Media Completely Ignores Democrats Pushing Out Pro-Lifers

National   |   Ken Shepherd   |   Aug 21, 2012   |   5:22PM   |   Washington, DC

Every four years, without fail, the liberal media wring their hands over the influence of pro-lifers on the GOP platform, suggesting that the party is too “extreme” in its position on abortion and hence out of step with middle-of-the-road voters. Of course, the same concern is not expressed regarding the Democrats’ position on the same issue being too out-of-step with most Americans.

This year, the row over Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments on rape and abortion are being seized upon as a springboard to attack the party. Witness MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts on today’s MSNBC Live.

“NBC News has confirmed that that draft language for the GOP’s official platform… calls for the Human Life Amendment opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest,” Roberts informed his all-liberal “power panel.”

“Mitt Romney has come out, he’s going to go against this just like John McCain and George Bush did in the earlier drafts, when this same language was approved in ’04 and ’08. Is this a real problem that they’re facing going into this convention,” Roberts asked Washington Post editorialist and self-admitted “very staunch supporter of abortion rights” Ruth Marcus.

To her credit, Marcus warned Roberts that he was “conflating two different things” by lumping in Akin’s inexcusable comments with believing that abortion should not be allowed in cases of rape or abortion. The former has nothing to do with the latter, Marcus noted:

If you believe that abortion is the taking of a human life, you can legitimately oppose an exception for cases of rape and incest, you can just believe that no matter how the baby, fetus, embryo, whatever is conceived, that it is the taking of a life. And that has been the position of some people, not the majority of the Republican Party, but some people for some time. I think that’s intellectually consistent.

Of course, while Roberts and others in the media aim to paint the GOP platform as too extreme on the pro-life side, you can expect the media to continue to ignore the plight of pro-life Democrats who simply asked weeks ago for their party to be a “big tent” that welcomes pro-lifers as well as pro-choicers.

From a July 19 letter from Democrats for Life of America (italics theirs):

As a Party we should strive to promote a big tent policy and include positions in the platform where we share agreement, not advocate for minority positions that divide our Party and affect our long-term goals.

There is no longer overwhelming support for abortion without restrictions and no longer overwhelming support for taxpayer funding of abortion. We, therefore, propose the following language as a way to bring Democrats on both sides of this issue together and focus on what unites us.

“We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.

However, we can find common ground. We believe that we can reduce the number of abortions because we are united in our support for policies that assist families who find themselves in crisis or unplanned pregnancies. We believe that women deserve to have a breadth of options available as they face pregnancy: including, among others, support and resources needed to handle the challenges of pregnancy, adoption, and parenthood; access to education,
healthcare, childcare; and appropriate child support. We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term.”


Janet Robert
Democrats For Life of America

You’ll notice that that is a fairly non-controversial, timid language.

There’s nothing in the proposed language that called for respecting the decisions of more conservative states to more restrictions on abortion than those in say more liberal states. There’s also nothing in there about maintaining parental consent laws or supporting bans on partial-birth abortion. Lastly, there’s nothing in there that changes the Democratic Party platforms carefully-worded but obvious commitment to taxpayer-subsidized abortion.

Nonetheless, a stacked Democratic Party Platform Committee — notable abortion lobbyist Nancy Keenan, the NARAL Pro-Choice America president, served on said committee — refused to budge, as evidenced by this August 10 press release by DFLA (emphasis theirs):

Washington, DC – A strong Democratic Platform would be a “Big Tent” platform that fully reflects the rich diversity of Democratic voters. The draft platform released yesterday is greatly weakened by its failure to recognize the party’s pro-life constituency.  Democrats For Life of America asks for Big Tent language in the platform that welcomes both pro-choice and pro-life voters.Almost one-third of all Democrats self-identify as pro-life.  In the 2008 Election, about one-quarter of Obama’s supporters self-identified as pro-life.   These numbers are not trivial; they exceed many prominent and well-represented constituencies in the party.  Electoral success for the party nationwide will depend on the enthusiasm of all Democrats, including pro-life Democrats.

“For the good of the Democratic Party, we will continue to advocate that the platform language should reflect the true diversity of views within the Democratic Party,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life of America. “Our message is simple: If you are pro-life and a Democrat, you can make a difference, thus the case for recognition. Inclusion can make a critical difference in this fall’s election.

In 1978, the Democratic Party, held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House, with 125 pro-life Democrats. Increased partisanship over the pro-life issue—including the rejection of pro-life candidates within the Democratic Party—caused many of the pro-life Democratic districts to elect Republican candidates. In fact, the number of pro-choice Democrats in the House has essentially remained around 167.  It is the number of pro-life Democrats that decreased from 125 to only 17, leaving Democrats overall with only 184 Members.

“If we are going to increase our members and win the majority, we must recognize the contributions of pro-life Democrats within our party and the diverse position of Democrats on the issue of abortion,” said Day.

That diversity of opinion is as follows:

  • 61% of Democrats support parental consent for minors seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
  • 60% of Democrats support a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
  • 84% of Democrats support informed consent (Gallup, 2011);
  • 49% of Democrats support an ultrasound requirement (Gallup, 2011);
  • 59% of Democrats support a ban on partial-birth abortions (Gallup, 2011).

At the Democratic National Convention, DFLA intends to showcase Pro-life Democratic leaders in the political, academic and religious fields who have stood up for pro-life values.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Crowne Plaza Charlotte, 201 South McDowell Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28204

The Democratic platform has been approved but its language is not available for public scrutiny. If it’s anything like the last platform, however, it will be fairly absolutist/extremist on abortion rights.

Here’s the Democratic Party’s 2008 platform plank on abortion (my emphasis added):

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.



In a brief chat with NewsBusters over the phone, Democrats for Life executive director Kristen Day said she was not sure if there was anyone on the committee itself who considers him/herself pro-life, although she said that the pro-choice retiring Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) had expressed some support for adding “big tent” language.

Day also told NewsBusters that the language her group was asking for was similar to platform language from 1996, when President Bill Clinton was renominated by the Democrats and cruised to reelection.

Here’s the relevant portion from that year’s platform, via University of California Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project website (my emphasis added):

The Democratic Party stands behind the right of every woman to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of ability to pay. President Clinton took executive action to make sure that the right to make such decisions is protected for all Americans. Over the last four years, we have taken action to end the gag rule and ensure safety at family planning and women’s health clinics. We believe it is a fundamental constitutional liberty that individual Americans — not government — can best take responsibility for making the most difficult and intensely personal decisions regarding reproduction.

The Democratic Party is a party of inclusion. We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party.

Our goal is to make abortion less necessary and more rare, not more difficult and more dangerous. We support contraceptive research, family planning, comprehensive family life education, and policies that support healthy childbearing. For four years in a row, we have increased support for family planning. The abortion rate is dropping. Now we must continue to support efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, and we call on all Americans to take personal responsibility to meet this important goal.

Similar language was in the 2000 platform (emphasis mine):

The Democratic Party is a party of inclusion. We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party. This is why we are proud to put into our platform the very words which Republicans refused to let Bob Dole put into their 1996 platform and which they refused to even consider putting in their platform in 2000: “While the party remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing its historic principles and ideals, we also recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing views on issues of personal conscience like abortion and capital punishment. We view this diversity of views as a source of strength, not as a sign of weakness, and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues. Recognizing that tolerance is a virtue, we are committed to resolving our differences in a spirit of civility, hope and mutual respect.”

The language was dropped in 2004, when Democrats were seeking to regain the White House:

We will defend the dignity of all Americans against those who would undermine it. Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

And of course the language became more strident in 2008, again as Democrats were seeking to win back the White House:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

The Democratic Party’s hard line on abortion has grown harder over the past 16 years. You just wouldn’t know it if you relied on the liberal media for your news. Note: Ken Shepherd is the managing editor for NewsBusters and a former analyst at the Media Research Center who identifies examples of media bias. This originally appeared on NewsBusters and is reprinted with permission.