“I wanted a family but it was the wrong time,” proclaimed Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America as she joyfully “shouted her abortion” at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. As the dust settles after the DNC and we race towards November 8th, it’s critical for independent pro-life Americans to review the newly adopted radical stance on abortion in the same party’s platform, which includes seeking unlimited taxpayer funding of abortion by eliminating the Hyde Amendment.
More than 57 million lives that have been lost and hurt because of abortion in the United States since it was legalized in 1973. To quote Carl Anderson, current head of the Knights of Columbus, “what political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation?”
Viewers watching the Democratic Convention in late July likely noticed that what once was considered the social justice party is now more aptly called the abortion party. The DNC schedule featured Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and Hollywood abortion advocates including Tony Goldwyn and Elizabeth Banks. These speakers and others sought to normalize and de-stigmatize abortion, and adopt a party platform that advocates abortion moving from “safe, legal and rare” to “unlimited, without apology, and paid for by tax dollars.”
The Democratic Party would have done well to pay attention to a major opinion poll released the week of their convention. Marist Polling is relied on by groups including NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and McClatchy Corporation. The July 18th Marist poll revealed that the strong majority of Americans want restrictions on abortion, including 78% of Americans who would essentially limit the procedure to the first three months of pregnancy. Additionally, the American people are at odds with the recent Supreme Court Decision in Whole Women’s Health, 78% of Americans believe abortion clinics should meet the same standards as other surgery centers, and 70% percent of Americans want doctors who perform abortions to be required to have hospital admitting privileges. Last, 62% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions (i.e., they support the Hyde Amendment).
In short, the Marist Poll showed that when it comes to issues of abortion policy, the Democratic Platform is totally out of touch with mainstream America.
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of the platform is eliminating the prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion known as the Hyde Amendment. Named for Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois, originally passed in 1976, the Amendment is annually included in the appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services. It prohibits use of taxpayer funds for abortion for Medicaid recipients, thereby reducing incidence of abortion by a staggering 20-35% every year.
Until this summer the Hyde Amendment was considered an uncontroversial, bipartisan, popular public policy. Even Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine was known to support the Hyde Amendment – until being named to the 2016 ticket, after which his stance became confusing at best. Perhaps emboldened by the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the ensuing abortion-related court decisions issued in late June, Democrats have moved into a full court press mode on abortion policy and ending the Hyde Amendment is a top priority, despite the fact that this is not appealing to mainstream American voters.
What’s an independent pro-lifer to do?
In contrast, the 2016 Republican Party had adopted one of the most pro-life platforms ever written in our nation’s history. Included is a commitment to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court; a promise to defend and protect conscience rights for pro-lifers who are appallingly being forced to cooperate in abortion; and even a section on defunding our nation’s largest abortion provider.
This November, will Americans vote to increase the rate of abortion (and its often unspoken wounds) by an enormous 20-35% every year? Will they vote to continue to try normalize the termination of innocent life because “we had three kids, that was enough,” to quote Cecile Richards as she explained her abortion. I pray not. For those working through real issues of conscience this election, the human devastation of abortion and its cultural consequences cannot be ignored.
Jeanne Mancini was has served as President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund since 2012, directing the small non-profit organization committed to restoring a culture of life in the United States, most notably through the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.