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Cracker Squire


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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tiptoeing to the Right on Abortion

In a 7-24-05 post entitled "Gov. Howard Dean on Meet the Press last December: "I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats," I wrote about how Chairman Dean urged our party to be big enough to accomodate pro-life voters, noting that Dean had said the following in a recent speech:

Democrats need to reach out to voters who oppose abortion rights and promote candidates who share that view, and our party has to change its approach in the debate over abortion.

"I think we need to talk about this issue differently," said Dean. "The Republicans have painted us as a pro-abortion party. I don't know anybody in America who is pro-abortion."

"We do have to have a big tent. I do think we need to welcome pro-life Democrats into this party," said Dean.

And then I shared my own thoughts on the topic in this same 2005 post:

I think it is imperative that we follow Dean's advice if we are to return to our former status as the big tent party. I used to find it inappropriate -- given all of the issues out there -- that being pro-life was a litmus test for the GOP. But now we are close to pro-choice being a litmus test for our party.

As I have written on the blog before, I am pro-choice not because I am a Democrat, but because I think it should be a woman's choice, and definitely not mine unless it happened to be my wife or daughter.

But what if someone has religious convictions different from me; do we not have room in the party for such person?

As we reach out to fellow religious voters, we should quit arguing the legality of abortion, and rather shift the theme to abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."

And just as we want to see fewer abortions, we want our children to learn good values -- at home, in school, at Sunday school and at church with their parents.

Good values, health care, jobs and sex education can reduce the number of abortion procedures, and who can be opposed to that.

I find it refreshing, refreshing and healthy, that finally the Democratic Party is indeed tiptoeing to the right on this topic and being more accomodative as discussed in the following article from The Wall Street Journal:

On the fiery issue of abortion, the Democratic Party has been taking small but notable steps to the right -- continuing to vigorously support abortion rights but adding more support for family-planning and other educational services that would "reduce the need for abortions."

These steps, some begun years ago, are part of the emphasis the party will place in the rest of the campaign on wooing religious voters, many of whom have been unwilling in the past to vote for a Democrat because of the party's long-standing belief that women should be allowed to end their pregnancies at will.

"In 2004, we couldn't get a word in. This time, they reached out to us," says Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, a six-year-old advocacy organization that sponsored a convention gathering that featured antiabortion Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis of Tennessee. "The big tent is opening up."

The platform states that the party "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court decision affirming abortion rights, "and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion." But it asserts that the party "also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education" that "help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions." About 1.2 million abortions are performed each year in the U.S.

"This platform, for the first time, acknowledges and supports a decision to exercise choice in a different direction, to carry a child to term," says Michael Yaki, the national platform director for the Democratic National Committee. "The core value, a woman's right to choose, has not been compromised at all."

Some members of women's groups say they fear the Democrats are retreating just to capture evangelical and Catholic voters who flocked to President George W. Bush during the 2004 election.

"I know people see it as a rollback. I don't think it is. It's the possibility of common ground," said Mr. Wallis, who advises politicians in both parties. "Can the Democrats count votes?....There are millions of votes at stake here."

The catalyst for the shift was the 2004 election, experts say, when Sen. John Kerry, who backed abortion rights, lost the voting among almost every major religious group identified in exit polls, especially white and African-American evangelicals and Latino Catholics.


Blogger Diana Hsieh said...

The Democrats should stick to their guns on abortion. It's one of the few issues on which they defend individual rights, even if not particularly well.

For the evils end-game of the religious right on abortion, just consider Colorado's Amendment 48, which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs.

The Coalition for Secular Government just published on issue paper on it: "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person" by Ari Armstrong and myself. It's available for download at:


Diana Hsieh
Coalition for Secular Government

9:51 AM  

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