Mommy, What's a Pro-Life Democrat?

By Baumann, Nick | Mother Jones, September/October 2010 | Go to article overview

Mommy, What's a Pro-Life Democrat?


Baumann, Nick, Mother Jones


ENDANGERED SPECIES

Health reform may wipe out some of the anti-aborti on movement's key allies.

Pro-life Democrats come in two varieties: those who tout anti-abortion views on the stump, but largely end up voting with their pro-choice colleagues, and those-typically hailing from deep-red districts-who almost always vote pro-life. As abortion foes mobilize against "faux" pro-life Dems in November, you might think they were going to focus on the first group. But they're really gunning for the second, traditionally the movement's staunchest Democratic allies. We're talking congressmen with ratings of 80 percent or higher from the National Right to Life Committee.

In May, abortion opponents claimed the scalp of the first member of this pro-life cadre-longtime Rep. Alan Mollohan (DW. V.). The Susan B. Anthony List (a prolife political action committee founded to counter the pro-choice powerhouse Emily's List) spent $78,000 to help defeat him in the primary, and has pledged to spend a total of $1 million to unseat other alleged traitors to the pro-life cause. With most of those members already in tough races, and other anti-abortion groups embracing similar strategies, at least a half-dozen pro-life Dems could be headed for defeat this fall.

The schism between pro-lifers and their Democratic allies goes back to the frantic final days of the health care debate, when Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and a group of other pro-life Dems dropped their opposition to the legislation because President Obama had promised to ensure that no federal money went to abortions. But pro-life lobbying groups-especially the powerful US Conference of Catholic Bishops-didn't follow suit, as the Stupak bloc maintains they'd been led to believe. …

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