by Steven Ertelt
December 7, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When pro-abortion Democratic leaders gain control of Congress next year, pro-life organizations likely won’t see any votes on key pro-life legislation that would reduce abortions. The pro-life community may look to a pro-life Democrat’s bill as one of the few opportunities to put any measures on President Bush’s desk.
Rep. Lincoln Davis, a Tennessee Democrat, hopes to do what some consider impossible — get a pro-life bill approved while abortion advocates run the show.
Davis plans to reintroduce legislation next year he crafted in consultation with Democrats for Life of America, the national group of pro-life Democrats.
The bill takes a different tact to reducing abortions by providing more tangible support for pregnant women and minimizing the financial and practical concerns that research shows motivates most women to have an abortion.
As data from the Alan Guttmacher Institute shows, women who have abortions do so not because they are victims of rape or incest or have a life-threatening medical situation. Instead, they cite financial, educational, and practical concerns.
Davis’ bill would provide additional funding and access to child care programs, health care, nutrition assistance, and help new mothers attend college.
The lawmaker told the Tennessean newspaper that his bill could attract support from both pro-life and pro-abortion members as it "gives both sides a chance to join legislation that could reduce abortion."
Kristen Day, the executive director of DFLA, says her group strongly supports the Davis measure and told LifeNews.com her group is building support for it from both sides.
"We continue to build a strong coalition who believe that the Pregnant Women Support Act should be a priority in the 110th Congress," Day told LifeNews.com.
"From the religious left to the religious right, from Democrats to Republicans and from pro-life to pro-choice, we can all agree that more should be done to help pregnant women who want to carry their babies to term," she explained.
However, Davis’ bill will go up against a similar one put forward by Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat who also opposes abortion.
Ryan originally worked with DFLA on the bill, but lost the support of pro-life organizations and lawmakers when he put in provisions to fund programs run by Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion business.
His measure also has a provision informing women of the risks associated with abortion but allows the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has long opposed telling women of abortion’s dangers, to craft what information abortion practitioners would provide.
After Ryan made the changes, Day’s organization balked and he was unable to find any other pro-life groups to support the bill.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which initially supported the measure, withdrew it support and Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, told the Tennessean newspaper his group can’t support the Ryan measure either.
"We don’t want the federal government further subsidizing the infrastructure and propaganda efforts of the abortion industry," he told the newspaper, adding that Ryan’s bill would funnel "hundreds of millions of dollars" to Planned Parenthood.
Pro-life lawmakers indicated they couldn’t support the Ryan bill either, including Rep. James Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who is the co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus.
Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who heads the pro-life caucus with Oberstar, told the Copely News Service the Ryan bill would "lead to more abortions, not less."
He found it hypocritical that federal funds would go to abortion centers where "in one room, they talk contraception, and in the other room, they kill your baby.”
The Davis bill will likely enjoy the support of a large number of pro-life groups, but what it probably won’t have is the backing of Planned Parenthood.
Jeff Teague, president of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, told the newspaper that Davis’ bill isn’t good enough because it doesn’t provide funding for contraception or sexual education programs that aren’t abstinence-based. Teague contends those are the only surefire ways of reducing abortions.
Related web sites:
Democrats for Life of America – https://www.DemocratsForLife.Org