ABC reports that the group "Democrats for Life," whose title gives new meaning to "oxymoronic," decided last week not to press the Democratic Party to restore a life-tolerant "conscience clause" to its party platform. Isn't it time the party quit this charade that it wants to make abortion "rare"?
The "conscience clause," which appeared in the 1996 and 2000 platforms, at least paid lip service to tempering the platform's express support of a woman's "right to choose," stating: 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."
But the party ended all pretense of inclusion in 2004 by replacing the "conscience clause" with a statement that Democrats "stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine" abortion rights. And despite the obviously halfhearted efforts of Democrats for Life, the clause will also be absent from the 2008 platform.
As Democrats for Life's Director Kristen Day asked during the 2004 platform debate: "So what are they saying, that because we want to protect the rights of the unborn, our own party says we're automatically Republicans? This has to be one reason that our party is having trouble appealing to many people in churches."
Amen, Kristen. But perhaps instead you ought to be asking yourself why you are still a Democrat and why you gave up in 2008 with barely a whimper. Just how committed can you and your organization possibly be to protecting the lives of the unborn when you shamelessly roll over on the issue that presumably matters the most to you?
Actually, "shamelessly roll over" doesn't do justice to what happened. Kristen Day told ABC News, "We decided not to offer an amendment because we are working with the party to try to solve this issue." What? That's like saying they'll begin to fight after conceding defeat.
Besides, just what incentive do the overwhelmingly dominant pro-abortion forces in the party have to work with Day when they succeeded, effortlessly, in inserting the following language in the platform?
"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."
No mincing words there. "Strongly and unequivocally regardless of ability to pay oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine." By removing the word "Republican" before "efforts," they even closed the loophole that might allow Democratic renegades such as Day to try to "undermine" the Democrats' commitment to throwing babies under the bus. And with the language "regardless of ability to pay," they've made clear their support for taxpayer-funded abortions.
This party has the temerity to pretend it is inclusive and wants to reduce abortions yet bans any dissent on the issue! It doesn't even want pro-life people in the party -- unless they stay in the closet. Day and her group apparently value party membership so highly that they've dutifully agreed to march quietly back into the closet.
For insight into what Democratic honchos mean when they cynically hold themselves out as advocates of reducing abortion, we must turn to the words of the Rev. Jim Wallis. He is the author of "God's Politics" and an outspoken proponent of the idea that Democrats should reclaim "values voters" because their policies are more in line with Christian truth, which assertion is only slightly less incoherent than the label "Democrats for Life."
In pushing for an "abortion reduction" plank in the Democratic Party platform, Wallis said: "You don't have to take a different stance about a woman's right to choose. But you begin with the need for reducing abortion dramatically."
Why reduce abortion if it is not immoral, Rev. Wallis? Well, read on because he answers that very question. "Taking abortion seriously as a moral issue would help Democrats a great deal with a constituency that is already leaning in their direction on poverty and the environment. There are literally millions of votes at stake."
Aha. So it's about votes, not about protecting the innocent unborn. As if thinking people would have concluded otherwise.
But how can we reasonably expect a party, whose platform is supposed to mirror the agenda of its presidential candidate, to adopt anything but a "strong and unequivocal" statement promoting abortion when that candidate, in a moment of spontaneous candor, said that if his daughters made a "mistake," he wouldn't "want them punished with a baby"?
Are pro-life Obama supporters so selfishly hooked on a feeling -- the euphoric state of Obamamania -- that they'll back Obama and his party in the most immoral crusade since slavery? It appears so.