Unexpected Support

John Wesley Leek

The Mississippi Democratic Party platform in 2012 left little room for pro-life Democrats stating among other things that the party “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade” and that “we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine (abortion rights).”

I went to my county convention Saturday March 12th with proposed platform language adapted from statements provided by Democrats for Life of America.

I felt suddenly nervous as I stood to speak. I hadn’t met many of the people there before and had heard many times that most Democrats identify as pro-choice. Here is what I read:

“We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength, and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.

We can find common ground. We affirm the right of all women to have access to abortion services. We also believe that we can reduce the number of abortions because we are united in our support of policies that assist families who find themselves with unplanned pregnancies. We believe women deserve to have access to education, healthcare, childcare, and appropriate child support or adoption services. We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing any pregnancy to term.”

Though I had anticipated possible disagreement I was shocked when three present quickly voiced their objection.

My shock was far greater than it might have been because their concern was not that it was too pro-life, but that it didn’t go far enough!

In discussion I explained that what I was proposing was far better than what we have had and read a portion of the 2012 platform to them. It passed unanimously only after I accepted an amendment to add “we oppose abortion as a means of birth control” as the third sentence in the second paragraph.

I’m not sure if there is a time for platform discussion at the Congressional District Convention next month, but if there is I will proudly present this language and feel more confident, knowing I speak for my entire home county committee!