Pro-Abortion Group’s Current, Former President Conflict on Democrat Race

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 20, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Group’s Current, Former President Conflict on Democrat Race Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 20, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The current and former presidents of NARAL, one of the country’s top abortion advocacy groups, are at odds with each other on whether or not the group is actively urging Democratic leaders to oppose pro-life party chairman candidate Tim Roemer.

New NARAL president Nancy Keenan has come under fire for refusing to honor a previously scheduled phone appointment with Roemer while keeping her appointments with the other candidates, who all back abortion.

Roemer maintains he was snubbed because NARAL is actively making calls and urging its 27 state affiliates to contact state party leaders to oppose his chairman bid.

In an interview with The Hill newspaper, Keenan denied that her group is calling large numbers of DNC members or actively working to defeat a specific candidate.

"Phone-banking to me is an orchestrated, automated, long and expensive endeavor, and we’re not doing that," she said.

"We’re not aiming against any one candidate, but the leader of a party should respect a woman’s right to choose," Keenan added.

Yett, former president Kate Michelman, who forwent a candidacy or her own to ensure the new chairman backs abortion, said NARAL was indeed specifically targeting Roemer.

"NARAL is focusing on Roemer," she told The Hill.

Michelman indicated she has made phone calls to some 75-100 delegates asking them directly to oppose Roemer.

Meanwhile, to demonstrate his support with all Democrats, regardless of their views on abortion, Roemer unveiled endorsements from two pro-abortion California members of Congress, Reps. Anna Eshoo and Ellen Tauscher.

They called Roemer "the candidate we trust" and warned pro-abortion Democrats not to discount Roemer even though he opposes abortion.
"As chair of the DNC, he will not set policy nor will he propose altering the Democratic Party platform on this issue," Eshoo and Tauscher wrote in an endorsement letter. "We know Tim as a Catholic who has deep personal convictions on the issue of abortion."

They said they were endorsing Roemer because of his background on security issues resulting from his stint on the September 11 panel is interest in strengthening the party at the grassroots.

The two representatives also said backing Roemer would help show that the party is diverse and welcomes people with differing points of view on sensitive issues.

"His election would prove that we are an inclusive party that welcomes those who agree with our bedrock Democratic ideals, but may hold differing positions on issues across a number of policy areas," they wrote.

The 447 leaders of the DNC will vote on February 12 to select a new chairman to replace outgoing abortion advocate Terry McAuliffe.