Kathryn Lopez

Sixty-five percent. That's Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Casey Jr.'s rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America, the standard measure for a politician's abortion-rights-advocacy purity. Sixty-five percent -- voting with NARAL two out of three times -- does not a pro-life Democrat make. And yet, when the Dems announced that Casey would be speaking at their convention in Denver, it was widely accepted that he could be described as a pro-life presence there.

But one indicator of Casey's false colors -- besides his voting record -- that shows his comfortable alignment with the same old pro-abortion puppet masters dominating the Democratic Party could be discerned in the absence of outcry from groups like NARAL (formerly known as the National Abortion Rights Action League).

This lack of protest is telling. In 1992, the party refused Casey's father, former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey Sr., the right to speak at that year's convention, owing, it was alleged, to his staunch pro-life position. Allowing his son to speak is meant to be a signal that times have changed, that although the Democratic leadership has not altered its stance toward abortion, it has shifted toward compromise. Too bad it's all bunk. Democrats, you see, are open to other views on the issue as long as they're only talking about cosmetic, not meaningful, changes.

Sen. Casey, you see, besides just not being an authentic pro-life leader, is also no Rick Santorum, the senator he beat two Novembers ago. Santorum went out of his way to speak about the right to life, shaping bills to protect unborn babies (and even cosponsoring legislation with his pro-choice Pennsylvania colleague, Arlen Specter, to support alternatives to embryo-destroying stem-cell research). Casey may occasionally vote alongside those who oppose abortion, but he is no leader and poses no threat to the abortion industry.

But he is just pro-life enough to serve the purposes of the Democratic Party, a desperate crew when it comes to the abortion issue this year. Their presumptive nominee stands as the most virulent pro-choice candidate ever to run for president of the United States. He wants abortion legal, he's told us during the course of the campaign, because if one of his daughters made a "mistake," he wouldn't want them to be "punished" with a baby. (Life is never a punishment, and there are other options besides abortion. Why should an innocent be killed because of a mistake?)


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.