PRO-LIFERS BELONG IN DEMOCRATIC PARTYby Denise Mackura-Tromski.
Chicago Tribune, April 19, 1998
HOMEWOOD -- "Why would any woman vote for him?", the news commentator asked, referring to the Democratic candidate who also happened to be pro-life. Just after last month's Illinois primary, this had become a typical reaction. But this line of thinking chokes off objective debate because it is based on two great myths. FOCUS The first is that there are no, or very few, pro-life Democrats. To disprove this myth it is only necessary to look at the hundreds of state laws passed since Roe vs. Wade that provide the minimal protections permitted by the Supreme Court--parental notification, woman's right to know, funding restrictions, conscience clauses, etc. Most of these laws were passed during the years when a majority of state legislatures were controlled by Democrats. It was not the Republicans providing leadership on these issues but Gov. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and hundreds of other Democrats.
The reason these pro-life Democrats often win elections and feel comfortable voting for pro-life laws leads to the second myth, that being pro-life is incompatible with being a Democrat.
The Democratic Party is the right place for pro-lifers. It has always been the tradition of the party to express concern for those without a voice, those in need of compassion and those who are most vulnerable to the harsh consequences of our economic system. The group that most closely fits this description in our culture is the unborn.
Democratic causes--the New Deal, the War on Poverty, civil rights, opposition to the Vietnam War, women's rights, opposition to nuclear weapons and capital punishment, consumer advocacy and environmentalism--all have this theme. They all are based on a respect for life.
It is a natural conclusion that this respect should also apply to prenatal life. Pro-life Democrats want to protect and advance the interests of mothers and their children, both before and after birth.
The Democratic agenda includes finding solutions to many of the problems that put pressure on women to consider abortion, such as poverty, discrimination and family violence. In that, at least, both pro-life and pro-choice Democrats can fight on the same side.
Both should also support a progressive family policy that deals with the economic causes of social problems, encourages family values and supports a pregnant woman to enable her to continue her pregnancy with security and dignity. These goals fit the most cherished of Democratic ideals.
Being a pro-life Democrat means simply that you are working for both people involved in every pregnancy, and that you seek mercy, justice and love for both. It takes someone with true ideological backbone to see through the rhetoric and cliches to work toward productive solutions for women and children victimized by social problems and misled to believe that abortion provides a solution to any of them.
Democratic women and men of good conscience can be proud of voting for pro-life Democrats every chance they get.
Copyright 1998 Chicago Tribune Company