*** The following ran in the LA Times on October 7, 2015
What’s the calling card value of the National Rifle Assn. and other conservative organizations? Skepticism of government infringing on the autonomy and freedom of individuals, of course. But in yet another example of America’s incoherent politics, assisted suicide has been legalized in liberal California by appealing to precisely these conservative values.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that the best arguments against assisted suicide — especially advanced by such liberal icons as E.J. Dionne and Victoria Kennedy — are progressive. Liberals are generally happy for government to restrict individual freedoms to prevent violence and killing. They are also generally skeptical of the idea that choice leads to genuine freedom, especially for those without power on the margins of our culture.
Indeed, liberal states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and, until this week, California had all recently rejected such legislation. Britain’s attempt to pass an assisted-suicide bill also went down to overwhelming defeat.
To get a victory in California, its supporters were forced to bypass the regular legislative process (which defeated the bill) and instead consider the bill in a healthcare special session, and under unusual rules. This context is as telling as it is disturbing.
***The following was printed in The Hill – Congress Blog
A few weeks ago, I was teaching a class on the legislative process to some high school students. The kids were playing the role of House and Senate members in a conference committee, and I charged them with working out the differences between their two bills. The frustrated students came to a stalemateand looked to me for answers. They inquired if this is what really happens during the legislative process. Sadly, there has been very little compromising in this Congress. The students, however, were able to do what our own Congress is not doing. They negotiated, and each legislative chamber gave up something important to them in order to reach the broader goal for the common good.
The U.S. Senate had an opportunity to put this practice to use on Tuesday, when they considered H.36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban terminations of unborn babies at 20 weeks and later.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York wrote on his blog, “The late-term ban is a particularly interesting case. There are efforts to link it with other measures, such as an expansion of paid family leave after a woman gives birth, or an increase in assistance to teen parents. This strategy gives real substance to the inherent connection between the pro-life and pro-woman messages, and it reaches out to form coalitions across party and ideological lines.”
by Matt Tyson
It isn’t often we get an opening like this.
Despite attempts by the mainstream media to twist the story around, reverse blame, or play dumb, the recent undercover videos of Planned Parenthood reps discussing price and procedure for the retrieval of organs from aborted children are damning enough to play in our favor.
No, technically there no crime was committed (that we know of), and yes, Planned Parenthood has been doing this for quite some time.
But in the end, none of that is really here nor there, because the best thing these videos did is rip the carpet right out from under the “it’s not a human, it’s a fetus/product of conception/blob of cells” talking point that so many supporters use to side step the God-awful truth about abortion.
And this is very, very, very good.
by Mary Ann Chimera, president of DFL-OH
This is the beginning of a list of ways in which you can let it be known that you are a Democrat who stands up for life. The list is incomplete. I invite anyone who cares to step in to suggest still other ways.
- Become a member of Democrats for Life of America (DFLA). Politics is a game of numbers, of how many votes can be delivered. The more of us who are standing together in an organized way, the more effective is our clout and the more our views will gain attention.
- Encourage every pro-life Democrat you know to become part of our movement by joining DFLA or your state chapter. Membership in one is membership in the other.
- Distribute our brochures. This can be done at Party meetings and functions, county fairs, festivals and anywhere else you can think of. Brochures can be obtained through your state chapter and there is also one you can duplicate at democratsforlife.org.
- Organize a local or campus group affiliated with DFLA. Hold meetings to discuss effective strategies for spreading the pro-life/DFLA message, especially among Democrats. Then, act on those strategies.
- Write letters to the editor discussing pro-life issues from a Democratic perspective. (We’re usually gentler and more concerned with the Mom than is the GOP.)
- Contact your state and national officeholders to encourage them to vote pro-life. Inform them of your stand. Keep in touch with them to let them know your thinking. If it seems to you that groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood are doing their thinking for them, gently point out your different perspective. Suggest how you think they should vote on upcoming legislation,
Planned Parenthood speaks the truth about the humanity of the unborn
When Dr. Deborah Nucatola, medical director of Planned Parenthood, describes the process by which the organization preserves and removes organs and tissues in unborn children during abortions, it exposed Planned Parenthood’s false claims that its overriding concern is for women’s health. Even more importantly, it exposed the lies that are made to attempt to maintain support for abortion through denying the humanity of the unborn.
In the video, Dr. Nucatola admits that Planned Parenthood clinics alter procedures in order to extract the organs and tissues from unborn children. She says that they consider this in deciding where to grab and crush the child with forceps, and even in manipulating the child to change its “presentation” (breech or feet-first) in order to preserve body parts intact. Whether or not the latter activity violates the law against partial-birth abortion, as some have suggested, it is unethical and gives the lie to Planned Parenthood’s claim that its first priority is to protect women’s health. In the medical field, one does not alter standard medical procedure in order to preserve the possibility of harvesting body parts if the patient dies. This elevation of organ harvesting over women’s safety is directly in line with their fight to prevent abortion clinics from meeting surgical safety standards.
Whether or not Planned Parenthood’s activities are illegal—a full investigation should occur to determine this. But they are incredibly troubling nevertheless and it is difficult to see how this practice is not illegal. Nucatola casually describes killing a human being and stripping it—that dehumanized object—of its parts, and she described this all while she was enjoying a fine meal, with wine, like a civilized human. She nonchalantly talks about how one can “crush” a head being while preserving his or her organs. Continue reading
As pro-life Democrats, we believe that every person has worth and dignity and that every life has value. This is true not just of the innocent child in the womb, but even of those who have committed unspeakable crimes. The sanctity of human life is something that cannot be forfeited.
Democrats for Life of America is shaped by this consistent commitment to life—an approach we like to call whole life—and we believe that this consistency is vital to ending the culture of violence that permeates our society and to building a culture of life.
Of course, there is no consensus among pro-life Democrats when it comes to the death penalty and how we, as a society, should respond to brutal crimes and assaults on human dignity and life. For those who are pro-life, defending the life of an unborn child is quite obviously necessary, as the child is innocent and defenseless. But what about those who are not innocent and whose acts of violence have violated the sanctity of life?
Most of us who are whole life have come to believe that the death penalty is not the right response. Taking a human life to show the value of human life seems unlikely to work, and the reality is that we know that it does not work: The death penalty is no more effective as a deterrent than life in prison without the possibility of parole. To take a life needlessly cannot be reconciled with our consistent commitment to life.
by J. P. Richardson
When the United States Senate on April 22 voted 99-0 to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, the senators boldly broke through the stopped-traffic gridlock of senatorial intransigence, showing the country what our two-party system can accomplish when everyone aims for the common good above partisan interests. A long time had passed since Democrats and Republicans voted unanimously on a bill that includes language about abortion. Maybe this is a first, in fact. If not a first, the first was so long ago that we don’t remember it.
Every citizen ought to remember this one. Win-win-win-win. Victims of human trafficking win, first and foremost, because the bill would provide help, both immediate and long-term, that victims desperately need. Right-to-lifers win because the language of the Hyde Amendment, which has prevented federal funding of abortion for many years, is preserved in the bill. Democrats win because Republicans agreed to vote to confirm President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch. And, last but not least, babies not yet born who might have been aborted win their rightful opportunity to keep living their natural lives.