Pro-Life Democrats Unveil Legislative Package to Reduce Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
April 22, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A national group of pro-life Democrats has joined pro-life Democratic members of Congress, adoption agencies and pregnancy centers unveil a package of legislation designed to significantly reduce abortion in the next 10 years.
Democrats for Life of America joined Reps. Tim Ryan (Ohio), Bart Stupak (Michigan) and Lincoln Davis (Tennessee) at a press conference Friday to announce the "95-10 Initiative" -- a plan to reduce abortions 95 percent in the next 10 years.
Kristen Day, director of DFLA, said the plan was "a legitimate policy initiative that will actually reduce the number of abortions." She said it "has been met favorably by both pro-life and pro-choice advocates and elected officials."
The initiative outlines 17 different policy programs designed to empower and promote women as well as protect unborn children.
Some of those include a national toll-free number for pregnancy support, studying why women have abortions, funding daycare on college campuses, increasing funding for domestic violence programs, and making adoption tax credits permanent.
Day's group has several Congressional lawmakers on board with the idea, including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, the only pro-life Democrat in the Senate.
"The plan outlined today is a good first step to successfully reduce the rate of abortion by offering alternatives that promote family, promote adoption, and provide education and support for new mothers," Nelson said.
In the House, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said he would soon be introducing the policy package.
"This legislative initiative will communicate to pregnant women that the community is behind you to carry the baby to term. I am proud that the Democratic Party is supportive of this and that Democratic members are supportive," Ryan said.
One of the key components of the plan includes promoting adoption and Democrats for Life has lined up support from national adoption groups, including the National Council For Adoption.
"As provided for in this legislation, the time has come to make adoption tax credits permanent and to ensure that women with unplanned pregnancies receive timely counseling and accurate information about the positive option of adoption," NCFA president Tom Atwood said.
Kurt Entsminger, president of Care Net, a national group of more than 800 pregnancy centers, also backs the pro-life Democrats on their plan.
He said the initiative champions "an agenda that embraces the women facing an unplanned pregnancy and offers her support and critical information about positive alternatives to abortion."
Day said the goal of the plan is to unite pro-life and pro-abortion Democrats behind lesser controversial ideas that her group contends will have a significant impact on abortion numbers.
"Both pro-life and pro-choice Democrats want to reduce the number of abortions, and this initiative will help us focus on what we have in common instead of our differences on the life issue," she said.
However, some of the plan's initiatives are already strongly opposed by pro-life or pro-abortion groups.
Abortion advocactes have strenuously opposed parental notification on abortion and laws requiring abortion businesses to provide women with abortion alternatives information.
Meanwhile, pro-life groups have opposed measures providing for taxpayer funding for contraception programs or requiring insurance providers to cover contraception.
Congressman Jerry Costello, an Illinois Democrat and Collin Peterson, a Democrat from Minnesota, have also signed off on the proposal. Former Democratic Party chairman candidate Tim Roemer has also offered his support.
Related web sites:
Democrats for Life - http://www.DemocratsForLife.org