October 30, 2012

Wondering Why Dems Have Gotten Worse on Abortion

Carl Olsen opines:
It's not entirely clear to me why most people in the early days of the abortion debate would have thought the Democratic Party would have opposed abortion more strongly than Republicans, especially as it seems the Democratic Party shifted much more sharply and radically in the 1960s and 1970s on social issues. It is, I suppose, something of a chicken-or-the-egg discussion: did Catholics of that era go along with the Party out of loyalty, or did Catholics who embraced contraception and supported abortion help re-shape the Party? Put another, and more specific, way: did Sen. Edward Kennedy change his views in the 1970s because of changes in the political climate, or did he lead the change? I suspect it was a combination. Still, as of less than twenty years ago, in 1996, the Democratic Party platform welcomed anti-abortion Democrats:
Choice. The Democratic Party stands behind the right of every woman to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of ability to pay. President Clinton took executive action to make sure that the right to make such decisions is protected for all Americans. Over the last four years, we have taken action to end the gag rule and ensure safety at family planning and women's health clinics. We believe it is a fundamental constitutional liberty that individual Americans -- not government -- can best take responsibility for making the most difficult and intensely personal decisions regarding reproduction.

The Democratic Party is a party of inclusion. We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party.

Our goal is to make abortion less necessary and more rare, not more difficult and more dangerous. We support contraceptive research, family planning, comprehensive family life education, and policies that support healthy childbearing. For four years in a row, we have increased support for family planning. The abortion rate is dropping. Now we must continue to support efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, and we call on all Americans to take personal responsibility to meet this important goal.

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