Anyone who tuned in to the Democratic National Convention this week could be forgiven for confusing it with a Planned Parenthood rally or NARAL Pro-Choice America conference.
Ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room – President Obama’s dreadful stewardship of the economy – speaker after speaker extolled the unrestricted “right” of women to kill their own children as one of their party’s core values. Many also lambasted the Republicans’ staunch pro-life positions as too extreme for America – an ironic claim given the Democrats’ abortion absolutism.
The official Democratic Party platform calls for abortion on demand and opposes “any and all” efforts to restrict abortions. The official language also states that the party “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 Supreme Court decision effectively legalizing most abortions.
It also supports a woman’s right to abortion “regardless of ability to pay.” This means Democrats officially support forcing taxpayers to pay for other people’s abortions.
Not long ago, the Democrats’ platform welcomed dissenting views on abortion. “We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of the party,” the 1996 platform stated. “[Our goal] is to make abortion less necessary and more rare, not more difficult and more dangerous.”
But that was then. The Democratic Party’s current position on abortion reflects that of its leader. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama twice opposed legislation to define as “persons” babies who survive botched abortions. A federal version of that legislation passed unanimously in the US Senate and with the support of all but 15 House members. Obama compiled a 100 percent lifetime rating in support of abortion in the U.S. Senate.
Obama believes that abortion, or what he calls “reproductive justice,” is “one of the most fundamental rights we possess.” Obama expunged “rare” from the party platform in 2008, and it was omitted again this year. It makes a certain kind of sense. After all, if abortion is a “fundamental right,” why should it be rare?
Time after time during his presidency, Obama has placed the demands of abortion advocates ahead of all other considerations.
Last October, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services stopped funding of successful Catholic programs that help victims of sex trafficking because the Catholic services refused to refer pregnant victims to abortion facilities.
During the 2011 budget debate, Obama threatened to shut down the federal government over taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. “Nope, zero,” was the president’s response to House Speaker John Boehner’s request to cut funding for the scandal-plagued abortion business.
ObamaCare requires that insurance plans cover “preventive health services,” including sterilizations, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Catholic Church and other organizations that view these practices as gravely immoral would not be exempted. The decision represented an unprecedented violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.
Later it was revealed that the Obama administration had written the mandate policy in concert with pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood and its president, Cecile Richards.
In May, Congress considered PRENDA, a proposed law to ban abortions that specifically target babies because of their sex or race. Through a spokesman, Obama followed the lead of abortion advocates in opposing the law, whose sole purpose was to ensure protection and equal treatment of girls and racial minorities.
In Texas recently, the Obama administration cancelled funding for a long-standing and cost-effective health and wellness program for more than 100,000 Texas women because Texas law prohibited abortion groups like Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer money.
In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began a massive campaign to promote “reproductive health care and family planning,” including abortion, as a “basic right” globally. Since then, hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance has been appropriated to contraceptive and abortion programs abroad.
The Democratic Party is now unequivocally the party of abortion. Almost every top Democrat in America supports (or at least doesn’t oppose) partial-birth abortion, taxpayer funding of abortion, abortions for minors without parental involvement, abortion used as birth control and abortions performed based on the sex of the baby. Polls show all of these instances of abortion are opposed by the vast majority of Americans.
This is a strange time for the Democrats to be stressing their abortion views. In May, a Gallup poll found that a record low 41 percent of Americans identify as “pro-choice,” while a near-high of 50 percent call themselves “pro-life.” The poll also found that more Americans (51 percent) find abortion “morally wrong” than find it “morally acceptable” (38 percent.)
More and more people are embracing the pro-life position. And few share the abortion absolutism of the president and his party.
Former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families. Follow him on Twitter @GaryLBauer.