The travails of pro-life Democrats

Who do you think said this?

“Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old. When history looks back at this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.”

Find out after the jump.

Also find out about pro-life Democrats trying to have an impact in their party and how they are being treated.

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When Jesse Jackson was pro-life and why he changed

335px-Jesse_Jackson,_half-length_portrait_of_Jackson_seated_at_a_table,_July_1,_1983_editIn a tribute to the recently-deceased Nat Hentoff, Carl Trueman describes an encounter on a train between the pro-life leftist and Jesse Jackson.

From Carl R. Trueman, Strangers on a Train | Carl R. Trueman | First Things:

There is one passage in Speaking Freely (177-78) that offers disturbing insights into modern political culture. Hentoff quotes a certain politician on abortion: “What happens to the soul of a nation that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of society will we have twenty years hence if life can be taken so casually?” He also quotes the same politician on the right to privacy: “There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of a higher order than the right of life. That was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside of your right to be concerned.” This politician had himself almost been aborted, and he saw the clear connection between the dehumanizing of a child in the womb and racial oppression, in that both involve a denial of real personhood to a human being.

Later on, this politician decided to run for president and magically changed his mind on abortion. His name? Jesse Jackson. [Read more…]

When liberals were pro-life and conservatives were pro-abortion

We’ve blogged about the book by Daniel K. Williams, Defenders of the Unborn:  The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade, which shows how opposing abortion used to be a liberal issue.  The Religion & Politics site features a fascinating interview with Prof. Williams, who goes on to observe that conservatives were often the ones supporting legalized abortion.

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Joe Biden says “Abortion Is Always Wrong”

Joe Biden, good Catholic that he is, says that life begins at conception and that “abortion is always wrong.”  But, good Democrat that he is, he also believes in legalized abortion, saying that it would also be wrong to impose his religious beliefs on those who do not share them.  The objective fact of the humanness of the fetus cannot, apparently, interfere with that position.

I wonder if he is also unwilling to impose Catholic religious teachings in issues that are supported by the Democratic Party, such as environmentalism, immigration, and programs for the poor.  But at least he is not taking Nancy Pelosi’s position, which is that her Catholic faith impels her belief in abortion.

Is Vice President Biden’s position logically and ethically coherent?  I can see the principle that not all moral positions should be legislated, but it seems to me that if abortion is homicide, it does need to be legislated.  Can anyone make a case for what Biden is saying, or, conversely, explain why it is wrong?

If the law isn’t going to change anyway, wouldn’t it be better to have a personally pro-life President than someone who is personally committed to abortion?  Do you hope Biden runs? [Read more…]

Reaching pro-life Democrat women

For all of the Democratic campaign rhetoric accusing pro-lifers of conducting a “war on women,” it turns out that 29% of Democrats are pro-life.  Now the antiabortion Susan B. Anthony List is doing some creative campaigning to enlist pro-life Democrat women to persuade them to vote their convictions. [Read more…]

Party squelches pro-life Democrats

Washington Post columnist Melinda Henneberger on pro-life Democrats trying to get a hearing at the platform committee but getting shot down.  She comes up with an interesting parallel, that abortion is to Democrats what gun rights are to Republicans, an untouchable issue that allows for no compromise:

Democratic dissenters on the issue of abortion have made their case to the platform committee, arguing that the party should change its language enough to allow for some diversity of opinion on the matter and return to the “big tent” approach of the Clinton years.

The effort is probably doomed; NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan is on the committee, and those pushing for the change were happy just to get to testify; they weren’t even allowed to do that four years ago.

This time around, Janet Robert, who founded Minnesota’s progressive talk radio station AM 950, with talkers such as Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann, was given seven minutes to make the case, and she used it to argue that the party simply cannot win back Congress without Democrats who differ from the ’08 platform on this one issue. She cited a slew of stats, including a Gallup poll from last year in which 44 percent of Democrats said abortion should only be legal “in a few circumstances.”

The plank they want to rewrite says the party “unequivocally” supports Roe v. Wade and spells out that “we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” .  . .

There’s no question that Democrats won the House in ’06 by running more moderate candidates in districts the party would otherwise have lost to Republicans.

But the abortion rights lobby writes big checks and wields such unlimited power that I’ve long thought abortion rights have become to the Democrats what the Second Amendment is to Republicans — who are so terrified of the “slippery slope” that even the most common-sense gun restrictions are out of the question. Nobody wants to buck the lobby with bucks.

via Democratic abortion foes push for change in platform – She The People – The Washington Post.

The last time Democrats won big, they courted social conservatives and ran some moderate candidates.  Another theme of this column is that Democrats aren’t going to do that this time.

Democrats claim to be the party of compassion and social justice, championing the marginalized and supporting the little guy.  I can’t take that seriously as long as they so uncritically support abortion.  What is so “liberal” about being for abortion?  Women’s rights?  But isn’t that more of a libertarian way of thinking, the sort of individualist mindset that leftists condemn when they see it in conservatives?  At any rate, I can respect pro-life liberals, when you can find them, as being generally consistent in their principles.  But pro-abortion liberals are sort of like those early Americans who believed passionately in freedom, despite their glaring inconsistency of also believing even more passionately in slavery.