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The End Of Pro-Life Democrats – OpEd

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When I taught in a Catholic elementary school in Spanish Harlem in the 1970s, I quoted to my African American and Puerto Rican students what Rev. Jesse Jackson said about abortion: It was genocide against black people. Senator Ted Kennedy also railed against abortion, as did virtually every Democrat.

The pro-abortion party was the Republicans, home to WASP elites like the Rockefellers who saw abortion as a way to resolve “the urban problem.” That’s why their lavish funding of Planned Parenthood wound up establishing clinics in minority neighborhoods.

But by the end of the 1970s, the parties flipped: Republicans became pro-life and the Democrats became pro-abortion. They did so because of religious reasons.

Evangelicals, most of whom were Republicans, supported Roe v. Wade. They did so largely because Catholics, most of whom were Democrats, were pro-life. But they quickly got over their irrational opposition and, by the time Ronald Reagan became president, they joined the pro-life cause. In the Democratic party, feminists took command and drove out the pro-life Catholic leadership. This pushed more Catholics to join the Republican party.

In the subsequent decades, the number of pro-abortion Republicans and the number of pro-life Democrats dwindled, though there was some room left for pro-life Democrats. Now that is over. What happened last week marked the end of pro-life Democrats.

Charles Camosy is a pro-life Democrat who teaches at Fordham University. He resigned last week from the board of Democrats for Life in America because the party has left him with “no choice.” Bishop Thomas Tobin, who heads the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, asked on February 4, “Are pro-life voters not welcome in the Democratic party?”

They are not. On Saturday, Senator Bernie Sanders said, “I think being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat.”

Does that mean that all abortions are justified, including those where the baby is just about to be born? Yes. Are there any Democrats running for president who draw the line when it comes to partial-birth abortion? No.

During Friday’s debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden both endorsed congressional legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade should the Supreme Court reverse this decision. Senator Amy Klobuchar said she would only appoint judges who supported Roe. Pete Buttigieg, who is unemployed, had a chance at a Fox News town hall to carve out a more moderate position, but refused to do so. He previously said that “life begins at breath,” and stuck to his guns regarding the moral legitimacy of killing a baby who is 80 percent born.

In May 2018, a Gallup poll found that 13 percent support third-term abortions. Why, then, would not one Democrat running for president agree with the 87 percent of Americans who say late-term abortions are indefensible?

Four years ago, Hillary Clinton hurt herself badly when she defended partial-birth abortion in a debate with Donald Trump. Apparently, nothing has been learned from that experience.

There was a time when New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and New York City Mayor Ed Koch, both Democrats and supporters of Roe, said “count me out” when it comes to late-term abortions. Now the Democrats have become the “count me in” party, the consequences of which will soon be known.

William Donohue

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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