Democrats Are America’s Pro-Life Party
So, How Do Democrats Reconcile the Two?
For generations, Republicans have taken the moniker of “pro-life” and used it to attract those opposed to abortion. So many fervently oppose the practice in any form they will turn a blind eye to the rest of the harmful Republican agenda if it means nothing other than the opportunity to eliminate abortion once and for all.
Those voters will never turn blue. I’m talking to you, Bernie Sanders. Just forget it.
However, there is a large segment of the population that is both repulsed by the Republican agenda and turned off by Democrats who see abortion as black-and-white the same way Republicans do, but from a completely different side. Whereas some Republicans want to argue that it’s wrong all the time no matter what, some Democrats want to claim it’s wrong to question a woman’s right to an abortion at any time no matter the circumstance.
Both of these hypothetical stances are wrong and both alienate the more centrist voter. The only question is whether Democrats will realize this and get on the same page to attract this type of voter before it’s too late.
The official stance for Democrats has remained somewhat murky, only to get clarified and then a lot murkier following the campaign of Democratic candidate for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska Heath Mello.
Mello was supported by the Democratic National Committee and Sanders, as well as liberal website/fundraiser Daily Kos, only to lose support from Daily Kos after it came out that Mello had sponsored a 20-week abortion bill as a member of the Nebraska state legislature.
While Sanders maintained his support for Mello, the relatively new DNC chair, Tom Perez, seemed eager to officially set the party line.
Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country. We must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
And thus, the Democrats’ party line was set. As of April 21st, 2017, any Democrat seeking DNC support would have to 100 percent support the pro-choice platform as currently defined.
That lasted almost 13 whole days until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said something completely different.
“This is the Democratic Party,” she said. “This is not a rubber-stamp party.”
“I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic,” she told the Washington Post. “Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?”
“In our caucus, one thing unifies us: our values about working families. Some people are more or less enthusiastic about this issue or that issue or that issue. They’ll go along with the program, but their enthusiasm is about America’s working families.”
Democrats must acknowledge that, yes, there are deal-breakers. The idea of outlawing abortion with no exception must always be off the table as it’s barbaric, not to mention unconstitutional.
However, Democrats must also end the practice of acting like questioning the morality of abortion is always inherently misogynistic or simply unreasonable.
It is reasonable for a person to feel uneasy about the practice while still accepting it is up to a woman to make the final decision — though again, to be very clear, doing otherwise is a deal-breaker. Rational beings may still wrestle with emotions that do not necessarily reflect thought-out conclusions.
For those who simply cannot move past the idea that Democrats will allow abortions and the GOP will not, perhaps the angle of preventing unwanted pregnancy — and therefore the need for abortion entirely — would be enough to entice them to offer their support.
Democrats can say they are going to make it their mission to end abortion as we know it by ending unwanted pregnancy as we know it. They do this by expanding programs that offer contraception to not only women, but men as well. Not only in the form of condoms, but vasectomies and the promise to fund male birth control as well.
Additionally, mandate sex education in public schools across the country that teach young adults how to use contraception safely and effectively. If women who do not want to become pregnant are able to avoid it, then there is no need for abortions.
Knowing, however, there will always be the need for safe and effective options for women in need of abortions, also pledge that Planned Parenthood and like will always have the funding needed to make sure women never need to feel uneasy about their safety should they need to terminate a pregnancy.
Abortion is unpleasant. If it has become an option, it is likely something has gone wrong. The idea should be to prevent it at all costs — and women should have the help necessary to do that every step of the way — but should an abortion become necessary, we must make sure it is safe and effective. That must be what Democrats push in every election cycle from 2018 onward.
It’s an especially good message considering the current “pro-life” party’s message boils down to “suck it up, slut.”
Then again, the GOP has never truly been pro-life.
Trump and the GOP are Anti-Choice, Not Pro-Life
It’s difficult, for example, to call your party “pro-life” when your president puts forth a budget that would significantly target the poor and, specifically, poor children. Per the New York Times:
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known commonly as food stamps, would be cut by $192 billion over the next decade. Medicaid, the health program for the poor, would be cut by $800 billion, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly known as welfare, would be cut by $21 billion.
While those numbers sound bad, it actually gets much worse. Days laters, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney would admit the cuts to Medicaid are actually closer to $1.3 trillion.
In addition to the President’s cruel budget cuts, the CBO score on the American Health Care Act, which passed the House approximately three weeks ago, confirms our worst fears: it’s essentially a death sentence for millions of Americans.
According to the CBO, the AHCA would leave approximately 23 million Americans without insurance over the next 10 years.
Additionally, with states given the ability to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits requirements, people in those states with pre-existing conditions, mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and even pregnant women would likely be unable to afford medical care.
If pregnant women are unable to afford being pregnant, what exactly do we think they are going to do with that pregnancy? Hold on to that thought, we’ll come back to it.
Finally, per an example given by the CBO, older Americans will also be charged substantially more for their health insurance. You will note older Americans as the ones who use health insurance the most and therefore as the ones who need it to be the most accessible.
A 64-year-old making $26,500 would pay $1,700 in premiums annually under Obamacare. In a state making those “moderate” changes to its market, that 64-year-old would pay $13,600, and in a state with no waivers, the cost would be $16,100. That’s more than nine times that person’s premium under the Affordable Care Act.
The budget cuts plus the passage of the AHCA make one thing very clear: the GOP cannot lay claim to the “pro-life” party moniker. Should their cruel policies be enacted as law, people will die. That is not hyperbole nor is it simply opinion, it is an undeniable fact.
If people with pre-existing conditions can be charged astronomical prices for health insurance, they will die. We have seen this before. It happened every day before the passage of the ACA, and it seems at least one GOP Representative is beginning to catch on to his mistake.
Mark Meadows, who chairs the House Freedom Caucus and pushed the revised version of the AHCA through the House, was apparently caught off guard — after being initially optimistic and in high spirits — when shown by reporters the CBO’s findings that the AHCA would be catastrophic to those with pre-existing conditions.
Listen, I lost my sister to breast cancer. I lost my dad to lung cancer. If anybody is sensitive to preexisting conditions, it’s me. I’m not going to make a political decision today that affects somebody’s sister or father because I wouldn’t do it to myself.
In the end, we’ve got to make sure there’s enough funding there to handle preexisting conditions and drive down premiums. And if we can’t do those three things, then we will have failed.
Meadows reportedly said this while fighting back tears. His ignorance to the effects of a bill he helped push through is inexcusable, but perhaps he’s finally starting to get it.
GOP Policies Will Lead to More Abortion — Not Less
As with people suffering from pre-existing conditions, pregnant women will be subject to skyrocketing healthcare costs, perhaps priced out of health insurance altogether. What, then, do Republicans believe will happen to those pregnancies?
They will end.
And if Republicans have their way, there will be no safe way for that pregnancy to end because Planned Parenthood — the only option for millions of women — will not be able to provide that woman who cannot afford pregnancy an abortion either because they’ve been “defunded” directly or because Medicaid — their primary method of funding — has been slashed so deeply they can no longer operate.
So what Republicans will have effectively done (in their ideal world) is forced that woman into making one of a few decisions:
A) She can keep her baby but be driven to bankruptcy by medical bills and not be able to provide for the baby anyway — Oh, and she can forget food stamps or Medicaid because that’s gone too
B) Eliminate a pregnancy that she may otherwise want to keep in order to avoid financial ruin, but in doing so risk her own health because she has no safe choice for an abortion
I challenge any Republican voter or elected official to explain to me how they see those options as ideal in any setting or to point to a flaw in my logic that would actually create a different option. As it stands, these are the options the GOP would create — all so their buddies can have tax breaks.
This fight really boils down to branding. Somehow, Republicans have convinced voters for decades they are the party defending the lives of those who cannot defend themselves. They say this with a straight face while at the same time proposing massive cuts to programs helping the poor and slashing taxes for their rich friends.
It isn’t a secret, it’s been done out in the open, but for whatever reason Democrats have been unable to change the tune. Democrats are the party fighting for the middle class. They are the party fighting to preserve the safety social net. They are the party fight for women’s rights.
And they are damn sure America’s pro-life party. They just have to let the American people see it.