Ryan described himself as a pro-life Catholic when he first ran for Congress in 2002 but flipped to be pro-abortion later on, at one point condemning crisis pregnancy centers in Ohio as “fake women’s health centers.”
In a 2015 op-ed, Ryan explained the switch, saying he had “gained a deeper understanding of the complexities and emotions that accompany the difficult decisions that women and families make when confronted” with pregnancy.
Ryan has earned a consistent 100% rating from NARAL since 2010 and voted for the second time this year for the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), considered the most radical piece of abortion legislation yet.
The WHPA would forbid any kind of abortion restrictions before and after fetal viability as determined by a doctor and obliterate pro-life laws across the country, including limits on late-term abortions.
Meanwhile, Republican candidate and Catholic convert J.D. Vance describes himself as “100% pro-life.”
Vance has expressed his support for a national 15-week ban on abortion and favors pro-child and pro-family policies, including child tax credits.
Catholic vs. Catholic
The race between the two Catholics with radically divergent views is one of the nation’s most closely-watched Senate elections.
EWTN’s newest poll, based on responses collected from Oct. 14–18, shows that Vance leads among Catholics in Ohio. Over 55% of likely Catholic voters in the state support Vance, while 41% back Ryan. Vance was most popular among Catholics who say they attend Mass daily while Ryan captured the majority of Catholics who attend Mass once a year or less.
Vance currently leads Ryan by more than 2 percentage points according to other recent polls, with 47.1% support compared with Ryan’s 44.8%.
Edie Heipel is a former Political Correspondent for CNA's Washington, D.C. bureau. She previously worked in communications for Center for Renewing America, served in the Trump White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and has been a contributor to various outlets including The Federalist and The Charlotte Lozier Institute. She is a graduate of Wheaton College.