by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2005
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — During the presidential election, Howard Dean drew criticism from pro-life groups for his record as governor. He was considered one of the more ardent pro-abortion candidates given his desire for nearly free abortions in his state’s health plan and his stint working at Planned Parenthood.
Now, as the national chairman of the Democratic Party, Dean is trying to reach out to pro-life Democrats. He seeks to bring them back into the fold at a time when they largely are supporting Republican candidates for president who oppose abortion.
At a meeting of Democrats in Mississippi, Dean may have extended an olive branch to pro-life Democrats but he alienated pro-life Republicans in the process.
"We are going to embrace the pro-life Democrats. Pro-life Democrats care about kids after they’re born, not just before," Dean told a statewide gathering.
That’s upsetting to Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, whose group worked to encourage pro-life people of all parties to vote in the 2004 elections.
"If pro-life Democrats care about kids after they’re born as well as before, it’s because they’re pro-life, not because they’re Democrats," Pavone said in response.
"I certainly hope the outreach of the Democratic Party to its pro-life members will not continue to echo this highly unfair implication that the rest of the pro-life movement does not care about born children," Pavone added.
For Kristen Day of the Democrats for Life of America, Dean’s commitment to reaching out to pro-life Democrats is refreshing in that it comes after he’s already been named as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
"We are excited that Chairman Dean is standing firm on his commitment to embrace pro-life Democrats at the DNC," Day told LifeNews.com. "He recognizes that when the DNC accepts pro-life Democrats, we win elections."
"We encourage Chairman Dean to continue to help Democrats For Life of America bring pro-life voters back under the big tent of the Democratic Party," Day explained.
But, for Pavone, there is still a long way to go to convert the party that supports abortion into one that welcomes unborn children before birth as well as after.
"The real question is how long the Democratic Party will continue to pretend that it can champion any human rights while undermining the most basic one, life itself," Pavone concluded. "If a politician can’t respect the life of a little baby, how can he respect yours or mine?"