by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — An organization for pro-life Democrats is defending a recent statement issued by 55 Catholic members of Congress that has pro-life advocates up in arms. Democrats for Life says the statement’s support for programs and policies that help reduce the incidence of abortion is laudable.
Kristen Day, the director of Democrats for Life of America, said the lawmakers should be applauded for their desire, as they put it, to create "an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term."
“We are fully committed to promoting a culture of life. Preventing abortion is a top priority, but we cannot achieve that goal without support for the social policies necessary to help women bring their children to term," Day said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"Our focus needs to continue to be on programs which help women who become pregnant and empower them with support to bring their babies to term," Day explained.
That was also a focus of the members of Congress, who said they belive in "promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, and improving access to children=s healthcare and child care, as well as policies that encourage paternal and maternal responsibility."
Day said those ideas are congruent with a batch of legislative proposals her organization is championing.
Democrats for Life has introduced what it calls the 95-10 Initiative — aiming to reduce the number of abortions by 95 percent within 10 years, even if Roe v. Wade is not overturned during that time.
The idea is to promote economic, educational and health care proposals that reduce the financial and other pressures women — especially those in college — face to have abortions.
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, most women say they have abortions because they don’t believe they can afford to have a child or believe having a child would disrupt career or educational goals.
Day’s group wants to see those pressures eliminated.
"Our initiative will do more to protect unborn children by empowering women by providing the necessary government support to assist those who find themselves in crisis pregnancies," she said.
The statement, release by mostly pro-abortion lawmakers, was taken by some pro-life Catholics as abortion advocates thumbing their nose at the Church’s long-standing pro-life views.
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said the legislators had “made a big mistake” and introduced “a bundle of contradictions” into the public debate.
“This statement tries to soften the contradiction between creating a just society and tolerating legal abortion," he contended.
"The voting records of these legislators are available to anyone who wants to look them up. To fail to protect the unborn, and then to say that you are ‘committed to . . . protecting the most vulnerable among us’ is a blatant contradiction," Pavone explained.
Although most of the 55 members signing the statement backing abortion, a handful of the lawmakers have voted pro-life on key legislation.
Pavone said the lawmakers, who cited a document written by Pope John Paul II, forgot that the former pope’s message said stopping abortion was more important than other political issues.
Related web sites:
Democrats for Life of America – https://www.democratsforlife.org