The Democratic Party has been debating whether support for abortion should be a litmus test for any candidate representing or receiving the support of the Democratic Party. The debate began when the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Ben Ray Luján, said in an interview that the Democrats will fund pro-life candidates in conservative districts, citing the party’s need to build “a broad coalition” to win control of Congress in 2018.
Senator Bernie Sanders agreed. He said that the Democrats “can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”
Some hard-core supporters of abortion responded with alarm. New York Times contributor Lindy West responded by labelling such tolerance of pro-life Democrats as “a morally putrescent idea” and compared pro-life views to being in favor of women “being stripped of ownership of their own bodies and lives.”
She also declared that to support pro-life policies is absolutely indefensible from an economic justice, racial justice, gender justice and human rights standpoint. That kind of intolerant all-or-nothing drivel is not just divisive but it is demeaning and destructive of the kind of civic discourse that is indispensable for any free, democratic government to flourish.
Tragically, obliviously, West repeats the feminist creedal falsehood that: “There is no economic equality without the ability to terminate a pregnancy.” Really?
One might forgive a slow eighth-grader for repeating such a nonsensical slogan. However, it is surprising to read a serious contributing writer for one of the nation’s leading newspapers, write such uninformed silliness.
“No economic equality” – really? Tell that to the sixty-eight percent of married mothers who were working in the paid-job market according to a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Among married-couple families with children, … 61.1 percent had both parents employed.” Further, in families headed by mothers with children, 72.5 percent of the mothers were employed.
While there are lingering gender disparities in the marketplace including in pay for similar jobs (many of which relate to gendered differences in employment choices such as working hours and flexibility preferred by some working mothers) it is hard to deny that economic opportunities generally are equal. At least one active agency of the federal government monitors and investigates any report or whiff of evidence of gender inequality in employment – the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Most market-place income and advancement disparities between the genders relate to family and child commitments. Many more women than men (especially those with pre-school and school-aged children) choose to forego work, preferring to have work flexibility and family accommodation instead.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, espousal of the antediluvian view that abortion is necessary for women’s equal opportunity in the market is an article of faith in many radical feminist circles. The facts-to-the-contrary notwithstanding, some feminists insist that life as we know it in a free nation will come to a crashing halt if abortion-on-demand is challenged or modified in any way. They are terrified by the possibility that some persons might even think such a pernicious, dangerous thought!
The Democratic Party has been the captive of the pro-abortion lobby for far too long. It is time for the Democratic Party to be liberated from the dominance of the radical feminist abortion extreme. It is time for the Democratic Party to recognize and announce that pro-life candidates (and voters) are fully welcome in their political tent.
Our nation benefits from having two strong, inclusive political parties. It is encouraging to hear the leaders of the Democratic Party express their welcome to pro-life Democrats. That increases the prospects for a resurgence of a vibrant, responsible two-party political system.
Lynn D. Wardle is the Bruce C. Hafen Professor of Law at Brigham Young University. He is author or editor of numerous books and law review articles mostly about family, biomedical ethics and conflict of laws policy issues. His publications present only his personal (not institutional) views.