Pro-Life Democrats Group Tries to Influence Party as Obama Backs Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrats Group Tries to Influence Party as Obama Backs Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 11
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — For the 35 percent of Democrats across the country who say they oppose legal abortions, the question of what to do when the party nominates a strong abortion advocate seems to come up every four years. Many vote for the pro-life GOP candidate but one group hopes to change the party from the inside out.

As it has every presidential election for decades, the Democratic Party has a candidate for president in Barack Obama who supports legal abortions throughout pregnancy and a bill to overturn every pro-life law nationwide.

The party’s platform is pro-abortion and, once again, endorses unlimited abortions paid for at taxpayer expense.

But Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life in America, keeps plugging away.

As she told ABC News over the weekend, her group continues to work to elect pro-life Democrats and do what it can to moderate the party’s image.

"As a party we have to remember we are the big tent and have to make room for people with diverse views on this issue," Day says. "We’re hopeful that some language will be included that will say pro-life Democrats welcome."

To build up a presence within the party, Day told her group plans another round of events at this year’s Democratic convention in Denver.

The group plans a town hall forum on its top legislative priority — a bill called the Pregnant Women Support Act that Congressman Lincoln Davis, a Tennessee Democrat, and Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, have introduced in Congress.

"The abortion issue has divided America for decades. With this in mind, Democrats For Life of America drafted the 95-10 Initiative to end the debate on abortion by promoting policies to bring pro-life and pro-choice people together to support and empower women to carry their pregnancies to term," Day says.

The measure includes both tangible measures that will directly reduce abortions, such as enforcing parental involvement laws and supporting crisis pregnancy centers, and indirect measures like better health care and child care to help women who may have abortions because of financial pressures.

The group also plans another Hall of Fame dinner and a leadership award for those pro-life Democrats not just willing to vote pro-life but who stand up and take the heat in a party dominated by the abortion industry.

"It is easy to quietly be a pro-life Democrat and vote at the polls. But it is sometimes hard to stand up for these principles in the face of a sometimes hostile crowd and put your reputation on the line in defense of our philosophy," Day says.

The group has come a long way in trying to get the Democratic Party to embrace pro-life values or, at minimum, pro-life Democrats as candidates.

But the organization’s efforts are not without some criticism.

Chicago-based pro-life editorial columnist Michael Bates doubts DFLA will ever be able to counter the political power and influence of pro-abortion groups within the Democratic Party like Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List.

"Diverse views on abortion? Not likely," he writes in a weekend column.

He says ratings from NARAL show Democrats are much more strongly pro-abortion than their Republican counterparts in Congress.

"Its most recent scorecard for the U.S. Senate shows 45 members achieving a 100% pro-choice rating. Of that number, only three are Republicans," he explains.

"The remaining 100 percenters are Democrats and independent Senators Lieberman and Sanders, who caucus with the Democrats," he writes. "Overwhelmingly, Democrats – including presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama and possible vice presidential selection Evan Bayh, who’s often painted as a moderate, – vote in favor of abortion."

"Regardless of what side of the abortion issue you’re on, it’s evident that the Democratic Party has a long-standing commitment to it," he concludes.

Other pro-life advocates are concerned that, if they fail to get the party to move in a pro-life direction, many pro-life Democrats will vote for Obama anyway.

"At the end of the day we’re still Democrats and we’re gonna work hard to work on things that we strongly believe in," Day told ABC News, though she didn’t say how she or her members would vote.

Ultimately, for the pro-life movement to succeed, pro-life advocates from both parties are needed to win key abortion votes in Congress and state legislatures and to elect pro-life candidates who will ultimately help reverse Roe v. Wade.

At the same time, what the pro-life movement obviously doesn’t need is a president who will keep unlimited abortions legal for another 35 years.

Democrats For Life of America –


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