12/23/2004

Blind Spot

Tim Roemer is a Democrat and a former U.S. Representative from the state of Indiana. He is also one of the front-runners in the current race for the chair of the Democratic Party. In a L.A. Times piece entitled "Democratic Leadership Rethinking Abortion", Roemer admits what many people have long believed - that the Democrats have a "moral blind spot" on late-term abortion.

In an interview, Roemer said he would not try to change the minds of abortion rights supporters. But he also said he would encourage the party to eliminate its "moral blind spot" when it comes to late-term abortions.

"We should be talking more about adoption as an alternative, and working with our churches to sponsor some of those adoptions," Roemer said Wednesday from his Washington office. He said he was calling 40 to 50 delegates a day to make his pitch. Most of all, he said, he thinks that abortion opponents would be more comfortable if the party talked about the issue in a more open-minded manner.
The Democratic Party's moral blind spot extends beyond late-term abortion; Democrats usually oppose measures that would require parental notification before a minor could get an abortion. In most states you can't get a tattoo unless you're 18, but somehow getting an abortion without your parents' consent is acceptable.

Obstinate opposition to giving any ground on the abortion issue is part and parcel of Democratic politics. There is a growing feeling that such obstinate opposition is part of what cost John Kerry the election.
Party leaders say their support for preserving the landmark ruling will not change. But they are looking at ways to soften the hard line, such as promoting adoption and embracing parental notification requirements for minors and bans on late-term abortions. Their thinking reflects a sense among strategists that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and the party's congressional candidates lost votes because the GOP conveyed a more compelling message on social issues.
The article does include concerned quotes from abortion-rights voices, most notably that of Gloria Feldt, the president of Planned Parenthood. The fact of the matter is that these voters aren't going anywhere. The Democratic Party could re-write its plank to include support for banning late-term abortion and requiring parental consent and lose maybe a dozen votes. Abortion advocates' fealty to the DNC is second only to that of NOW feminists; you could have produced a photo of John Kerry bayoneting a pregnant Vietnamese civilian and Arianna Huffington would have said that it demonstrated Kerry's "passionate support for abortion on demand."

The Democrats are wise to consider ways to make their party more attractive to a wider spectrum of people. They should be bold in their pursuit of hearts and minds and pay no heed to the inevitable hand-wringing of their extreme left wing.