The platform committee of the U.S. Democratic Party has released its proposed plank on abortion and unintended pregnancies:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives.
We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.
The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.
Steve Waldman at Beliefnet.com thinks the platform plank “does NOT do what was necessary to win substantial numbers of Catholics or moderate evangelicals.”
He says pro-life Democrats likely “will continue to press for improved language before and during the [party] convention [later this month] — and that they are hoping that [presumptive nominee Sen. Barack] Obama himself will go further in his own language.” We’ll see.
Thinking more about this: At the United Methodist General Conference in April, the UMC altered its “platform” on legal abortion, as well.
Paul Stallsworth of the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality is encouraged. He thinks the new language, to be included in the 2008 Book of Discipline, is “much more pro-life than the 2004 version.”
The new Discipline statement, and Mr. Stallsworth’s analysis, are here.
It is worth noting that legal abortion disproportionately affects black and Hispanic children. The abortion rate for black women is 49 per 1,000 women. For Hispanic women, the rate is 33 per 1,000. The rate for white women is 13 per 1,000.
The updated Discipline language on abortion passed 796-24 on April 30 as part of a consent calendar (i.e., there was no debate on the Conference floor, although the matter was debated in committee).
Streaming audio of the passage of “consent calendar A04” is below, with Bishop Peter Weaver presiding (1 min.).