Pro-Life Democrats Meet With Howard Dean on Abortion Tolerance

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrats Meet With Howard Dean on Abortion Tolerance Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 26, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life Democratic lawmakers in Congress met with Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean last week to get the party leader to establish an official relationship with Democrats for Life of America, the national organization for Democrats who oppose abortion. Previous attempts to get the party acknowledge the group before Dean’s election as chairman were not successful.

Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebraska) and Reps. Jim Oberstar (Minnesota.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Bart Stupak (Michigan) were among the 16 members of Congress who participated in the meeting. They said they have the backing of the top Democrats in Congress, Sen Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

The members hope to make the Democratic Party more inclusive and less identified by its pro-abortion position, resulting from strong lobbying by leading abortion advocacy groups.

The lawmakers say the Democratic Party is being viewed by voters as out of touch with American values because of its overwhelmingly pro-abortion position. The party’s last two presidential candidates, Al Gore and John Kerry, both took positions in favor of abortion and polls by the Gallup organization show the abortion issue gave President Bush an advantage in each election.

Democrats for Life officials also participated in the meeting Thursday and executive director Kristen Day told that "Dean has continued to send a strong message that our party should no longer be the Party of abortion on demand."

"We appreciate that he has stood by those words and is willing to work toward more inclusion for pro-life democrats in the party," Day added.

Signaling his interest in making the Democratic Party one with a big tent, Dean told a group of college Democrats the day after the meeting that "we need to welcome pro-life Democrats into this party."

"I think we need to talk about this issue differently," Dean said. "We do have to have a big tent."{

One of the action items that Day expects to come out of the meeting is a link on the DNC web site to Democrats for Life, something that prior party leaders denied to the pro-life group in the past.

However, DNC spokesman Josh Earnest told The Hill newspaper that "We don’t have links to any other third-party groups."

DNC officials also told lawmakers they want to wait to establish the link until they have an opportunity to review a legislative package DFL has put together seeking to reduce abortions 95 percent in 10 years.

The bills include measures promoting adoption, pregnancy care centers, studying why women have abortions, funding daycare on college campuses, and increasing funding for domestic violence programs.

Day told she came away from the meeting with Dean encouraged that he is open to the idea.

Democrats for Life officials are slated to meet with Pelosi this week to continue the conversations and pro-life former Rep. Chris John of Louisiana, a member of the group’s board of directors, told The Hill that "Senator Reid has been contacted and has been very receptive of what we’re trying to do."

Related web sites:
Democrats for Life –