Abortion Wars, Part XXVI: A New Platform
David Gibson August 12, 2008 - 1:34pm
Yes, we (I) wade back into the never-ending story. But this time I am forced by events, as the Democratic platform committeehasapparentlyproposed new language for the party's abortion policy. Some will see it as a victory for Democratic pro-lifers, like those we discussed in the thread below--and I tend to agree--whileothers will see it as "yada yada yada." And I wonder if it will really give the party any traction with pro-lifers.Still, I think it is significant, and perhaps most interesting,a challenge to Republicans to expand on their rather brittle anti-abortion planks, which stress passing a Human Life Amendment and promoting abstinence.Here is Doug Kmiec's argument that this is a good thing--note thatKmiec was involved indrafting the new plank. Catholics United has also responded positively. And over at "Progressive Revival," I talk about whether 1) this is an improvement from a moral point of view and 2) whether it will work politically. (Answers: Probably, and probably not, at least now.) I would also recommend Steve Waldman's six-point critique. The most telling failure he notes, I think (after the absence of "moral language") is the lack of a "conscience clause."And CBN's David Brody has the draft language--which could be improved, worsened, or deleted--by the time we get to Denver.Here is the proposed plank:The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.Here is the current plank:Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.