by Steven Ertelt
July 21, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The nation’s leading Democrat on Friday urged members of his party to reach out to voters who oppose abortion and to work with candidates who are pro-life. Dean told a meeting of college Democrats that the party has to change the way the public views its stance on the contentious issue.
"I think we need to talk about this issue differently," Dean said, according to an Associated Press report. "The Republicans have painted us as a pro-abortion party. I don’t know anybody in America who is pro-abortion."
"We do have to have a big tent. I do think we need to welcome pro-life Democrats into this party," Dean, a former Planned Parenthood of New England board member, added.
Dean did not mention the upcoming Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, who is expected to be grilled about his apparent pro-life views on the issue. He answered a question, AP reported, about why the party was supporting pro-life Senate candidate Bob Casey in Pennsylvania.
Dean tried to say Casey and pro-life Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, have difference stances, even though they both are pro-life.
"You have to respect people’s positions of conscience," said Dean. "I think Bob Casey’s position is a position of conscience."
John Brabender, a consultant for Santorum in his re-election bid, said Dan can’t attack Santorum’s pro-life views without denigrating Casey’s.
"It makes absolutely no sense for Howard Dean to attack Rick Santorum unless he’s also attacking Bobby Casey," he told the Associated Press.
Abortion has been a divisive issue for the Democratic Party since pro-abortion presidential candidate John Kerry’s defeat in November.
Tim Roemer, whom Howard Dean beat to become the head of the party, was honored at a Democrats for Life event earlier this month. He said the election defeat is helping top Democrats realize they need to reach out to pro-life advocates.
"We have made more progress in the Democratic Party on the abortion issue in the last six months than we have in the have in the past 30 years," Roemer said in accepting the honor. "We will continue to make more."
Kristen Day, DFLA’s executive director, said "momentum is clearly on our side" in the group’s efforts to turn around the party.
Related web sites:
Democrats For Life of America – https://www.democratsforlife.org