Pro-abortion and pro-life Democrats to present “common ground” during DNC

Pro-abortion and pro-life Democrats to present “common ground” during DNC

Sen. Barack Obama
Sen. Barack Obama


On August 27, during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, “Democrats for Life,” whose mission is to elect pro-life Democrats and promote a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party platform, will hold a Town Hall meeting with pro-abortion party members to present a “shared belief in reducing abortion rate.”

The public meeting will feature pro-life Congressman Lincoln Davis and U.S Senate Nominee Bob Tuke “representing pro-life and pro-choice view- points.”

Congressman Lincoln Davis has represented Tennessee's Fourth Congressional District since January 7, 2003; Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Robert D. Tuke is the former Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, former Co-Chair of the Kerry/Edwards Campaign in Tennessee and the Tennessee Political Director for Obama for America.

“Both support the Pregnant Women's Support Act that will reduce the abortion rate in America by 95% over the next 10 years. This discussion will prove that hope and change are possible in Washington if we focus on creating solutions based on shared values,” said Democrats for Life Executive Director Kristen Day.

During an appearance on ABC News' Good Morning America, Day said that "as a party we have to remember we are the big tent and have to make room for people with diverse views on this issue.  We're hopeful that some language will be included that will say pro-life Democrats welcome, but at the end of the day we're still Democrats and we're going to work hard to work on things that we strongly believe in."

"Political analysts around the country have been espousing for months that Senator Obama must be able to appeal to pro-life voters.  We believe that amending the platform language would be a critical step in further including pro-life Democrats into our Party," she added.

The Town Hall Meeting will be held at  Hotel Monaco, in downtown Denver. 

The Democratic Party's revised platform remains vehemently pro-abortion. It includes a new sentence that reads: "The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child, by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs."

But the platform also states that "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."

The phrase "regardless of ability to pay," refers to the party’s support for taxpayer-funded abortions.

According to Steven Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet, “the key linguistic debate has been whether to ‘reduce the number of abortions’ or ‘reduce the need for abortions.’ Pro-life folks favored the former. Pro-choice folks favored the latter. The pro-choice folks won. In fact, the 2004 platform said abortion ‘should be safe, legal and rare’ - language that casts abortion reduction as morally preferable, something this platform does not.”

Waldman also observes that “there is no ‘conscience clause’ acknowledging and respecting the diversity of opinion within the party on abortion. Pro-life Democrats had hoped for that.”

Nevertheless, Beliefnet’s editor-in-chief  believes that Democrats for Life and other “pro-life progressives” will continue to press “for improved language before and during the convention,” because “they are hoping that Obama himself will go further in his own language. Specifically, they're looking to see if Obama uses moral language that it's better to have fewer abortions than not.”

“All in all, I'd say that this platform does NOT do what was necessary to win substantial numbers of Catholics or moderate evangelicals. However, in combination with a strong personal statement from Obama about the moral necessity of reducing abortion, the party could make real headway,” Waldman says.