WASHINGTON, April 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urged opponents of abortion to find common ground on the issue but not to "abandon our pro-life beliefs."
Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012, told an audience at the Susan B. Anthony List gala in Washington Thursday voters who oppose abortion would be insulted if Republican candidates soften their position to gain favor with women or centrist voters, The Hill reported.
"Our critics say we should abandon our pro-life beliefs. But that would only demoralize our voters," he said. "It's an odd strategy, I think: the cynical ploy followed by the thumping defeat."
Ryan said his goal is not "a country where abortion is simply outlawed" but one "where it isn't even considered."
"To advance the pro-life cause, we need to work with people who consider themselves pro-choice, because our task isn't to purge our ranks. It's to grow them," he said.
Ryan urged anti-abortion activists to seek out whatever common ground they could with pro-choice voters who are open to some government restrictions on abortion.
"People who consider themselves pro-choice don't agree with us on everything," said Ryan. "But many agree we should stop taxpayer funding of abortion ... Many agree we should require parental notification."
The Hill said the Susan B. Anthony List was already gearing up for a pitched political battle with Planned Parenthood, which favors broad abortion rights and spent millions of dollars on behalf of Democratic candidates last year.