The Democratic National Convention Committee has announced the inclusion of a pro-life speaker at their convention later this month. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr., a strong supporter of Senator Obama, is also an outspoken pro-life advocate.
The inclusion of Casey as speaker is a kind of redemption for his family. According to legend, in 1992, his father, then Pennsylvania governor, Bob Casey, Sr., was uninvited from the speakers’ platform when his own pro-life views became known. There are alternate versions of the story: Some say Casey Sr. was prepared to make a fervent pro-life pitch, which was the reason he was removed. Others say his views on abortion did not enter in (evidently other pro-life Democrats did speak), and that Casey’s refusal to endorse the Clinton-Gore ticket was the reason he was not allowed to speak. Nonetheless the announcement of Casey Jr.’s speech is meant to signal a new day for the Democratic Party.
I think the proposed abortion plank of the DNC also signals the seriousness of the issue for Democrats. I’m not naïve. I’m not happy with the plank. Its pro-life side is not strong enough,
"The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs."
This is not the full pro-life stance I want, but it beats the recalcitrance we’ve seen on both sides of the aisle on this difficult moral issue. Not strong enough, but it moves in the right direction. Still I prefer the language from Democrats for Life:
“Democrats for Life of America will strongly and unequivocally champion the sanctity of life from conception to natural death and will continue to oppose any and all legislation that infringes on that right. We will continue to support pregnant women and advocate on behalf of unborn children. We believe that one of most effective ways to reduce abortions is to support pregnant women and provide access to health care, child care, a livable wage and freedom from the fear of domestic and sexual violence.”
What I like about the proposed DNC plank is the focus on actions more than simply stances. We pro-lifers can yell and scream our stance or silently hold on to our stance; but if we advocate nothing to actually and effectively stop abortions, our moral, godly, righteous, and right stance is worthless in the public square. The pro-life side of this plank at least encourages action toward stopping abortions.