(CNSNews.com) - Pro-life Democrats -- including former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) -- are planning to show up in force at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Sept. 4 to challenge the lock that Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion activists seem to have on the Democratic Party.
Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) says the Democratic Party needs to be more "diverse" and "inclusive" on the issue of abortion.
The pro-life Democrats' group plans to “showcase Pro-life Democratic leaders in the political, academic, and religious fields who have spent years standing up for pro-life values and continue to fight for life today.”
Stupak -- who led pro-life members of Congress in challenging the Obamacare law in 2009 only to vote in favor of passing the final bill - will also join with former Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) and other pro-life Democrats in leading a panel discussion titled, “Can You be Pro-Life in a Pro-Choice Party?”
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America said the effort was made necessary because the 2012 Democratic platform totally shut-out pro-life viewpoints.
“The draft platform released [by the platform committee] is greatly weakened by its failure to recognize the party’s pro-life constituency,” Day said.
“If you remember back to 1992, when (then Pennsylvania) Gov. Bob Casey was prevented from speaking and that following convention in ’96, Tony Hall and a group of other pro-life Democrats led an effort to add some language to the Democratic platform that said we’re the Big Tent and we see there is a difference of opinions on abortion and we think we should include everybody in our Big Tent, and we see diversity as a source of strength,” Day told CNSNews.com Thursday.
“That language was in 2000, as well. And for some reason it was taken out in 2004. And it was not in the 2008 platform. So we thought that that language was really important to extend a hand out to the roughly one-third of Democrats who are pro-life.”
Less than two weeks ago, however, the Democratic platform committee completely rejected pro-life language that DFLA had submitted. NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan was a prime opponent of the language.
“She was on the platform committee,” Day told CNSNews.com. “It was a challenge to bring this before the Committee, because a majority of the members of the committee did not agree with our position – especially having Nancy Keenan there. But our board president was able to testify at the hearing and share a point of view – but unfortunately it wasn't adopted.”
In fact, pro-abortion activists have dominated pre-convention activity.
On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee announced that NARAL's Keenan, as well as Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke were scheduled to address the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
The language that Democrats excluded from the platform called for the Democratic Party to be more inclusive and exhibit more “diversity” when it comes to abortion:
--"We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty.
--“We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.
-- “However, we can find common ground. We believe that we can reduce the number of abortions because we are united in our support for policies that assist families who find themselves in crisis or unplanned pregnancies.
-- “We believe that women deserve to have a breadth of options available as they face pregnancy: including, among others, support and resources needed to handle the challenges of pregnancy, adoption, and parenthood; access to education, healthcare, childcare; and appropriate child support. We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term.”
According to Democrats for Life, almost one third of all Democrats self-identify as pro-life. In the 2008 election, about one-quarter of Obama’s supporters self-identified as pro-life, the group said.
But Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the abortion lobby have a choke-hold on the Democratic Party, according to Day.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more effort on our part to really educate people that there are 21 million Democrats who are pro-life and its so important for that point of view to be represented as well,” Day told CNSNews.com
“Because the 21 million Democrats who are pro-life agree on everything else within the Democratic Party except for this issue, and this constant barrage of NARAL’s point of view, and NARAL’s focus on abortion is alienating some of the pro-life Democrats.”According to the 2008 Democratic Party Platform, “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 comprehensive affordable family planning services and 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,” according to the platform.