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Pro-Choice Advocates to Take the Stage in Charlotte

Robin Marty

As more speakers are added to the list, is the party finally ready to openly support reproductive rights?

Included in the speaker’s list for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte are Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Nancy Keenan, and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University Law student who has become the new face of the war on birth control.

Putting reproductive rights luminaries front and center at the convention could be seen by many activists as a signal that this year politicians will be forced to be honest about their true intentions when it comes to a woman’s right to control her reproductive choices. However, an even more pro-woman, pro-choice stance can perhaps be read in the lack of acquiescence to “Democrats for Life,” which once more tried to soften the party platform to let those who oppose abortion feel more welcome.

According to the Washington Post, Minnesotan Janet Robert, the president of the anti-choice group Democrats for Life, asked that the plank of the platform that states that the party “unequivocally” supports Roe v. Wade and opposes “any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right,” be rewritten to allow anti-abortion Democrats to have a say.

Roberts points to the losses in 2010 as a sign that anti-choice Democrats need more support in the party, rather than to be left on the peripheries, and claims that without progressive candidates who oppose abortion, control of Congress can’t be regained and held.

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A good portion of the 2010 losses arose from the defeat of conservative Blue Dog Dems, who were in any case anti-choice, and given the votes of those who remain, such as Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) or Senator Ben Nelson (D-ND) makes it difficult to feel much enthusiasm for making those types of politicians feel more included in the party.

Locally, Robert has done her work well.  In Minnesota, anti-choice Republicans hold both the House and the Senate and due to the constant recruiting of anti-choice Democrats, the small party majority combined with Democrats opposed to abortion has the state nearly to a tipping point where restrictive reproductive laws could go into effect regardless of a governor’s veto.

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