In the wake of John Kerry's defeat in the Presidential election, there has been a lot of examination of the reasons why Democrats are have so much trouble in the electoral arena, despite polls showing public majorities on a number of issues for positions more associated with Democrats than Republicans. One of the themes repeatedly coming out is that Democrats need to respect and be inclusive of pro-lifers. Recently, there have been a number of indications that the Party leadership is moving away from its slavish obeisance to NARAL and NOW in order to recognize the legitimacy of Democrats being pro-life.
Indications of this include:
- The choosing of Sen. Harry Reid, one of only two Senate Democrats to vote against reaffirming Roe v. Wade, as the new Democratic Party leader in the Senate, with not a single Senator saying that his position on abortion should disqualify him for leadership, and with him inidcating his position on it would not change.
- Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, now running for Chair of the Democrat National Committee, said on Sunday's Meet the Press:
"I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats. The Democrats that have stuck with us, who are pro-life, through their long period of conviction, are people who are the kind of pro-life people that we ought to have deep respect for. Not only are they pro-life, which, I think, is a moral judgment--I happen to be strongly pro-choice, as a physician--but they are pro-life more moral reasons. They also, if they're in the Democratic Party, are real pro-life. That is, they're pro-life not just for unborn children. They're pro-life for investing in children's programs. They're pro-life for helping small children and young families. They're pro-life in making sure adequate medical care happens to children. That's what you so often lack on the Republican side. They beat the drums about being pro-life but they forget about life after birth. And so I do embrace pro-life Democrats. I think we want them in our party. We can have a respectful dialogue, and we have to stop demagoguing this issue."
- Newsweek ran a story in its current issue on the Democrat's "Anxiety Over Abortion" which reported that Sen. John Kerry responded to a question from the President of the "pro-choice" PAC EMILY's List by stating that the Party needed to welcome more pro-life candidates into the Party.
- Centrist Senate Democrats have formed a new advocacy organization, Third Way, whose prospectus notes that "only 21% of voters believed abortion should always be legal." Further, they noted that "even many pro-choice Americans favor (or do not oppose) a ban on late-term abortions, yet many in the pro-choice advocacy world have made that a litmus test for their supporters."
- [Addition, 12/15/04] Reports indicate that leading Democrats are encouraging former Rep. Tim Roemer (IN), who had a 95% pro-life voting record, to run for Democratic National Committee Chair. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi denies she has endorsed any candidate, but does say that Roemer "would make an excellent chair."
Pro-life Democrats, treated for a number of years as pariahs by the Party leadership, apparently are going to be welcome once again in the Party. This is a major step forward for the progressive wing of the pro-life movement, and shows promise for confounding the Republican strategy of getting many people to vote against progressive economic and other public policy positions they favor because of disgust at the Democratic Party's extreme position in favor of abortion interests.