Pro-Life Democrats: Party Must Reform Abortion Agenda to Win Nationwide

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrats: Party Must Reform Abortion Agenda to Win Nationwide Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 6, 2004

Washington, DC ( — In the wake of another defeat of a pro-abortion presidential candidate to a pro-life Republican, pro-life Democrats say their party must reform its hardcore position in favor of abortion and learn to speak to voters in the South and Midwest who it has turned off in the process.

Writing in an op-ed column in National Review, Democrats for Life director Kristin Day says it should come as no shock that Kerry failed to attract pro-life Democrat voters.

"[Pro-life] Democrats are not surprised by the outcome of this year’s election," Day explained. "In fact, pro-life Democrats have been pleading with their party to be respectfully included."

"Unfortunately, the ‘big-tent’ Democratic party has allowed itself to be controlled by pro-choice forces and suffered as a result," Day explained. "For the past 25 years, pro-life Democrats have been leaving the party over the issue of abortion."

Day points to the shifts in Congress to reveal how a change from a pro-life position to a pro-abortion stance have hurts Democrats overall.

Twenty-five years ago, Democrats held a 292-seat majority in the House and 125 of those seats belonged to pro-life Democrats. Over time those numbers have shifted.

Today, Democrats are in the minority and only a few dozen Democrats support the pro-life perspective.

"Why is the national party ignoring these trends," Day asks. "The truth is that some pro-choice forces in the Democratic party would rather lose than run a pro-life candidate."

Day isn’t alone in her views as pro-life lawmakers in Missouri are working to change the dynamics in the Show Me State.

Missouri is an exception to most states, with some 30 Democratic state legislators taking a pro-life position. They say the party needs to reassess its pro-abortion views to be successful.

State Rep. Patricia Yaeger of St. Louis, told the St. Louis Review newspaper that the Democratic candidate for governor, state auditor Claire McCaskill, would have won had she been pro-life.

McCaskill "would have cleaned up if she would have been a pro-life woman," Yaeger said.

Yaeger said pro-life Democratic candidates still have a tough time because the party is viewed as pro-abortion and voters assume all Democrats back abortion.

"I had to work harder to get that message out," she told the Review. "Some people assume that if you are a Democrat you aren’t pro-life."

Still, she believes party leaders will take notice if pro-life Democrat candidates win at local and state legislative levels.

Sara P. Espinoza, president of the Democratic League of Miami-Dade County in Florida says she believes the party’s pro-abortion views contributed to its general across the board defeat last month.

"The Party’s current leaders have failed to put the interests of America first," Espinoza "They’ve failed to stand up for the weakest and most vulnerable among us."

Polls confirm that a pro-life position helps pro-life candidates and, three weeks before the election, one showed that President Bush’s pro-life stance gave him an eight percent advantage over John Kerry.

Polls also show the monolithic pro-abortion views of Democratic Party leaders and presidential candidates don’t represent the views of all Democrats.

In December 2003, a Zogby poll found 43 percent of Democrats oppose abortion.

Meanwhile, a June 2004 CBS News poll focusing on the party’s annual convention found that "almost twice as many Democratic delegates as Democratic voters think abortion should be permitted in all cases."

"If Democrats are going to be a majority party again, Democrats must embrace pro-lifers and encourage them to come back," Day concludes. "To do that, we first have to prove that we’re sincere in our openness and that we stand behind our ‘big tent’ policy of welcoming those with differing views on issues such as abortion."

Related web sites:
Democrats for Life of America –