Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Cracks In The Dam?

Doug Bandow looks at the current status of abortion as a political issue. Are the Democrats finally starting (but just barely) to see that the whole thing is a suicide pill for them?

Former Democratic Rep. Tim Roemer (Ind.) is running for Democratic National Committee Chairman and says "there must be a place in our party" for opponents of abortion. Even Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) has advocated finding "common ground" in the abortion debate. Election losses wonderfully concentrate the minds of politicians.


[M]any on the Left are unable to even contemplate a legitimate argument against legal abortion. There long has been no quicker or surer way to be considered a Neanderthal than to suggest that the unborn might warrant legal protection.

In practice, the pro-abortion lobby errs "on the side of inhumanity," as one satirical blogger put it. That is a strange position for a party that claims to speak for the poor and disadvantaged.


But more to the point for Democratic politicians, the pro-choice mantra is politically costly. Polls find an eight-point margin for the pro-life perspective among voters.


Strategist Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 campaign, cites abortion as an issue that puts "us into the extreme and not the mainstream." She adds: "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies."

The outgoing Democratic Chairman of Iowa, Gordon Fischer, complained that Republicans had succeeded in defining Democrats "as the abortion any time, anywhere party." Democratic consultant Howard Wolfson works with pro-abortion groups yet acknowledged that "Either we're going to begin talking about this a different way and making our arguments effectively, or we're going to keep losing."


John Kerry recently told a meeting of Democratic activists that they had to demonstrate they didn't like abortion. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, reportedly observed: "There was a gasp in the room."

But that gasp exemplifies the Democrats' challenge. Many activists don't understand what there is about abortion not to like. Others offer only rhetoric. For instance, Sen. Clinton restated her support for Roe, thereby offering little practical protection for the unborn.


But Democrats must do more than talk the talk. They must walk the walk.

It is not enough to talk about the unborn as life. Democrats must treat the unborn as life.

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