Anti-Abortion Democrats Argue for More Inclusion

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Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Former Michigan Representative Bart Stupak speaks to the media in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4, 2012

Charlotte, N.C.

“Being pro-life in the Democratic Party can be a lonely place,” former Pennsylvania Representative Kathy Dahlkemper said on Tuesday. She and three fellow anti-abortion liberals were sitting on a Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) panel in a Charlotte hotel. Beside her was former Michigan Representative Bart Stupak, another Democrat who had taken heat over his anti-abortion stance. But if other pro-life politicians were elected and supported by their party, they argued, Democrats would appeal to more voters and take up more seats in the House of Representatives.

This year, DFLA was invited to give testimony to the Democratic Party’s platform committee. Stupak, a board member like all those on Tuesday’s panel, said their president asked that the platform language simply name and embrace pro-life Democrats as a key element of the party. That didn’t happen. “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion,” the platform reads. “We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” But Dahlkemper argued that Democrats who oppose abortion would have great appeal in districts like the one she lost in western Pennsylvania in 2010, a place where economically liberal and socially conservative voters fervently support unions and oppose abortion.

Members of the panel named Hispanics, Catholics and young people as key constituencies that could be attracted by more flexibility on abortion rights. Steve Schneck, a research director at the Catholic University of America, broke down the Catholic vote. There are three broad groups, he said. One-third are Latinos who are “supportive of pro-life issues” but will still break for President Obama. Another third are strict Catholics who see abortion as a crucial issue, the majority of whom will vote for Mitt Romney but could be converted. And those remaining are more lax Catholics who are split between the two parties and are up for grabs. Successfully winning the voters in these groups, he said, “will depend, at least in part, on some degree of openness to the pro-life message.”

Another group that might be courted are young conservatives, many of whom are increasingly liberal when it comes to many social issues but oppose abortion with a fervor as strong as (or greater than) that of their forebears. According to a detailed Pew Research Center survey on the millennial generation, almost 40% of those who said they’re Republican or lean Republican support gay marriage. Meanwhile, the Republican platform is predictably unsupportive of gay-rights issues. This decoupling of values could force compromise for both parties in years to come, as gay Republicans argue.

In recent years, Dahlkemper and Stupak each had one salient claim to fame. Dahlkemper proposed the amendment to the Affordable Care Act that allows children to stay on their parents’ health-insurance plans until they’re 26 years old. Despite the popularity of that measure, she lost in 2010 by a wide margin, 56% to 44%. Stupak championed an amendment that would restrict the use of federal funds for abortion, voted for health care reform without the amendment attached — and then retired among criticism of caving on the issue.

While making the argument that more inclusion would mean greater strength for the party, Stupak conceded that Obama doesn’t stand to lose any particular battleground state in 2012 based on his, or the party’s, position on abortion rights. “At least they invited us to come and express our views,” he told reporters. “And there was some support [on the platform committee], just not the majority.” That’s a sentiment that reflects anti-abortion Democrats’ numbers in House, which dipped below 50 in the late 1990s and have been moving toward zero ever since.

60 comments
zoeholtz2000
zoeholtz2000

As long as the baby isn't old enough to think complexly then it is okay, same as pulling the plug on a person who is brain dead. 

paulejb
paulejb

ABORTIONPALOOZA CHARLOTTE 2012

paulejb
paulejb

DEMOCRAT PARTY CHARLOTTE SEPTEMBER 2012

GOD IS OUT - TAXPAYER FUNDED ABORTION IS IN.

apr2563
apr2563

Suggestion for all males:  STFU about women's reproductive rights. 

barryclinton
barryclinton

People with their heads screwed on straight--who don't like babies torn to shreds in clinics and hospitals across America--have, by and large, given up a,ready on the Democrat party. Otherwise, the Democrats would have been a majority party by now. So it's win-win--but it's only a win for the babies if they get protected by law and if the light can shine on the evil deeds of the abortionists who are all to eager to cut them to death...

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

The "party of inclusion", ah, yea right.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Just got back from the Minnesota State Fair. Truly heartwarming to be in and among a mostly agricultural state where the people have a strong (liberal) connection to their fellow citizens and residents. 

BTW: VOTE NO!   

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion,” the platform reads. “We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” But Dahlkemper argued that Democrats who oppose abortion would have great appeal in districts like the one she lost in western Pennsylvania in 2010, a place where economically liberal and socially conservative voters fervently support unions and oppose abortion."

Well count me among those Democrats who would far prefer that Democratic politicians have less appeal to "economically liberal and socially conservative voters fervently support unions and oppose abortion," even if they lose, than fight against the basic liberty right of women to decide whether or not to bear children. And if Dahlkemper thinks political expediency is more important, she's no liberal.

paulejb
paulejb

Sorry, all anti-abortion Democrats, as few as they are, must ride in the back of the bus and must under no circumstances open their mouths without Sandra Fluke's permission.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

As a Democrat, I think it is important to embrace pro-life Democrats.  That doesn't mean we give up on choice, but that we recognize good people on both sides of the issue and that we keep abortion, "Safe, Legal and Rare".  I think the Democrats can be creative in crafting legislation which would offer alternatives to women who feel deparate about having an abortion without shaming them like so many on the pro-life side.  I think we have seen it in legislation which allows a woman to drop off a child as designated locations, without fear of criminal prosecutions.

georgiamd
georgiamd

“Being pro-life in the Democratic Party can be a lonely place,”   Yes, indeed, the demand for killing babies remains a high priority with Democratic legislators. Those who advocate caution and council, are shouted down and ostracized by their blood thirsty brethren. Is there no place for reason and logic?

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it".

Henry David Thoreau

88080mlb
88080mlb

THERE S NO PLACE OR ANTI-ABORTIONIST IN THE DEMOCRATE PARTY,PERIOD. GO WHINE SOMEWHERE ELSE. IF YOU ARE A DEMOCRATE...FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, CIVIL RIGHS AND ALL THISOTHER THINGS WHO MAKE A DEMOCRACY , HAVE PRIORITY ON YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEF. AND THAT MAKE YOU A DEMCRATE.

Persona Grata
Persona Grata

The Democrats are a Pro-Life party. They are also a Pro-Choice party. And that's where the line is drawn and should be.

Why conservatives aren't also pro-choice is beyond me.

Compare abortion to guns and you'll see just what I mean ...

Conservatives don't want an exemption for Rape, Incest of the life and health of the woman. Why? because they say those loop holes are so big you could drive a truck through it. So, basically, they are saying that even though many legitimate claims could be made--tubal pregnancy, kidney failure, etc, etc. That because some women will just lie because they want an abortion, that all women should be denied the option.

Conservatives favor gun rights. They support the 2nd Amendment because people have a right to defend their home and families. Now, one might point out that a very large number of murders and mass shooting were committed by people who legally bought guns.

Do these same conservatives want to make it illegal for all people to buy guns because some people do illegal things with them? I don't think so.

And yet, they want to make it illegal for all women to get an abortion--even when their life and/or health is depending upon it, because some women might take advantage of that and tell a fib.

It is not right to have the state to take away a persons ability to make life and death decisions about their health and well being just because some people might abuse or lie about their intentions.

Taking away everyone's right to bear arms because some people abuse that right is basically criminalizing all citizens. Likewise, taking away a womens right to have an abortion when her life/health are at risk is the same thing as criminalizing all women.

Human Rights
Human Rights

"I will maintain

the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception; even under

threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity; I

will practice my profession with conscience and dignity”

 

Hippocratic Oath

Declaration of Geneva

Following

the Nazi Doctors Trial at Nuremberg

Jukikathleen
Jukikathleen

If you don't want to have a baby, then stop making them.

That is why free sex is condemned, -- along with murder --taking the life of a defenseless human being.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

Here's a question...

Is this issue the single most important thing to these people?  Would they be willing to support the rest of the party endeavors, even if they lose a vote on this issue?  Or would a need for personal retribution for losing a vote win out?

Would they hold the rest of the itinerary hostage in order to get a favorable vote on abortion issues? If I recall, part of Stupak's problem was that he got fixated on this issue, to the exclusion of others.

If you see your role to be as a firewall against passage of a SINGLE issue, regardless of the wishes of the rest of your party, then you need to be in a different line of work.

You weren't elected to be a lobbyist.

chupkar
chupkar

Yeah, you ARE included. Dems are not pro-ABORTION.

ERenger
ERenger

It's not exactly clear to me what this group wants. Do they wan't the party plank supporting Roe v Wade removed? 

It's certainly possible to be a pro-life Democrat, just as it is possible for a Republican to be pro-choice. But the Democratic party's platform is pro-choice and should remain that way. Individual candidates are always free to deviate from the platform --- it doesn't mean the party needs to get behind their individual position. 

paulejb
paulejb

apr2563,

Until you ladies find another way to fertilize your eggs we men still have a say in the process.

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Former anti-abortion Democrats.  Poor Bart.  Poor Kathy.  Once a Representative, now because they voted for ObamaCare, GONE, never to be seen or heard from again.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

I have heard it said that you are a witless moron.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

"killing babies"

When you guys get serious about STOPPING SEX OUT OF WEDLOCK, call me.

paulejb
paulejb

8808mlb,

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE PRO-LIFERS WELCOME IN THE PRO-ABORTION PARTY. ABORTION IS AN INDUSTRY WHICH SUPPORTS OUR PARTY WITH THEIR CASH. NO PRO-LIFERS NEED APPLY.

paulejb
paulejb

Persona Grata,

Never understood the willingness of pro-abortion liberals to apply capital punishment to the possible result of a rape but not to the rapist. Why do you suppose that is, Grata?

Nathan A
Nathan A

Actually, murder is the *unlawful* premeditated killing of one human being by another.  The fact is, abortion right now is legal, so it is lawful, and hence, is not murder.  If you think abortion should be considered unlawfual, then your opinion is that abortion should be considered murder... but currently it is not.

Free sex is condemned?  That's news to me!  Maybe in the days before condoms, and birth control, and civil society it was necessary to condemn it, but it isn't the first century anymore...  Society has evolved. 

"If you don't want to have a baby, then stop making them."

Isn't that the idea of abortion?  Don't want the baby, then stop it from being made?  Afterall, it isn't just any other human, it's an 'in development' human.  Not yet able to survive outside of the woman's body, not yet able to comprehend itself or the universe around it, not yet capable of rationale thought, not yet with any memories or experiences, not yet capable of even understanding what death is.  Depending on how early you get it, maybe not even even capable of brain activity.

So, what's the reason you dislike abortion?  Because you think humans are special?  That death is always a bad thing?  Because you think a book said it?  Because it's messy?  Because you use the flawed argument of, "if I was aborted, I wouldn't be here right now"?  Let me assure you, if you had been aborted, you wouldn't wonder what your life would be like if you hadn't been... you would cease to exist... your *potential* destiny ends with your death.. it doesn't keep going.

Maybe that's the real problem in our society... we're unwilling to accept the things that have happened... we continue asking coulda / shoulda / wouldas... instead of stating, "it happened, here we are, where do we go from here?".

ERenger
ERenger

Yes, Stupak's problem was that he was holding up the passage of the entire ACA because of one abortion-related amendment that he supported, but which did not have enough support to pass. It was a grandstanding move on his pet issue that jeopardized an important party priority. I don't think he should really be crying now about the party not supporting him. 

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

If they really believe that all life is sacred, then hopefully unlike the teavangelical R's they're willing to carry that belief beyond this issue alone and thus support family services post-birth, challenge death penalty statutes (and thus follow up with calls for better science in law enforcement CSi-style - DNA, etc. - to keep innocent people out of prison), etc. Consistency, not fixation, as you've noted.

TooManyJens
TooManyJens

 "It's not exactly clear to me what this group wants. Do they wan't the party plank supporting Roe v Wade removed?"

What they asked for was a recognition in the platform of the idea that people of good conscience can disagree on this issue, as well as a commitment to helping women have the resources they need to bear their children. The platform's OK on the latter, but apparently the committee disagreed that it was possible for Democrats of good conscience not to be 100% with NARAL on abortion.

paulejb
paulejb

formerlyjamesmI have heard it said that you are a witless moron.

show more show lessLikeReply

13 hours agoin reply to paulejb2 Likes

nflfoghornYou're a witless moron.

show more show lessLikeReply

15 hours agoin reply to paulejb4 Likes

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© Has anyone ever pointed out the fact that you are a witless moron, spambot?

====================================

The sum total of the liberal argument. Mindless vituperation.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Since gay marriage is allowed in some states, maybe the R's opposition to it is part of their anti-sex platform. If you really want to stop sex, tax it. The R's obsession with eliminating taxes would guarantee they'l stop breeding future R's and will further accelerate their extinction.

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

The more you yell, the more truthful your truth is?

apr2563
apr2563

Sanctity of life Paulie?  Are you for the death penalty?

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

 Come up with shred of evidence that fetuses are people, Paulie.Oh wait......

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Gee, Paulie. Does the "sanctity of life" from the Republican platform mean abandonment of the dealth penalty? How about when a pregnant woman's life is at stake? Do the GOTP politicians think her life warrants sanctity?

Jukikathleen
Jukikathleen

 You are basing the law on a stacked court decision....Roe vs Wade ...read the story of Norma....

 You would not be here if your mother aborted you.

Abortion is indeed taking the life of a human being.  60% of Americans do not approve of abortion.

 I remember the sexual revolution very well.  Did you live in that time?  Young adults on college campuses were mocked for not having guilt free sex..  The USA has the most sexually infected teens in the industrial world.   When I was a teen in the late 60's, most kids valued chastity.

Yes, fornication is condemned in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  Contraception was condemned within Christianity all the way up to the 1930's when the Anglican Church allowed it.  Check up on Margaret Sanger.

I have spoken with foreigners who came to the USA before that time, and upon returning, they can't believe how low our public morals have gone down.

I also know immigrants who have come to settle in our country, and they confided to me that privately they consider the natives here with little moral standards...don't want to say any more the language they used.

You watch Hollywood movies, the various programs....I was raised in the 50's and 60's and we did not live in such a sexualized society as we do now.

Better you expand your understanding of how we used to be as a society.  There will always be  people that don't agree or live like everyone else.

But modern American society, its preoccupation with free sex, using abortion as a form of contraception, and promoting this mentality throughout the world isn't the best thing we should be proud of.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

I read an article the other day that (correctly, IMHO) pointed out that the GOP platform should, more correctly, be labeled "pro-birth", since they don't give a flying f*ck about, you know, feeding, educating, or providing health care to the "lives" that they profess to care about...

TooManyJens
TooManyJens

 Dems for Life is pro-social services and anti-death penalty.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

According to Rod, arguments in caps are right. 

paulejb
paulejb

apr2563,

Absolutely! You wantonly take a life with premeditation, you forfeit your own.

paulejb
paulejb

Ohiolib,

Benefit of the doubt, lib. I am not willing to slaughter the unborn on spec.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Some people literally incorporate themselves (athletes and celebrities do this). If a fetus can be incorporated, then thanks to Citizens United, as Romney would say, "Corporate fetuses are people, my friend."

paulejb
paulejb

Hollywooddeed,

paulejb

apr2563,

Absolutely! You wantonly take a life with premeditation, you forfeit your own.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Here is D4L site that Jen mentioned / "about us" page for core values...

http://www.democratsforlife.or...

...and as we can expect when you flip thru site, most discussions there are about abortion ...and less on post-birth social support, oppositions to death penalty and euthanasia, paying for these platforms, does said beliefs demand vegetarianism of everyone, etc. Again, once you establish core beliefs, you need to think through the consequences. What would happen if D4L got their way on everything?