Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Are Dems starting to get the message on abortion?

If so, it's scaring some of them into a frenzy.

The New York Times takes on the "A" word in a story about Democrats re-examining their abortion politices. A couple of nuggets:
Congressional Democrats named a professed opponent of abortion rights, Harry Reid of Nevada, as the leader in the Senate. Some Democrats supported another abortion opponent, Timothy J. Roemer, for the party's chairmanship. [emphasis added]
(Democrats also elected a former Planned Parenthood board member, Howard Dean, to be the chairman of the party.)

Ann Stone, a leader of a group of pro-abortion Republicans points out that money could be a factor: "The Democrats have to be very careful about this because they could end up undercutting themselves with the donor base. The pro-choice donors in both parties tend to be the more wealthy."

Pro-aborts are starting to bend slightly on issues that can't get them anywhere:
Another large abortion rights group, Naral Pro-Choice, is reversing course, saying it will drop its opposition to the proposed Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, a bill that would require doctors to offer anesthetic for the fetuses of women seeking abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It's a good plan -- better for the child that's about to be killed, a strong message to the mother about what's going on, and a lose-lose for the abortion proponents -- but it's a little creepy, like demanding that child abusers use anaesthetic before burning their kids with cigarettes or drowning them in the bathtub. Still, Naral doesn't lose much (except maybe their hardened abortion base) by accepting this moderate little Roe-proof legislation, and, as they say, not fighting this bill leaves more resources to fight judicial nominees.

Are the Dems starting to soften their stance? Rhetoric is easy; actions are harder. But even the change in rhetoric could have an effect. Single-issue proabortion groups gave more than twice as much to candidates for national office in 2004 than did abortion opponents. Polls say that the pros and cons are pretty close to even, but money shouts. The hard-line abortion supporters are already threatening to start a third party--political suicide, if you ask me.

Still, any departure from Democrats' harsh and adamant rigidity on abortion is a good thing, as long as people aren't fooled into believing it means more than it does. Pres. Bill Clinton's dictum that he wanted to keep abortion "safe, legal and rare," is a reminder of how hollow rhetoric can be.

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