Proposition 120 would prohibit abortion after 22 weeks gestation except to save the life of the mother. Five thousand petitions are now circulating throughout Colorado to place Proposition 120 on the ballot in 2020. A very diverse group of Coloradans is embracing the effort. Women and men are equally supportive. Members of every ethnicity and race are represented. The coalition includes Democrats, Unaffiliated, and Republican voters. People of every religious persuasion, as well as, atheists are signing on.
What is driving the consensus? A young woman in her 20’s signed a petition I was circulating in downtown Denver last week. She provided the simple answer – “it’s a baby.” She explained that she was “pro-choice,” but she could not contemplate killing a 22-week old fetus. She added that she “was born (premature) at 6 months”. How could anyone not recognize the humanity of the 22-week fetus? One would have to be willfully ignorant or driven by an extreme abortion rights ideology.
Indeed, a 22-week old fetus is a vital human being. A mother can feel her 22-week fetus “kick.” The fetus can respond to her mother’s voice and touch. She can undergo curative surgery as an independent patient. She can feel pain, including, the likely excruciating pain of the abortion procedure. A 22-week fetus now commonly survives when born prematurely.
In recent Gallup polling, 60% of Americans feel that abortion should be either legal in only a few circumstances or illegal all together. Only 28% of Americans feel that abortion should be legal in the second trimester and a mere 13% feel abortion should be legal in the third trimester. Coloradans recognize that it is time that Colorado law reflects this broad bipartisan consensus – late abortion should be limited to situations where the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
Although data is very limited in late abortion, most experts and a handful of studies suggest women pursue late abortions for similar reasons that they seek earlier abortions. Only a minority of abortions are performed for fetal anomalies. In the tragic case of a fatal fetal anomaly, perinatal hospice offers a loving, compassionate alternative to late abortion. For women who have suffered the violence of rape/incest, abortion will continue to be an option during the first five months of pregnancy.
This sordid irony is not lost on Coloradans – a viable 22-week fetus enjoys all the protections of state and federal laws when born but can be arbitrarily killed as long as she remains in the uterus. Coloradans feel It is time we correct this gross inequity. We should also redouble our efforts in Colorado and throughout the US to support pregnant women and their families so that contemplating late abortion becomes a relic of the past.
Thomas J. Perille MD
Coalition for Women and Children
President, Colorado Chapter, Democrats for Life of America
Do you ever wonder what happened since the Colorado End of Life Options Act passed – Colorado’s version of physician-assisted suicide? The ballot initiative was heralded as providing a safe, compassionate option for those faced with suffering from a terminal disease. The promoters of the initiative claimed that there would be safety and transparency in its execution. It would be the impetus to make great strides in improving end-of-life care for everyone. It would not “normalize” suicide for vulnerable youth with severe emotional pain. Given the findings from the 2018 End-of-Life Options Act report (published by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment), the reality may be quite different.
Between 2017 and 2018 there was a 74% increase in patients who chose assisted suicide. What is driving the increase? We will never know since patients are never asked why they resorted to assisted suicide as part of the requirements of the bill. Is it because they had uncontrolled pain – physical or emotional? Is there subtle financial coercion because of inadequate health care coverage or the inability to utilize family/medical leave? Is it because they feel a burden to their family? Do family members influence their decision? Is it because of their fear of disability? Is it because they are anxious or depressed about dying? If we had answers to these questions, we could devise solutions to reduce the demand for assisted suicide. We could explore new palliative options to address uncontrolled symptoms that the patients identified. We could pursue legislation to improve health care coverage and family/medical leave policies. We could enhance in-home hospice support services. We could make mental health services more readily available near the end of life. Even supporters of assisted suicide need to acknowledge that choosing suicide is a failure of end-of-life care at some level. Without insight into the system failures, we don’t have the knowledge or the motivation to make these improvements.
A video of Virginia State House Delegate Kathy Tran has spread through social media – mostly in conservative circles, but it is essential that Democrats take a close look at – and listen closely to – this critical dialogue between Delegate Tran and Delegate Todd Gilbert, the chairman of the Virginia House Criminal Law Subcommittee.
After I watched the video, I honestly felt a little sorry for Delegate Tran. You could tell she was a little uncomfortable with her answers – and she should be. As a new mother herself, she has a good grasp of fetal development and should know that it is just not a good idea to allow a woman in labor to decide to end her pregnancy. I think we can all – or at least we should – agree on that premise.
When Chairman Gilbert asked Delegate Tran, “Where it is obvious that a woman is about to give birth,” and gave a specific example – “she’s dilating” – “could she request an abortion under your bill?” The only answer she could give was an uncomfortable, “My bill would allow that, yes.”
Pro-life Democrats attend the March for Life every single year but should we?
Every year, we march because we believe that our message is vital for both the pro-life movement and our society as a whole. Our message is that we as a country must be pro-life for the whole life. We must protect the life and dignity of every single person from the womb to the tomb. This includes not only direct threats to human life, such as abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty, but also indirect threats, which are nevertheless grave and can also end up killing millions of people around the world each year, such as poverty, inadequate access to health care, and environmental degradation.
Some see our whole-life approach as a distraction and believe that we are taking our eyes off the ball. Of course, some of these critiques are offered in bad faith by people who have tried to tie the pro-life movement to other issues, such as their personal opposition to same-sex marriage or various other conservative causes. But others sincerely believe that the focus should just be on the immensely important issue of abortion.
There is an important election coming up that will determine the balance of the U.S. Senate and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. The election could also determine whether or not there will be impeachment efforts to rid the White House of Donald Trump. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is in a very close battle, and all Democrats would like to see her continue her tenure in the U.S. Senate.
Missouri Party Chairman Stephen Webber thinks that the best way to support Senator McCaskill and other Democrats in Missouri is to create an unnecessary battle over abortion.
A few weeks ago, there was a meeting to amend the Missouri Democratic Party platform. A vote took place, and the amendment was accepted. The Missouri Democratic Party then said that they welcome Whole Life Democrats in the party. The “conscience language” to include pro-life Democrats did not dilute the abortion-rights plank in the Democratic Party platform.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the acceptance, along with the compromise language, lasted. Party Chairman Webber held a meeting this morning to strip the inclusive language from the platform because nothing says “We we want your vote” more than overturning a fair process of debate and approval. It is very unusual to remove language unilaterally after a platform has been ratified. It makes you wonder about the kind of pressure supposedly “progressive” groups exerted and why. They know that this removal will cause chaos. Continue reading
by Diane R. Pagen
Democrats For Life of America has invited me to explain how I came to know of Democrats for Life and why I will go to the conference in Denver in 2018. I don’t write to evoke sadness, but to motivate you to act. I want you to attend the Democrats for Life conference in Denver. This is really a matter of life and death; despite the importance of creating a more compassionate and just system, Americans all over are losing their will to fight, for one, and I think coming together with people who are still willing to talk is vital now. Despair isn’t going to get us anywhere. While we despair, the Democratic Party is teaching young people that the death penalty is always wrong but that abortion is always right. Single parents are told that someone will fight for them to have “better paying jobs” while we know that in the current economy, wages that sustain life are less and less possible. No matter your religion, political party, or background, there is no way to justify the termination of a million pregnancies a year in the modern United States. The Democratic Party justifies abortion while it actively ignores the poverty that leads to many abortions. The Party no longer shapes its agenda through logic, humanity and justice.
The Democratic Party Platform is an agenda of economic exploitation of the poor, regression in matters of children’s rights and racial discrimination. If they read this, they will claim I am a radical, a wacko; they will act offended by my comments and restate that they are the Party that cares about children, especially poor children and children of color. Don’t believe it. I have been an Independent, a Democrat, and a Republican all, trying to find the party that best represents my views. My only non-negotiables in choosing a Party, whether it be a party with a little “p” or a big “p” is that nobody gets hurt. I officially changed my party to Republican last year, when I was horrified that the DNC was aiding one candidate, Clinton, over Sanders. At the time, it had not been proven, but there were a lot of clues. Now it has been confirmed, and my disgust with the elite Democrats has been cemented, aided by the fact that neither Ms. Wasserman Schultz, nor Ms. Clinton, nor Ms. Brazile have atoned. In fact, Ms. Brazile opted for saving her own skin, and throwing Wasserman Shultz and Secretary Clinton under the bus. The only reason I am changing my party back to the Democratic Party is because of Democrats for Life. Continue reading
****The author is a sixteen-year-old sophomore who attends Bishop O’Connell High School in Falls Church, Virginia
The March for Life was an amazing experience, just as it was last year. It really builds up one’s confidence to be part of something so big and inspirational. My day began at 6 a.m. when I woke up to get ready. I left at 7 with my mom to meet up with my junior friend at O’Connell High School, where we also saw some others walking inside to meet everyone going on the bus – for example, my freshman friend Sarah. My friend Erin had gotten dropped off, and we left for D.C.
We went to Old Ebbitt Grill, where breakfast was served in a private room. Tammy Ruiz gave a presentation about perinatal hospice. Perinatal hospice is a preparation of parents who choose life for their babies with life-threatening conditions that give them less than a day or an hour to live. It made me feel even more supportive of the Pro-life Movement to find out that such a thing existed.