Pro-Life Democrat Faces Opposition From Massachusetts Party Leader

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 11, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrat Faces Opposition From Massachusetts Party Leader Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 11, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Days after pro-life former Indiana congressman Tim Roemer declared his candidacy for the chairmanship of the national Democratic Party, the head of the party’s Massachusetts affiliate says it would be "extremely foolish" for the pro-abortion party to select Roemer to lead it.

Phil Johnston, hailing from the home state of former presidential candidate John Kerry, said it would be unwise for the party to back Roemer, even though Kerry lost the presidential election.

"The fact that we lost the 2004 presidential race by a narrow margin should not result in the abandonment of our party’s core principles," Johnston told the Associated Press.

Though polls say Kerry’s pro-abortion stance contributed to his defeat, Johnston said that Democrats would only regain the White House by doing a better job of articulating its core principles like its support for unlimited abortion.

"It would be extremely foolish if the DNC were to be led by a chair who agrees with the Bush administration’s position on abortion," Johnston added.

That’s the view of leading abortion advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Democrats who back abortion are so concerned that Roemer could be elected that former NARAL president Kate Michelman has said she is seriously weighing a candidacy of her own.

After Roemer declared his bid for the chairmanship, Michelman told the Associated Press that "the election of such a staunchly anti-choice leader would signal that the Democratic Party is retreating from one of its core principles."

Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, accuses Roemer of rejecting Democrats’ "core belief" in unlimited abortion.

Roemer, a Catholic who served on the 9/11 commission, compiled a strong pro-life voting record as a member of Congress. But, he understands he can’t change the Democratic party’s pro-abortion position overnight.

"I’m not asking to rewrite the platform," he said on ABC’s "This Week," where he announced his bid for the leadership post.

"We have a majority of our party, an overwhelming majority of our party, that is pro-choice, and I respect that," Roemer told ABC News. "But I think we should not only be more inclusive on this issue, especially in the Midwest and the South if a candidate has those views, we should have them in our party."

Over 400 Democratic Party leaders are expected to vote in April.

Also seeking the chairmanship nod are former Texas Rep. Martin Frost, party activists Simon Rosenberg and Donnie Fowler, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and former Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Leland.

Howard Dean, a former Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont governor, announced Tuesday that he is joining the race as well.

All of the candidates, except Roemer, back abortion.