Democrats Should Soften Abortion Stance, Louisiana Governor Says

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 7, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Should Soften Abortion Stance, Louisiana Governor Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 7, 2004

Baton Rouge, LA ( — Democratic Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco on Friday said that, in the face of John Kerry’s defeat in last Tuesday’s elections, her party needs to moderate its pro-abortion views to appeal to Southern, Midwestern and rural voters.

Kerry lost the presidential race in large part because of the 22 percent of voters who said moral issues such as abortion were most important.

Blanco publicly supported Kerry but did little to campaign for him across the state, in part because his pro-abortion views were a turnoff to the state’s large Catholic contingent in and around New Orleans and the politically active Protestants in the more rural parts.

"John Kerry being a Catholic, he should have easily carried Louisiana. His positions were too far on the left, particularly on abortion," Blanco told the Associated Press on Friday. "It made it difficult for me to bring him into the places that would have otherwise been a natural constituency."

Blanco, who is pro-life, wouldn’t even say whether she supported Kerry, calling her vote "a private matter."

She told AP that Republicans have been better able to present themselves as the party that cares about moral issues, which were named most important in the presidential elections by those surveyed in exit polls. President Bush led among such voters by a 4-1 margin.

"The Republican Party on a national level has been able to capture a sense that God is on their side," Blanco said.

Last week, a national group for pro-life Democrats says the Democratic Party needs to moderate its rigid stance in favor of abortion.

"We are hopeful the national party will reassess its pro-abortion stance after the disastrous results of Tuesday night," Democrats for Life director Kristin Day said.

"They are costing us elections and abandoning our founding values of protecting and advocating for those who need a helping hand. At the top of that list should be helping protect the rights of the unborn."

Calling Tuesday’s election "one of the worst performances in recent memory," Day pointed to numerous election victories for pro-life Democrats as evidence that a position in favor of abortion is hurting most party candidates.

Democrats who took a pro-life position won a governor’s race in West Virginia, made runoffs in two Congressional seats in Louisiana and won a host of legislative seats in places such as Iowa, Missouri and Michigan.

“The good news is pro-life Democrats are winning campaigns," Day said. "Pro-life Democrats win because they withstand the pressure of the national party and represent the values of their local communities."

Polls show that Democratic party leaders don’t represent grassroots Democrats on abortion.

While a January 2003 Zogby poll revealed 43 percent of Democrats oppose all or most abortions, a CBS News poll indicated that delegates to the Democratic convention in Boston that nominated Kerry were twice as likely as Democratic voters to support abortion in all cases.