Press Releases

DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE STAND UP FOR FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

Posted in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

February 5, 2016
CONTACT: Kristen Day (202) 220-3066

Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) is proud to join the legal battle against religious discrimination and in favor of conscience, filing an amicus brief this week in an important U.S. Supreme Court case.  DFLA’s brief supports the request of pro-life pharmacists in Washington state that the U.S. Supreme Court protect their right to decline to dispense emergency contraceptives that they reasonably believe may cause the abortion of new embryos.

The state of Washington passed regulations that allowed pharmacies to decline to stock or dispense these and other drugs for business or convenience reasons, but not for reasons of moral or religious conscience.  The state singled out conscience-based reasons even though pharmacies were more than 10 times more likely to have business or convenience reasons for not stocking the drugs.

“In addition, as DFLA emphasized, the evidence indicated that there was no issue of access for those who wanted these medicines, and the state itself stipulated that ‘facilitated referrals [to other pharmacies] pose no threat to timely access,’” said Kristen Day, the executive director of DFLA.  “Yet the Court of Appeals disregarded the fact and allowed the state to punish pharmacies solely because their reason for referring customers elsewhere would be a matter of religious conscience.  This kind of discrimination is repugnant and unconstitutional.” 

In Stormans v. Wiesman, the Stormans family, owners of the Ralph’s Thriftway in Olympia, and two individual pharmacists employed elsewhere in Washington state are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and the justices to uphold their right not to be forced into giving out abortion-inducing drugs.  The case has dragged on for nine years, ever since the state of Washington first imposed a Planned Parenthood-approved rule against the family and pharmacists.

The state rule forces pharmacies to give out so-called “morning after” contraception (Plan B) and “five-day after” pills (ella), despite the fact that FDA labeling indicates that these drugs may have the effect of preventing a newly fertilized embryo from implanting in the womb.  Giving out the drugs is a violation of the conscience of the Stormans family and the pharmacists because they, like millions of other Americans, believe that a distinct human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

Thomas C. Berg, the James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, wrote the brief on behalf of the Democrats For Life of America, the Christian Legal Society, and other groups.  In his brief, Berg notes that the state rule flies in the face of America’s tradition of respect for religious freedom, especially in cases involving the taking of human life.  Our laws protect religious objectors from forced participation in war, in capital punishment, in assisted suicide, and in abortion. 
           
“Forcing the petitioners to stock and dispense these drugs, over their religiously grounded conscientious objection, would impose a severe burden entirely out of step with this nation’s tradition of protecting those who, in good conscience, believe they would be wrongly taking a life,” Berg writes.

Despite the fact that a federal court found the state of Washington’s contraception rule unconstitutional in 2012 after a 12-day trial, the state took the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last year, and those judges ruled against the pharmacists.  The Ninth Circuit opinion refused to follow Supreme Court precedent and the decisions of other courts prohibiting the state from singling out religious conscience for prohibition.

The Stormans family and the pharmacists believe that these drugs take a human life, and they have a right to their beliefs.

“Our nation—as any nation committed to civil liberty would—protects those who believe that their action would immorally contribute to the taking of a human life,” Berg writes in the brief.

Threats to religious liberty and freedom of conscience are threats to all of our rights.  DFLA calls on all Democrats – and all Americans – to stand for freedom of conscience and against religious discrimination.

To read the brief click here.

More information about the Democrats For Life of America can be found at www.democratsforlife.org.


For interviews:
Kristen Day 202-220-3066
Executive Director, Democrats For Life of America
601 Pennsyvlania Avenue, NW

Words Matter – No human being is illegal

Posted in Press Releases

DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA PROTECTING. STRENGTHENING. RE-BUILDING.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
November 12, 2015
CONTACT: Kristen Day (202) 220-3066
 

Washington, D.C.-- Major candidates in the Democratic Party’s nomination race for the White House keep missing the point when it comes to abortion, and they ​continue to risk losing the support of pro-life Democrats.

​While former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is trying to score political points against former​ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support for a border wall, his campaign team ignores the truth in favor of rhetoric.
​ ​
An O’Malley staffer recently sent off ​an email to Kristen Day, Democrats​For Life of America’s executive director, ​going after Clinton.​
 
“Words matter, and no human being is illegal,” the staffer wrote. “This intolerant rhetoric has no place in our party.  We need to stand up and lead with the compassionate message and actions that make us who we are.”
 
Words do matter.  The O’Malley team is right about that.  And no human being is illegal.  Right again.  So what about a human being in the womb?
 
“Governor O'Malley is challenging the ‘intolerant rhetoric’ that protects human beings only on the basis of their location,” Day said.  “We agree that location, even if the location is in the womb, should not determine the right to life.”
 
It might make good politics to challenge Clinton on the border, but what about challenging her on the right to life? What about opening up the Big Tent to let in the millions of pro-life Democrats who have been left behind by the party?
 
Since the Democratic Party stopped pushing for a 50-state strategy, the party started losing pro-life support, and started losing key elections.  According to the recent Democratic Victory Strategy report, since 2010, the party has lost 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, 912 state legislative seats, 30 state legislative chambers, and 12 governorships.   
 
Can O’Malley challenge the outdated thinking that drives the party, and be a real voice for the people?  Even the unborn people?  Democrats For Life of America hopes he can see the truth and stand up for all rights, beginning with the right to life.
 
And it’s not just a matter of winning elections.  The Democratic Party must acknowledge the truth of these new lives, no matter how small.  Day said that a friend recently gave birth to a premature baby.
 
“She made a plea for prayers for her child as she went into preterm labor.  Words matter,” Day said.  “No one said that it is just a bunch of cells so it does not matter.  Pro-choice and pro-life friends all prayed for this tiny human being.  The precious little boy was born at 1 pound 4 ounces.  Words matter.”
 
Democrats For Life of America calls on O’Malley to stand for truth.  No human beings are illegal.  Words matter.

Democrats For Life Proud to Endorse John Bel Edwards

Posted in Press Releases

DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA PROTECTING. STRENGTHENING. RE-BUILDING.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kristen Day October 28, 2015 (202) 220-3066

Democrats For Life Proud to Endorse John Bel Edwards

WASHINGTON, DC –Democrats For Life has announced its endorsement of John Bel Edwards for Governor of Louisiana. The organization cited Edwards’ strong record and leadership in defending and protecting life at all stages and his successful advocacy on behalf of his constituents. Edwards currently serves as the Chair of the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus and has a notable record from his military career.

“Representative John Bel Edwards has shown by example that he is a consistent and reliable whole-life advocate,” said Kristen Day, executive director of DFLA. “He is a voice for the voiceless. As governor, he will not only protect the unborn but also provide support to new mothers, address income inequality for families, and be a real leader for all the people in Louisiana, not just the wealthy.

In announcing his candidacy, Edwards said Louisiana needs “a healthy dose of common sense and compassion for ordinary people.” Louisiana has the second highest poverty rate in the nation yet the current administration has made budget cuts, including cuts to state hospitals and colleges and universities, that disproportionately affect lower-income Louisianans. Tuition has increased over 80 percent over the past 6 years and almost 20 percent of Louisianans do not have healthcare. Edwards supports Medicaid expansion to allow more Louisianans to have access to comprehensive health care.

“There are still too many people without access to basic healthcare,” said Day. “John Bel Edwards is a proven leader, and we are confident that his ability to lead and his compassion for his fellow Louisianans will strengthen the state and help lift people out of poverty. The number one reason women choose abortion is financial stress. The next governor must address the high poverty rate in the state.”

Edwards has a strong pro-life record in his personal life and as a legislator. He and his wife went against a doctor’s recommendation to abort their child when she was diagnosed with spina bifida. He further has a 100 percent voting record with Louisiana Right to Life.

“Republicans are already trying to tie Representative Edwards to the extreme abortion position promoted by NARAL and Planned Parenthood just because he is a Democrat,” said Day. “But actions and votes speak louder than rhetoric. His actions and record are clear.”

Democrats For Life of America was founded in 1999 to mobilize Democrats at the local, state, and national levels. Its primary mission has been to elect pro-life Democrats, support pro-life elected officials, promote a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party platform, and achieve legislation that fosters respect for human life. Democrats for Life of America is one of over 200 member organizations of Consistent Life, an international network for peace, justice, and life.

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Defund Planned Parenthood, Not Obamacare

Posted in Press Releases

DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD, NOT OBAMACARE

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WASHINGTON, DC – Democrats For Life of America urges the House Republican leadership to remove defunding Obamacare from the reconciliation bill and focus on the art of the possible – defunding Planned Parenthood.

"We fully support reallocating Planned Parenthood's Title X funding to the 13,000 community health centers and rural health care clinics. However, this Republican proposal combining defunding Planned Parenthood with defunding Obamacare will cost votes and defeat the bipartisan effort to prevent federal funds from going to the largest abortion provider in the nation.” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life of America. "We have bipartisan support to defund Planned Parenthood, even under the Reconciliation process. Why alienate your Democrat allies?"

Americans overwhelmingly oppose public funding of abortion. A Reuters Poll found that federal funding for Planned Parenthood dropped 20 points from 54% to 34% after respondents learned more about Planned Parenthood’s’ abortion policies and procedures. Planned Parenthood performs over 330,000 abortions each year and has $1.2 billion budget.

“Planned Parenthood has duped the American public into believing it provides comprehensive healthcare for women,” said Day. “Once people know the truth, that Planned Parenthood will continue to harvest body parts from aborted babies and taxpayer dollars will continue to subsidize the nations largest abortion business, support declines.”

The Reconciliation bill, expected to be voted on this Friday, will temporarily halt funds to the abortion giant, pending the outcome of the investigation into their abortion practices. The bill would then provide an additional $235 million to Community Health Centers. However, the bill would also defund major components of Obamacare, which Pro-life Democrats oppose.

"As supporters of the Affordable Care Act, we would like to see more Americans have access to health care, not fewer, and  the ACA creates real options open for low and moderate women to obtain comprehensive health care. All pro-life members of congress should be vigilant in ensuring that families have access comprehensive health care services," said Day. "Overturning key components of the law without providing an alternative is irresponsible government."

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Press Release, October 22, 2015

TIME FOR A BIGGER TENT

Posted in Press Releases

MEDIA ADVISORY
CONTACT: Kristen Day (202)220-3066
September 25, 2015                                

“We’re losing Middle America, and it’s all going red,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America.  

Since 2008, the party has suffered devastating losses across the board, Ms. Day said. According to the Democratic Victory Strategy report, the party has lost 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, 910 state legislative seats, 30 state legislative chambers, and 11 governorships.
 
While the party has been able to win the White House by winning a few big states that have had enough electoral votes, these are hollow victories that leave the rest of the party in trouble, Ms. Day said.  Pro-life voters being stranded by the party are a big reason for these losses, she said.
 
“Pro-lifer Democrats hold their noses and vote Republican,” she said.
 
Day and other concerned liberals and Democrats are getting together in Washington, D.C. for the Democratic Revival, a gathering to share ideas on how to move the party forward by embracing pro-life members and values.
 
“We’re opening up the big tent,” she said.
 
Day wants to see the party get back to a 50-state strategy that finds the best candidates for a particular region.  That means encouraging and supporting pro-life Democrats, and making a place for them in the party.
 
Winning back pro-lifers does not have to mean the start of another culture war, she said, as the Democratic Party is uniquely positioned to appeal to pro-lifers on a broad range of issues, from abortion to the environment, to healthcare, to strengthening the social safety net for all Americans.
 
"We are also looking toward the future of the party, as more and more Millennials are identifying as pro-life", Day said.
 
The Democratic Revival starts on Monday, Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20045.
 
A reception follows from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hall of States Building, 444 North Capitol St. NW, Washington, D.C. To register, or for more information, please go todemocratsforlife.org.
 
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DFLA Mission Statement

Democrats For Life of America advocates and supports programs and policies that respect and promote life from conception to natural death. This includes, but is not limited to, opposition to abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia.  Learn more...