January 20, 2005


For Democrats, abortion revisited: The party that lost on Nov. 2 wrestles with how to add nuance on a key cultural divide in America. (Linda Feldmann, 1/21/05, CS Monitor)

For Democrats who favor abortion rights - that is, most of the party - this week may carry the sensation of standing on the edge of a cliff: President Bush has just been sworn in for four more years, and it's possible he will get to nominate enough new Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide 32 years ago Saturday.

But embedded in this week of inauguration and stock-taking lies a central irony: At a time when abortion-rights forces are feeling an acute sense of peril, they are also being asked to reframe the way abortion is discussed - including being more receptive to Democrats who oppose abortion.

"I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats," Howard Dean, a leading candidate to become the next Democratic Party chairman, said on "Meet the Press" last month. While calling himself "strongly pro-choice," he urged respect for antiabortion Democrats whose policy positions, such as support for children's programs, are "often lacking on the Republican side.

"We can change our vocabulary," he concluded, "but I don't think we ought to change our principles."

Governor Dean's remarks - and others by Democratic strategists and politicians, including Sen. John Kerry - did not sit well with many abortion-rights activists. [...]

[F]or many in the abortion-rights movement, talk of rethinking the issue - including the suggestion that the party give up its absolute opposition to policies that don't infringe on core abortion rights, such as parental-notification laws - provokes ire.

The problem for Democrats is that any work they do now to try and soften the Death Lobby rhetoric will be undone as soon as there's a Supreme Court nominee in front of the Senate.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2005 6:41 PM

Since when has the word nuance become a synonym for obfuscate? And who but a dishonorable man would try to make it one?

Posted by: LUCIFEROUS at January 20, 2005 7:19 PM

"Change our vocabulary. . .not our principles." Hate is love, war is peace, death is life.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 20, 2005 8:35 PM

I can only hope and pray that Bush nominates Brown. I can think of no other potentially viable candidate who is to the right of Thomas.

Posted by: Dan at January 20, 2005 9:06 PM

I immediately thought of abortion when Bush said "...always remember that even the unwanted have worth"

Posted by: SV at January 21, 2005 8:51 AM