Two weeks ago, I raised the question of why the MSM shunned what I thought was a rather interesting press conference in which leaders of Democrats for Life attempted to trial-balloon a package of 95-10 legislation that would strive to slow the abortion rate by 95 percent over 10 years. Click here if you want to review that. Well, it turns out that someone finally did cover that story -- USA Today.
I lost the clip in one of my three computers, but ran into it again. Even though it's not breaking news, I wanted to give GetReligion readers a heads-up on it, since this story is not going away, by which I mean the story of the Democrats and the Republicans actually finding some kind of common ground on legislation about abortion. This is one of those cases where it takes real courage to float any kind of compromise.
Reporter Susan Page starts with a clear contrast. Three years ago, Democrats for Life was banned from the Democratic National Committee homepage. Now, the 95-10 plan was announced in a press event at DNC headquarters. That is either a change or merely a sign that the leadership frantically wants to present the appearance of some change.
Again, here is the question that the press needs to be watching, because this is a huge story: Will the Democrats merely change their language about social issues, or will they dare to actually attempt legislation that finds common ground? Meanwhile, the Republicans keep showing off their pro-abortion-rights stars -- with an eye on 2008, perhaps. Will the GOP actually try to pass compromise legislation that attempts to prevent abortions, or simply continue to use the issue as a red flag to wave at religious conservatives?
But for now, the action is on the Democratic side of the aisle. Why? The party platform actually says that to oppose abortion is the same thing as being a Republican. Page notes:
In a meeting with liberal organizers after losing the presidential election in 2004, John Kerry infuriated some party stalwarts when he said the approach to abortion needed to change. He said Democrats should do more to welcome candidates and voters who say they're pro-life and to make it clear that being "pro-choice" didn't mean being "pro-abortion."
A survey in February by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg concluded that the abortion issue was a significant factor in Kerry's loss of white Catholic voters, a key group that sometimes votes for Republicans, sometimes for Democrats. President Clinton carried white Catholics by 7 percentage points in 1996; Kerry lost them by 13 points.
From the 2004 Democratic platform: "We will defend the dignity of all Americans against those who would undermine it. Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right."
Again, this story is not going away. Please let us know if you see coverage of these issues worth noting.