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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Despite Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe's promise that a pro-life speaker would be allowed at the convention, the only speaker to oppose abortion, Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin, promoted embryonic stem cell research by introducing Ron Reagan for a speech on an issue pro-life groups oppose.
Check out the exchange that took place before Boston between Chris Matthews and convention chairman Gov. Bill Richardson:
MATTHEWS: Speaking of the life issue, are you going to let anybody who‘s pro-life, who opposes abortion rights, speak on the convention floor? Are you going to do what you did to Bob Casey back in ‘92, no pro-lifers allowed to speak? Is this party going to be a one-point-of-view party.
RICHARDSON: No. You know, this is a very broad cross section...
MATTHEWS: Name one speaker who is pro-life at the Democratic convention coming up.
MATTHEWS: One speaker.
RICHARDSON: The final set of speakers haven‘t been finalized. So you may be surprised. But I...
MATTHEWS: I will be very surprised if you guys let a pro-life speaker speak at a Democratic convention.
RICHARDSON: Yes. Well, we‘ll see, Chris. We still have a few more announcements in the days ahead.
MATTHEWS: Well, plenty of opportunities to diversify on that issue.
The disenfranchisement of Democrats for Life has been raised here and here at the Kerry online forum, with little response.
Meantime, at the Democratic National Committee's website, the Women's Vote Center trumpets the arrival of Kate Michelman to lead a DNC "Campaign to Save the Court," and deems Bush's opposition to the "right to choose" the No. 1 Reason W is Bad for Women.
A search found still no link to Democrats for Life from the DNC website. But the recent responses to a Democrats for Life commenter at the DNC's Kicking Ass blog were suggestive of the prevailing party line:
Democrats for Life: Too often pro-life Democrats are excluded from the big tent of the Democratic Party. We are pleased with Terry McAuliffe's decision to permit pro-life speakers to talk openly about the right to life despite the fact that most of the Democratic Party stands for pro-abortion. "Chairman McAuliffe's statement proves that the Democratic Party is truly the party of inclusion," asserted Kristen Day in a statement. "Despite our differences on the issue of protecting the rights of the unborn, the fact that McAuliffe is not going to exclude pro-life speakers from addressing the Convention in Boston is encouraging." McAuliffe said he would not exclude pro-life speakers, so why were pro-life posts "deleted" from the comments section of Kate Michelman's chat yesterday? Forty three percent of Democrats can't be ignored. Our party can't just disenfranchise the pro-life democratic vote.
Paul Matthews: "Pro-life Democrats" are not Democrats. They are unfortunate bigots in disguise.
Veneita: I have no problem with those who call themselves pro-life holding a personal view that abortion is wrong. As is often said, if you believe abortion is wrong, don't have one. I do not believe they have the right to impose their view of when life begins on a body and mind that are not their own.
I believe there is an inconsistent position in pro-life politicians. If they believe that life begins at conception, they should call for the separate insurability and tax deductibility of conceived cells as full humans. Women who suffer first trimester miscarriages, like I did, should be allowed to take a child tax credit for one year and collect death benefits. If life really begins at conception, than from that moment, every 14th amendment right that a citizen has should be invested in the fetus. That means that a foreign woman visiting the U.S. and conceives here should be able to claim U.S. citizenship for her conception.
I love children. I have two. But having a miscarriage taught me something very important. The "child" I lost was only a child to me because it was wanted and my mind endowed it with personhood. The state has no right to force me to see it in that manner.
On the stem-cell-research front, the website Bioethics.com is a useful resource, with an updated archive of articles. The emphasis appears to be on criticism, with Ron Reagan Jr. coming in for a (well-deserved) thrashing.