A Democratic committee has rejected efforts to broaden the party's platform in order to acknowledge and welcome “differing positions” on the issue of abortion.
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, told CNA on Aug. 15 that there is a lack of understanding about the extent of pro-life support within the Democratic Party.
She explained that it can be difficult for pro-life Democrats to speak up about their views, because they face attacks not only from their Republican opponents, but from pro-abortion groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America as well.
According to Democrats for Life, nearly one-third of all Democrats self-identify as pro-life, and in the 2008 election, about one-fourth of Obama’s supporters considered themselves pro-life.
“These numbers are not trivial,” the group said, pointing to Gallup polling information from 2011 revealing that 61 percent of Democrats support “parental consent for minors seeking abortion.”
In addition, the polling data found that 60 percent of Democrats approved of a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, and 84 percent of party members support informed consent requirements.
Furthermore, 49 percent of Democrats are in favor of ultrasound requirements before an abortion, while 59 percent support a ban on partial-birth abortions, the data indicated.
“We represent a large contingent and a diverse group of pro-life democrats who want to be represented in the Democratic Party,” said Janet Robert, who serves as president of Democrats For Life of America.
“As a big tent party that is open-minded and inclusive, we should be welcoming to those who are pro-life,” she explained.
“A stronger inclusive party allows us to focus on the issues that unite us such as providing economic opportunity for everyone.”
In an attempt to bring about change, Democrats for Life submitted written testimony proposing new platform language on July 20 and was permitted to subsequently provide oral testimony before the party’s drafting committee.
According to the group, it was the first time in more than 20 years that the committee had heard from a pro-life voice within the party.
The proposed platform language acknowledged that members of the Democratic Party “have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty.”
“However, we can find common ground,” it added, emphasizing the party’s unity in supporting policies to aid those facing difficult pregnancies.
It also promoted “a breadth of options” for women facing pregnancies, including support and resources for adoption and parenthood, with access to education, healthcare and childcare.
“We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term,” the proposed platform addition stated.
But despite the organization’s efforts, the request to broaden the party’s platform on abortion was rejected by the committee, Day said.
Despite the setback, Democrats for Life is planning to showcase pro-life party leaders at an event at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
"Our message is simple,” explained Day in a statement. “If you are pro-life and a Democrat, you can make a difference, thus the case for recognition.”