Washington D.C., Dec 1, 2016 / 11:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pro-life leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction as House Democrats re-elected pro-abortion Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the House Minority Leader.
“We have been in trouble since 2010, and failed to realize that we have alienated parts of our party, including the pro-life wing. And by making the platform more supportive of abortion, taxpayer funding of abortion, it further pushed people away,” Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told CNA on Wednesday. “We need a leader that’s going to pull people together and make a change, rather than business-as-usual,” she continued.
Pelosi was re-elected by House Democrats as the Minority Leader on Tuesday, winning 134 votes to 63 for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Pelosi, 76, has served in Congress since 1987. She is a long-time abortion advocate who has won the praises of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League. Current Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’ bio reveals she formerly served as Pelosi’s deputy chief-of-staff in the House.
The congresswoman was criticized by NARAL earlier this year for saying, “I don’t believe in abortion on demand,” although she still affirmed that “woman have the right to make their own decisions” about pregnancy.
The president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, who chaired President-elect Donald Trump’s pro-life coalition during the presidential campaign, stated Tuesday that “Nancy Pelosi is a chief purveyor of voter-rejected Democratic abortion extremism.” “Her re-nomination as Minority Leader signals Democrats would rather continue to be in the minority than stray from their pro-abortion orthodoxy,” Dannenfelser said.
Her opponent in the race for House Minority Leader, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), was formerly on the board of Democrats for Life. Yet in choosing their next Minority Leader, the Democrats would have ended up with a pro-abortion Catholic either way, as both Pelosi and Ryan are Catholics and support abortion access.
Ryan admitted last year in an op-ed that he had changed his mind on abortion, citing the Gospel of Matthew “judge not, lest ye be judged” to explain his decision. Ryan insisted that “there is no easy answer” for some “complex and difficult” pregnancy decisions, and added that “the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.”
Ryan’s explanation for his decision was flawed, a theology professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville explained. “If we were to outlaw abortion, we’re not claiming to stand in judgement over anyone’s soul any more than we do when we outlaw murder and stealing and fraud,” Dr. Donald Asci told CNA.
“The pro-life position would be that all abortion should be removed from the discussion as an option in these stressful situations,” he added. “The sanctity of the life is what should be made very clear to all involved. And then you go forward in doing the best you can with whatever the particulars of the situation are.”
The Democratic Party’s strong platform on abortion called for the repeal of the Hyde and Helms Amendments’ prohibition of taxpayer funding of abortions domestically and in foreign aid. The platform and the strong pro-abortion support of the party’s presidential nominee Hillary Clinton turned off some Democratic voters in the recent election, Day said. “I’m sure that that played a role,” she reflected. “I know there are a lot of pro-life Democrats who really struggled, and didn’t vote for her [Clinton] because of that.”
With Pelosi at the helm for House Democrats, there will soon be debates in the House about abortion — for example, an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Although the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortions, pro-life leaders say that funding of Planned Parenthood, like through Medicaid payments, frees up other resources for them to perform abortions.
Democrats should be careful “not to put Planned Parenthood as the line in the sand,” Day insisted, but should work to redirect their funding to community health centers that provide “access to care” without doing abortions. They should also look for common ground with Republicans in health policy, she said, like keeping prenatal care and access to insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.