We're pro-Life Democrats and we want to protect the lives of the born and unborn

We're pro-Life Democrats and we want to protect the lives of the born and unborn
© Getty

Every year, pro-life Democrats march at the annual March for Life. And every year, we meet people who are surprised to see us there. Some don’t realize that pro-life Democrats exist, let alone that there are more than 20 million of us and that we represent between a quarter and a third of the Democratic Party. Others ask how we can be members of the Democratic Party when its position on abortion is so extreme and contrary to the goals of the pro-life movement.

So, are pro-life Democrats confused? Are we conservatives who have somehow stumbled into the wrong party? Or are we just Democrats who dislike abortion, but not enough to fully embrace the pro-life cause? Neither.

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We are Pro-life Democrats because we are committed to protecting both the lives of unborn children and the lives of those who have already been born — and not merely through charity.

 

We believe in the dignity and worth of all, especially the poor, the vulnerable, the persecuted, and the abandoned. And we believe in an active government that safeguards that dignity and protects human rights.

We are pro-life because we believe in the defense of all innocent human life, and we are Democrats because they are the party that, since the New Deal, has best stood up for the well-being of working-class and middle-class Americans.

These commitments are not contradictory. In fact, in our view, you cannot really be pro-life unless you are whole life. Our signs displayed this commitment at the march: pro-life for the whole life. How can you be pro-life if you do not fight to make sure that every pregnant woman has access to quality, affordable prenatal care for her unborn child?

How can you be pro-life if you do not work to ensure quality child-care for each of our nation’s children or paid family leave so that mothers do not have to rush back to work immediately after giving birth? It is not hard to understand that women living in poverty or on the brink of economic ruin need this assistance and that the absence of such aid is a grave threat to their children.

Polls show that low-income Americans are more pro-life than the wealthiest Americans. Many turn to abortion because they feel it is a necessity — they believe that they have no choice.

That is why an approach that pushes only for restrictions on access to abortion is simply not enough.

Only a comprehensive approach, which inspired the Pregnant Women Support Act, can offer unborn children the legal protection that they rightly deserve while providing vulnerable women with the assistance they need to choose life and take care of their families.

This is why pro-life Democrats have fought for decades for universal health-care. This is why we fight for a safety net that catches those who fall and policies that help people get back up on their feet.

The simple truth is that Democrats are the ones offering real, comprehensive, viable plans for helping Americans meet their basic needs and plan for a better future. So we are Democrats, and we are proud of that.

But this does not mean we are willing to abandon unborn children and their rights. As our party publicly and actively opposes abortion bans after months of pregnancy, we stand for the protection of preborn children.

We are part of the pro-life movement. Sometimes we are not treated like that — when supposedly non-partisan organizations put the interests of the Republican Party above the interests of the pro-life movement, or when we infuriate those who seem to care more about unfettered free markets than about protecting unborn lives by vocally supporting health-care for all.

But we are not going anywhere. Every March for Life, we are there marching — and that’s not going to change. Every year, people come up to us — Democrats, Republicans, Independents — and tell us to keep fighting the good fight and that they, too, believe in both defending life and social justice for all.

And many pro-lifers recognize an obvious fact: The pro-life movement cannot possibly succeed without bipartisan support. A more bipartisan pro-life movement is the key to passing critical pro-life legislation and locking in support for these measures long-term. It is encouraging to see that the current leadership of the March for Life recognizes this need for a bipartisan pro-life movement.

So, yes, pro-life Democrats are different from the many conservatives who populate the pro-life movement and shape its image. And we will continue to be different. We will work together with all other pro-lifers to protect unborn life whenever possible.

But we will also be the ones constantly pushing for more assistance for pregnant women, stronger efforts to reduce poverty, and greater economic security for all Americans. We will push our fellow pro-lifers to be consistently pro-life—to follow through on the common values we profess.

We will do this because we are pro-life Democrats: pro-life, Democrats, and unwilling to abandon our most cherished principles.

Kristen Day is the executive director of Democrats For Life of America.