speed dating with the American people,” since candidates will be limited to one-minute answers, and he previewed his quick introduction.

 “I’ve spent the last 45 year of my life living at the epicenter of forgotten communities, of the industrialization, of the opioid epidemic, of the healthcare challenges, infant mortality issues. I best understand, of all the candidates, exactly what the American people are going through every single day,” Ryan said.