View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Democrats for Life - op-ed

My frend, Carol Crossed, and I wrote the following piece. We are trying to get it published in some newspapers - New York Times, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun, etc. - to get the word out....

Something strange is happening in the Democratic Party. Something that's making some Republicans and pro-choice absolutists nervous.

Democratic Party leaders are acknowledging that there are indeed pro-life Democrats.

Howard Dean, the new Democratic National Committee Chair, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and Senator John Kerry, (MA) have all said the party needs to reach out to pro-lifers. Their call for openness is already bearing fruit:

*Democratic state legislators in Oklahoma passed the most comprehensive pro-life legislation since Roe v Wade.
*Texas State Democratic Chair, Charles Soechting, was the keynote speaker June 11 at a state Democrats for Life convention.
* New York's Nassau County Manager, Tom Suozzi, unveiled a "Common Sense for the Common Good" program that will demonstrate his party's respect for life by funding adoptions.

In April, Howard Dean opened the door of the DNC headquarters in Washington to the pro-life Democrats of Democrats for Life of America, an organization that has grown to include chapters in 41 states.

The occasion was the unveiling of DFLA’s 95-10 Initiative, a comprehensive proposal of 15 different pro-woman / pro-child policies that, if implemented, could potentially reduce the number of abortions in America by 95 percent over the next 10 years.

The initiative addresses a common misunderstanding about abortion. While Roe v. Wade allows abortion for any reason before viability, Roe's companion case, Doe v Bolton, allows it for the health of the mother. 'Health' is broadly defined as "“all factors–physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well being of the patient.” This has the net effect of abortion on demand, a practice the majority of Americans disapprove of. Americans do accept exceptions in cases of rape, incest, severe disability of the child, or the life of the mother. But these cases represent less than 5 % of the cases of abortion.

It is in the other 95% of cases Democrats for Life wants to make a difference through 95/10.

The program includes making adoption tax credits permanent, banning pregnancy as a 'pre-existing condition' in the health care industry, and making grants for ultrasound so that women can see the development of their baby. It includes legislation that will require women's health centers and abortion clinics to disclose adverse effects of abortion, both emotional and physical and that parents are notified of their underage daughter's abortion. Other measures will require non-abortive contraception in insurance coverage, and to fully fund the federal Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC).

There's something here to offend everybody. But we believe if Republicans and Democrats give up something, the net result will be more women valued and empowered, and fewer abortions. At the press conference to announce the initiative, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) said, “[95/10] outlined today is a good first step to successfully reduce the rate of abortion by offering alternatives that promote family, promote adoption, and provide education and support for new mothers.” He joined 8 other Democratic sponsors who include Congresspersons Marcy Kaptor (D-OH), Jerry Costello (D-IL) and Colin Peterson (D-MN)

June 29, DFLA will celebrate 95 / 10 at its fourth Annual Hall of Fame Dinner. The theme of this year's conference? "Unity and Inclusion". the same name of the 1992 Democratic National Convention that denied then-Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey the right to speak because of his pro-life views.

Given the growth of the DFLA – and the willingness of the Democratic Party leadership to pay attention to it – the national party may moderate its abortion views. Some of those close 2004 elections could swing the Democrats' way.

That’s not something Republicans and pro-choice absolutists want to see.


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.

12:09 AM  

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