Can you be pro-life in a pro-choice party? Delegates say yes

Democrats for Life of America isn’t pro-life in spite of its Democratic stance, but because of it


The Democrats for Life of America are as fiercely Democrat as they are in favour of overturning Roe vs. Wade, one of the Republican Party’s most ambitious goals, and one of the party’s worst nightmares.

Eva Ritchie, the president of North Carolina Pro-Life Democrats, tells me the group is opposed to abortion in cases of rape and incest. (It’s the same position held by Missouri Republican Todd Akin.) Eva Ritchey was one of a small crowd at the Democratic National Convention’s only pro-life event, a panel discussion called “Can you be pro-life in a pro-choice party?” The answer was, of course, yes. Not only is it possible, the group argued, it is commonsense.

Thomas C. Berg, an academic Catholic from Chicago, told an audience of about 50 that abortion rates are four times as high among people below the poverty line. “The problem of abortion cannot be seriously addressed without [Democratic] values,” he said.  Of the Romney-Ryan plan, he observes, “There’s nothing pro-life about anti-poverty spending.”

This group, then, isn’t pro-life in spite of its Democratic stance, but because of it. Anti-abortion Pennsylvania congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper describes being a “whole life Democrat.” They’d like to legislate social policies that would see a fetus to birth and all the way to natural death. The logo of the North Carolina Pro Life Democrats features a party donkey nuzzling a baby donkey.

From panelist to panelist, the sentiment was the same: The GOP’s stance on abortion is hypocritical because its aversion to social programs is harmful to the unborn once they enter the real world. This is why they often refer to Republicans as “pro-birth,” not “pro-life.” They insist that if Romney and Ryan are elected, budget cuts to social programs and women’s health would mean an increasing number of women would have no choice but to resort to abortion. A GOP government would, apparently, lead to “thousands of new deaths among the unborn.”

Some find this stance problematic, especially because Barack Obama is a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood, the non-profit women’s health organization that allocates 3 per cent of its funding to accessible abortions.

Breeanee Howe, a reporter from the conservative political website believes Obama is not only a supporter of infanticide, but secretly endorses the selling of dead babies’ body parts. “I was a [Democrat] a long time ago,” she tells me, “but I converted in all ways.

“I was pro choice for a long time, but that’s cause I didn’t understand anything. My husband felt like I was probably Republican before I knew it. Once he explained it me, it kind of felt like I was leaning toward the Republican Party anyway, I just didn’t realize it.” (There you have it, Canada: The epitome of a free-thinking woman.)

Democrats for Life of America insist 21 million Democrats identify as pro-life. They argue the party is losing support from independents and issue voters who are excited by the left-leaning party’s commitment to the less fortunate, but put off by its pro-choice platform. “Elites within this party don’t believe we need the pro-life Democrats,” says former U.S. congressman and panelist Bart Stupak. “But Democrats cannot hold majority without pro-life Democrats.”

The women down the street from him didn’t seem to notice.

After my morning with the pro-lifers, I walked through the tent city of Occupy Charlotte — it smelled way worse than Toronto’s — and into the heart of a vehemently pro-choice Planned Parenthood rally. Hordes of women (and a few men) in pink T-shirts waved pink Obama signs and danced to soul music blaring from speakers on a stage erected for the rally’s high-profile speakers: Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, the woman Rush Limbaugh famously called “a slut” for suggesting women should have access to affordable contraception. The Planned Parenthood mascot, “Pillamina,” a pretty blonde in a giant birth control suit, ran from one end of the stage to the other to rev up the crowd with pro-choice chants: “You say ‘Planned,’ I say ‘Parenthood.’ … ‘Your vote is your voice, vote pro-choice!'”

It was a five-minute walk from that quiet hotel conference room where a predominantly older, Catholic crowd, talked about their love for the unborn, but it felt a world away.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker brought down the house when he suggested that having Republicans insist they love women because they have mothers and sisters is like saying, “I love Hispanics because I eat at Taco Bell.”

“I wanna tell all those people who say, ‘I love women’ [read Ann Romney], don’t tell me about it. Be about it!’”

The rally was light on abortion talk, probably because Planned Parenthood wanted to emphasize its non-abortion related programs—initiatives that take up the vast majority of its funds.

Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin’s 4th congressional district, took the stage after Booker. She said Planned Parenthood was the very first health care provider she went to as an adult. “They do screening for breast cancer,” she said. “Many women learn they are diabetic. It’s for women who have no health care.”

As for the Democrats for Pro Life America and their insistence that the party is alienating 21 million pro-life democratic voters: “There will always be single issue voters,” says Moore. Whether or not they will matter in this election, remains to be seen.


Can you be pro-life in a pro-choice party? Delegates say yes

  1. Shorter Emma Teitel…”It’s OK to be pro life, as long as you’re a Democrat”.

    • Actually, Emma seemed pretty careful in here not to provide her opinion one way or the other. But nice attempt to shove words in her mouth. Usually you’re not this dishonest.. jealousy over Sandra’s sex life making you pissy?

      • From an earlier post…

        The Republican National Convention is an opportunity for the GOP to close the gender gap,
        and convince women it cares more about restoring the economy than
        controlling their vaginas. Too bad it has already failed. Miserably. Not
        only because of its recent platform pledge to ban abortions
        , but because the party’s new matriarch—Ann Romney—gave a speech so old fashioned my grandmother would have gagged.

        I think I’m on very safe ground here.

        • No. The better comment would have been under THAT post, asking for some impartiality.

          This was a good article. It didn’t opine really at all.

          That other one sounds like a piece of crap, I’ll agree.

          • Why? I understand that some women will demonize the pro life position. I don’t agree with that demonization (I’m pro choice, but have enough respect for the pro life position not to demonize them), but at least it’s consistent and easy to know where she stands.

            Until I see a post like this. Which basically excuses pro lifers…as long as they are Democrats. When your willingness to demonize the pro life position ends at the party affiliation…that’s when I call bullsh*t on what you really stand for.

          • Because it’s far more productive to call people out when they do a bad job, than to complain that it’s unfair if they don’t do an equally bad job on the party you don’t like.

            Complain that she’s doing a bad job when she is is rational behavior.
            Complain that she’s not doing a bad job on the party you oppose makes *you* the partisan.

          • Thwim, what “bad job” exactly do you think I’m accusing her of? If she came on here and blasted Dems for Life as wanting to set back the women’s movement 100 years…I may think the position extreme but at least it would be consistent.

            That’s the issue I’m flagging. Not the substance of her criticism, but the inconsistency and partisan manner in which it is applied. Which only revealed itself here.

          • She also ridiculed the woman who switched from Democrat to Republican. I suppose that’s better than claiming that such people don’t exist. Instead she claimed they cannot think for themselves.

          • So you’d rather have consistent reporting, even if it’s consistently bad, than good reporting at all.


          • I think you’ve lost the distinction between opinion/editorial and reporting, or maybe we just disagree on what this is. Like Wherry, I consider this blog opinion, not reporting. As such, I value consistency of opinion that transcends political parties, and one that does not scream hypocrisy, more than simply having an opinion that agrees with my own.

            However, as reporting goes, this entry is pretty bad as well; see the link in MattDubs comment above to show how she exaggerated the crowd size at the PP rally (hordes of women? really?), and the NP article I linked above to show the extent to which she hid the dissatisfaction of Eva Ritchy with the way the pro-choice “mainstream” Democrats treat the pro lifers; if you just read Emma’s piece, you’d conclude it’s just one big happy family.

  2. Is it possible to distract a nation from serious matters for years with this twaddle?

    Why, yes it is.

    • Wow. For once I agree with you. Except I think you mean “yes we can”

      • I mean the religious rightwing is being distracted and used by the Repubs, and are in turn distracting others over things like abortion and gay marriage……when no one intends to stop them in the first place.and never did.

        Meanwhile the economy, climate change, war, globalization, downgrading etc slide by unnoticed

  3. But for some Democrats the party platform has proven alienating.

    It’s a lonely life for a pro-life Democrat thanks to the staunch
    pro-choice stance, said Eva Ritchey, the president of North Carolina
    Pro-Life Democrats.

    I think politically as far as a pro-life Democrat goes on the part
    of my party, I’d say the war’s on us,” she said. “I think it’s pretty
    inaccurate to say we’re a big tent party. I’ve thought about this a lot
    and we’re really more of a big bus party — and pro-life Democrats are
    sitting in the back.

    Gee Emma…that doesn’t sound like they are as “fiercely Democrat” as you say they are. Is there another Eva Ritchey that you might have spoken to?

    If anyone wants to read the serious writings of an actual Canadian journalist who talked to the same person yesterday, rather than the Democratic Party cheerleader employed by Maclean’s, here is probably what you want to read. The clip above was taken from there.

    • I’m guessing it’s the same Eva Ritchey. Never before have I seen the term pro-birth. Any which way to demonize the Republicans, Ms Teitel. More ridiculous talking points. Pro birth. Wow.

  4. Is there a bigger cliche in Canadian msm than Ms Teitel – left wing, middle class twenty something who thinks she is all wise and makes snide and catty remarks about people she doesn’t agree with.

    What does it say about Booker and Obama that they crack wise about Republicans who don’t care while they support a racist organization founded by one of the most odious women of 20th century? What does it say about Teitel that she thinks racist org that kills black and brown babies around the world is acceptable as long as its infanticide activities doesn’t take up more than 10% of its budget?

    Black Genocide

    Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America. Are we being targeted? Isn’t that genocide? We are the only minority in America that is on the decline in population. If the current trend continues, by 2038 the black vote will be insignificant. Did you know that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a devout racist who created the Negro Project designed to sterilize unknowing black women and others she deemed as undesirables of society? The founder of Planned Parenthood said, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.” Is her vision being fulfilled today?

  5. the woman Rush Limbaugh famously called “a slut” for suggesting women should have access to affordable contraception.

    Birth control pills cost $9/month. That’s 3 miles from where Sandra Fluke lives.

    Ok, the pill has some side effects, maybe women don’t want to use them. Condoms? Let’s ask American Pregnancy.

    Most condoms are purchased
    in packages from 3 to 12. The cost per condom ranges from as little
    as 20¢ to $2.50 each. Some health facilities may distribute condoms

    Women have access to affordable birth control. That’s not what Sandra Fluke wants. She wants the taxpayer to cover it.

    Sandra Fluke says contraception can cost $3,000 during law school (see first link). Let’s do a little math.

    Let’s generously assume that Fluke was talking about $3,000 over the entire stay at law school, and not $3,000 per year. Let’s say law school is 3 years. About 1000 days, just to make the math easy. Let’s say a woman has a reasonable reason not to want to use the very affordable $9/month pill, and we’ll assume the free condom supply is exhausted (you’ll see why in a moment) and use a middle of the road cost of $1.00 per condom. (We’ll assume a volume discount. You’ll see why in a moment).

    Sandra Fluke needs $3000 in contraception to get through law school??? That’s about 3 sex acts per day, every day, for 3 years.

    Anyone still want to disagree with Rush’s assessment?

    • Wow john. Just cause you can’t get it more than once a week from anybody you know doesn’t mean we’re all so afflicted.

      Hint: Slut means multiple partners. Even if we ignore the extremely selective citing job you did, ignoring how she was unaware of the Target brand, and how the same drugs at the pharmacy nearest her, where she’s most likely to know about them, cost $33/month, and how she mentioned that the pill is not one-size-fits-all.. there’s still the issue of how neither your sexist ass, or Rush’s has provided one iota of evidence that there are multiple partners involved.

      You poor prude.

      • OK, given that I agree Limbaugh shouldn’t have said what he said, my joking about it was perhaps ill advised…but I’m sorry, her position demands only mockery. If she doesn’t know simple basics like the cost of easily accessible, easily affordable, multiple forms of birth control that can be purchased at major national retailers…exactly what qualifies her to the senior standing she’s achieved as a women’s activist in the Democrat Party, other than once having been a target of Rush Limbaugh smear?

        If all it takes to be an activist is to be called a bad word by a media figure, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Laura Ingraham must be among the most important women’s activists in the history of activism.

        • Remember, she gave $3000 as a figure it could go up to. So using a “middling” price for the condoms doesn’t meet the criteria either.

          What her standing is with the Democratic party I neither know, nor care. I was responding to your rather pathetic attempt to defend Rush’s blatant sexism.

          • “she gave $3000 as a figure it could go up to”

            A figure to go up to? If she spend every single waking moment getting laid, maybe she’d be able to attain the 3000. Maybe.

            Saying birth control can cost 3000 is like saying vacations can cost a million. Sure, they can cost a million. Funding 3000 birth control through insurance is like funding million dollar vacations through insurance. There is absolutely no sense to it.

            Why not just choose a million? Perhaps a billion? Surely birth control can cost a trillion dollars for some people with strong sexual urges. Perhaps gold-covered condoms would do the trick.

  6. When Emma Teitel writes ” Hordes of women (and a few men) in pink T-shirts waved pink Obama signs and danced to soul music blaring from speakers on a stage erected for the rally’s high-profile speakers” what she really means is this: – She’s right on the “high-profile speakers and stage” part, but her choice of words to describe the crowd is a huge #journofail – “Hordes of women”? most people there were event organizers and their volunteers – a few dozen at most. If the event was a failure, say it how it is. You were honest in your description of the pro-life side event, why not with this Planned Parenthood rally?
    Planned Parenthood 1 – Journalistic integrity – 0

  7. Strange you would write this after the DNC added taxpayer-funded abortion to their platform. Keep up the Dem cheer-leading.

  8. Ms. Teitel: You wrote a fairly accurate article about the DFLA meeting, but as a board member I would like to clear up two points. You seem to swallow whole anything Planned Parenthood says. They do not allocate a mere 3% of their funds to abortion. PP is the largest abortion provider in the nation, and at least a third of its profits come from abortions. PP is not a non-profit, no matter what they claim. Read Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned. As a former PP Director, she tells how she was pressured to promote abortions and make bigger profits. Others have come forward as well, and now there are Medicaid fraud charges against a number of PP sites. Check out PP’s annual report online. It’s big business, but PP covers it up with false statistics and rallies that focus on their other services. Often, a woman can get cheaper and most comprehensive services elsewhere.
    Also, an important point of the DFLA meeting was the explanation of the whole-life approach to voting and policy, which is the opposite of single-issue voting. You should understand that from being at the meeting, so it is misleading to quote a PP person who stereotypes us.