Democratic Bill Targets Abortions; Pro-Life Legislators Offer Social Safety Net to Give Women Alternatives

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Byline: Ralph Z. Hallow, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Democrats in Congress are preparing a bill they say will reduce U.S. abortions by 95 percent over 10 years by preventing "unwanted pregnancies" and providing "social support" for pregnant women.

Supporters hope to soften their party's abortion-on-demand image and attract evangelical Christian and pro-life Catholic voters who have been voting Republican in recent years.

"I would worry if I were the Republican leadership, because we are going to provide the true, long-term solution to reducing the number of abortions," said Rep. Tim Ryan, a pro-life Democrat from Ohio.

Mr. Ryan is chief sponsor of the bill that is being fine-tuned and will be shown to Democrats in both houses after the Senate returns Dec. 12 from its Thanksgiving recess.

One supporter is former Rep. Tim Roemer, an Indiana Democrat whose pro-life views helped cost him election to the Democratic National Committee chairmanship earlier this year.

"This bill will put front and center the fact that there are too many abortions in the United States and what can we do through health care tax credits, adoption, contraception, abstinence, appropriate education of teenagers on how to reduce unwanted pregnancies," said Mr. Roemer, president of the Center for National Policy and a distinguished scholar at George Mason University's Mercatus Center.

The sponsors' first hurdle is to attract sufficient support from fellow Democrats to make the case that the party is sensitive to the moral issues raised by abortion. It's a big hurdle: Pro-choice Democrats in Congress far outnumber their pro-life colleagues.

Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, a pro-choice Democrat, said he is ready to climb aboard.

"We as Democrats have made it very clear that we do have a big tent and that people who are very pro-choice are welcome and those who are pro-life are welcome," he said. "I have never spoken with single Democrat who is pro-abortion - they are pro-choice. …