A July 26, 2007, Los Angeles Times article by Stephanie Simon (whose work we've addressed in the past here, here, here, here, here, and here) claims there's been a "striking shift" by Democrats on the issue of abortion. She also asserts, "Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have begun to adopt some of the language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement." Simon's article is entitled, "Democrats shift approach on abortion," and if the folks at the DNC aren't laughing their pants off, they're certainly not complaining.
So what is Simon's basis for asserting this "striking shift"? Apparently Democrats and Republicans have come together on something called The Reducing the Need for Abortion Initiative. The act provides money for a number of provisions, including making women more aware of available healthcare and offering day care for needy women.
The initiative certainly contains good and admirable provisions. But is there really anything in the measure that could be considered "antiabortion"? Are there any provisions in the initiative that a pro-lifer would object to? (Except the funding, which I'll comment on below.)
Simon allowed some space to conservative Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who sees the clear hypocrisy at play by the Democrats. She also correctly reported that a significant chunk of the initiative's funding will go to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States.
But the Times omitted a number of important facts and presented some dubious claims.
- Simon claims that "leading Democratic presidential candidates" have made a "more nuanced case" that "'pro-choice' does not mean 'pro-abortion'." She then cites Barack Obama, whose position on abortion is not nuanced at all. He has a 100% rating from NARAL.
- Sen. Clinton may talk a lot about making abortion "rare," but she what has she actually done in her career to actually try to make this happen? Not much, if her 100% rating from NARAL is any indication.
- Both Obama and Hillary Clinton strongly objected to the Supreme Court decision earlier this year that upheld the federal ban of the "Intact D&E" abortion procedure (aka "partial-birth abortion"). The procedure includes poking a hole in the back of the head of a live baby and using a suction tube to suck the brains out. (That's right, both Obama and Clinton (and Edwards) disagreed with the Court's decision upholding the ban of this barbaric procedure.)
- Sen. Clinton has received the ringing endorsement of Emily's List, a very wealthy group that only supports women Democratic politicians who are strictly and strongly pro-choice.
- Planned Parenthood, Emily's List, and NARAL object to almost every measure brought forth by pro-lifers to reduce abortions, including: parental notification and/or permission before a minor has an abortion ... requiring ultrasounds before an abortion (Simon actually mentions this one) ... outlawing late-term abortions ... initiating mandatory waiting periods before an abortion.
- The Reducing the Need for Abortion Initiative provides funds to"counsel more young women in crisis to consider adoption, not abortion" (Simon's words). However, if Planned Parenthood is going to get any of that money, Simon may have wanted to report that in 2004-2005, for every one referral for adoption, they performed 180 abortions (link).
In the end, most of Simon's article simply comes off like DNC talking points. The "language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement" is hardly reflected in the mere rhetoric, "ad campaigns," "counseling," and "education" that Democrats have to offer. The goal of the pro-life movement is to eliminate elective abortions.