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How Serious Are Democrats?

Making abortion rare will take more than words.
2005This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

There's much to cheer in some leading Democrats calling their party to change course on abortion rhetoric. There's John Kerry proclaiming in January, "I don't want abortion. Abortion should be the rarest thing in the world." There's Howard Dean leading off a speech to women Democratic leaders, "We are not pro-abortion! There is not anyone I know who is pro-abortion." Most notably, there's Hillary Clinton describing abortion as "a sad, even tragic choice."

In short, we have congressional agreement on both sides of the aisle that abortion is tragic. The abortion landscape has changed in this country, and the culture of life has gained significant ground. There is hope for legislative movement as we haven't seen in years.

But beware. An ad from NARAL Pro-Choice America addressed to "the right-to-life movement" would be almost humorous if it weren't for those 1.3 million killings annually in this country. "Please Help Us Prevent Abortions," says the ad, which appeared in The Weekly Standard and other publications. Actually, the headline is misleading: The text of the ad explains better its call for support of a bill "which would reduce unwanted pregnancies." The legislation, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's Prevention First Act (co-sponsored by Democrats with 100 percent ratings from abortion-rights groups and 0 percent ratings from pro-life groups), is a pro-life nightmare. It would double federal funds to "family planning" groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL while barring funds for programs that emphasize sexual abstinence. Hospitals that get any federal funds would have to provide the morning-after pill (which prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus) on demand, and companies that oppose contraception ...

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