The Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners is making noise about pressuring Barack Obama to include “abortion reduction” in the Party’s official platform this year. This provides a good excuse to remind ourselves of what exactly the Partly platform said about abortion in 2004, and what the state of abortion reduction efforts currently are within the Democratic Party.
Here is the full extent of the Party’s 2004 pro-choice platform:
We will defend the dignity of all Americans against those who would undermine it. Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
Looks like, barring major changes, abortion reduction through encouraging adoption and preventing unplanned pregnancy is already a part of the Democratic Party platform. A Democratic Senator — Hillary Clinton — led the fight to ensure over-the-counter access for emergency contraception, a pragmatic way to reduce the need for abortions. Rep. Henry Waxman‘s office authored two ground-breaking reports: One on how federally-funded abstinence-only education denies teens the information they need to avoid pregnancy and STIs, and another on how federally-funded “crisis pregnancy centers” mislead women about the supposed health “risks” of abortion.
There’s more Democrats can do, such as finally de-funding abstinence only education, on which they’ve continued to capitulate despite the overwhelming evidence that it’s bad for kids. With a Democratic president, Congress can also move to require pharmacists to fill birth control prescriptions for any woman with a legitimate one, regardless of her age or marital status.
But my guess is that what Wallis really has in mind is something along the lines of the 95-10 Initiative, legislation proposed by Democrats for Life. That bill does not focus on family planning, but rather on directing women to crisis pregnancy centers and scaring them with medically questionable “informed consent” requirements that talk-up abortion’s so-called negative after effects. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: Carrying a pregnancy to term is far more dangerous to a woman’s physical and psychological health than having an abortion. The Democratic Party platform could benefit from more specificity on reproductive health, but ideologically, I think it’s exactly where it needs to be.
cross-posted at TAPPED