Press Releases

Democratic Senators Use Religion to Discredit Pro-Life Judicial Nominee

Posted in Press Releases

September 8, 2017

STATEMENT OF KRISTEN DAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

OF DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA

Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) expresses its disappointment with Democratic senators and interest groups who are attacking federal court of appeals nominee Amy Barrett for her personal religious views on the dignity of human life at all stages.

Vigorous questioning of President Trump's judicial nominees is needed to ensure that if confirmed to the court, they will follow the law and protect civil rights and liberties.  But Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stepped over a crucial line when she told Barrett in Wednesday's confirmation hearing: "The dogma lives loudly within you. And that's of concern when it comes to big issues." 

Feinstein really means one issue, of course: abortion.  And what she denigrates as "dogma" is the Catholic teaching that a human being is a person with dignity from the moment of conception--a belief held by millions of Americans, including believers of all faiths and nonbelievers alike. 

But Senator Feinstein has no basis for holding this "dogma" against Professor Barrett.  The nominee repeatedly made it clear that as a judge on a lower federal court, she would follow her oath to decide cases not by her personal views, but according to the law as set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Sen. Feinstein had no evidence with which to question those assurances.  So instead she suggested that Barrett's statements could not be trusted because "the dogma lives loudly within [her]."

Feinstein's statement is blatantly inconsistent with Article VI of the Constitution, which says that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office ... under the United States."

Unbelievably, senators and interest groups have attacked Barrett with a 20-year-old article she co-wrote--not about abortion, but about Catholic judges conscientiously opposed to the death penalty!

That article noted the strong Catholic teaching against capital punishment, and it said that a Catholic judge who opposed issuing a death sentence might have to remove ("recuse") herself from the case, which is a well-established practice. The article made it clear that recusal would be the proper step: The judge may not stay on the case and rule according to personal beliefs instead of the law. 

Yet Democratic senators and supposedly "progressive" interest groups are claiming that Barrett said she would impose her beliefs upon the law—when, in fact, she said the exact opposite.

In other words: Barrett said that a judge should never contradict the law but should remove himself from a case if he, in conscience, believes that ordering the execution of a human being would be immoral.  And Democratic senators are expressing "concern" about that.  When did our party--which once stood up for the conscientious claims of civil-rights marchers--become so fearful and dismissive of personal moral conscience?

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), following Feinstein's lead, asked Professor Barrett whether she considers herself an "orthodox Catholic." Since when did it become a practice of Democratic officeholders to inquire, with a critical eye, how a nominee characterizes her personal faith?

What causes our party's leaders to lose their compass and stray from basic Democratic principles?  The answer is plain: abortion.

Democratic leaders remain so committed to protecting abortion from even minimal threats that they'll trample on other principles to do so.  A nominee repeatedly makes it clear that she won't impose her personal beliefs as a judge--that she'll remove herself from a case if she faces a conflict of conscience.  But Democrats still reject her because they think that she has strong personal religious beliefs ("dogma").

It's another example of how the Democratic Party loses its way when it focuses on protecting rigid abortion-rights ideology to the exclusion of all other principles.  That same misguided focus has caused the party to lose all branches of the federal government and, in the last eight years, 1000 legislative seats around the country.

Question Amy Barrett and other Trump nominees vigorously.  But be accurate in characterizing what they say.  And don't violate constitutional values by concluding that their religious beliefs make them untrustworthy to follow the law.

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AN ABORTION LITMUS TEST OR NOT?

Posted in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT: Kristen Day

August 12, 2017                                                                    (703) 424-6663

 

AN ABORTION LITMUS TEST OR NOT?

NEED FOR A CLEAR MESSAGE FROM THE DCCC

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Did a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) really contradict DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan’s recent insistence that there would be no “abortion litmus test” for candidates seeking the committee’s support for 2018 U.S. House races?  What else to make of this message to The Atlantic“The DCCC has no interest in working with Democrats for Life of America, despite their attempts”? Well, which is it? A litmus test or not?

“We need clarification of what ‘opening the big tent’ really means,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America. “Saying we welcome pro-life candidates and then not supporting those candidates gets us nowhere in winning back the House. We may not agree on abortion, but if saving the Affordable Care Act, addressing climate change, advancing social justice, and promoting economic policies for the 99% matter, then supporting pro-life Democratic candidates can make all the difference.”

 

Pro-life Democrats have been crucial for advancing progressive policies in legislatures across the country – on issues such as the environment, workers’ rights, racial justice, health care, and a fair and moral economy. Democrats For Life of America was the ONLY pro-life group that supported passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), legislation that would not have passed without the support of pro-life Democrats in Congress.

 

“An extreme ‘abortion or bust’ strategy may work in California and New York,” Day said. “It may appeal to militant activists inside the Beltway, but it’s mostly a bust between the coasts. If our party continues to send mixed messages about inclusion for pro-life Democrats or takes a hard line against them, what should current sitting pro-life Democrats – such as Senators Donnelly, Casey, and Manchin and Representatives Lipinski, Cuellar, and Peterson, who have legitimate, thoughtful reasons to oppose abortion and have been elected by the people to represent them in Congress – expect?” asked Day. “Not to mention Governor John Bel Edwards – the only Democratic governor in the South, who was elected recently and is pro-life. Is someone on the DCCC staff suggesting that prominent, influential, current Democrats, representing the millions of Democrats who elected them as Democrats, change their position or leave their own longstanding Democratic Party?”

 

Here are the facts – and we have no choice but to face them. The Democratic Party has been bleeding out. The number of Democrats holding office nationwide is at its lowest point since the 1920s. Alienating its pro-life voters, supporters, candidates, and officeholders is one reason why. In 1978, Democrats held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House with 125 pro-life Democrats. Notice: As pro-life Democrats disappeared from Congress, so, too, did the Democratic Party’s majority.

“The reality is that Democrats need pro-life support to win, something that party leaders understand, even if someone on the DCCC staff cannot understand it,” said Day. “Democratic Party leaders, including Senators Schumer, Sanders, Warren, and Harris and Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer, and Ryan and, most recently, Governor Brown of California, all have insisted that opening the Democratic Party’s big tent to pro-life Democratic candidates and voters opens an opportunity to win back not only the House but the Senate and the White House, too.”

For the sake of our party and our country, let’s have a clear, unambiguous, and loud message, with no two ways about it: No abortion litmus test – the Democratic Party welcomes its pro-life supporters and candidates.

AN ABORTION LITMUS TEST OR NOT? NEED FOR A CLEAR MESSAGE FROM THE DCCC

Posted in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT: Kristen Day

August 12, 2017                                                               (703) 424-6663

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Did a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) really contradict DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan’s recent insistence that there would be no “abortion litmus test” for candidates seeking the committee’s support for 2018 U.S. House races?  What else to make of this message to The Atlantic“The DCCC has no interest in working with Democrats for Life of America, despite their attempts”? Well, which is it? A litmus test or not?

“We need clarification of what ‘opening the big tent’ really means,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America. “Saying we welcome pro-life candidates and then not supporting those candidates gets us nowhere in winning back the House. We may not agree on abortion, but if saving the Affordable Care Act, addressing climate change, advancing social justice, and promoting economic policies for the 99% matter, then supporting pro-life Democratic candidates can make all the difference.”

 Pro-life Democrats have been crucial for advancing progressive policies in legislatures across the country – on issues such as the environment, workers’ rights, racial justice, health care, and a fair and moral economy. Democrats For Life of America was the ONLY pro-life group that supported passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), legislation that would not have passed without the support of pro-life Democrats in Congress.

“An extreme ‘abortion or bust’ strategy may work in California and New York,” Day said. “It may appeal to militant activists inside the Beltway, but it’s mostly a bust between the coasts. If our party continues to send mixed messages about inclusion for pro-life Democrats or takes a hard line against them, what should current sitting pro-life Democrats – such as Senators Donnelly, Casey, and Manchin and Representatives Lipinski, Cuellar, and Peterson, who have legitimate, thoughtful reasons to oppose abortion and have been elected by the people to represent them in Congress – expect?” asked Day. “Not to mention Governor John Bel Edwards – the only Democratic governor in the South, who was elected recently and is pro-life. Is someone on the DCCC staff suggesting that prominent, influential, current Democrats, representing the millions of Democrats who elected them as Democrats, change their position or leave their own longstanding Democratic Party?”

Here are the facts – and we have no choice but to face them. The Democratic Party has been bleeding out. The number of Democrats holding office nationwide is at its lowest point since the 1920s. Alienating its pro-life voters, supporters, candidates, and officeholders is one reason why. In 1978, Democrats held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House with 125 pro-life Democrats. Notice: As pro-life Democrats disappeared from Congress, so, too, did the Democratic Party’s majority.

“The reality is that Democrats need pro-life support to win, something that party leaders understand, even if someone on the DCCC staff cannot understand it,” said Day. “Democratic Party leaders, including Senators Schumer, Sanders, Warren, and Harris and Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer, and Ryan and, most recently, Governor Brown of California, all have insisted that opening the Democratic Party’s big tent to pro-life Democratic candidates and voters opens an opportunity to win back not only the House but the Senate and the White House, too.”

For the sake of our party and our country, let’s have a clear, unambiguous, and loud message, with no two ways about it: No abortion litmus test – the Democratic Party welcomes its pro-life supporters and candidates.

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PRO-LIFE DEMOCRATS ASK PARTY CHAIR FOR INCLUSION, MEET TO DISCUSS

Posted in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT: Kristen Day

June 28, 2017                                                                         (703) 424-6663

 

Washington, D.C. – Pro-life Democratic leaders met with Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez to request that the DNC set forth specific steps for inclusion of pro-life Democrats in the party. The meeting was requested by Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) after DNC Chair Perez made a strong statement that all Democrats should support abortion rights and that his stated position was not negotiable.

“Our Democratic Party is in deep trouble, losing more than 1000 legislative seats since 2008,” said Kristen Day, executive director of DFLA. “Telling one-third of Democrats that their support for life in the womb is inconsistent with Democratic values will not help rebuild our numbers. We asked for the meeting to explain to DNC Chair Tom Perez how embracing pro-life Democrats could help the party win again.”

National polls consistently show that one in three Democrats is pro-life. Polls also indicate that most Americans support a number of sensible pro-life policies, including a prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion, regulations to make abortion safer for women, and bans on abortion after 20 weeks or after fetal viability.

“Our goal in the meeting was to explain that pro-life Democrats oppose abortion but that we also support a strong social safety net for pregnant women and new parents,” said Day. “There is a misconception that pro-lifers don’t care about the baby once she or he is born. We like to call ourselves whole-life because we support life from womb to tomb. We are not your typical pro-life group.”

Democrats For Life of America was one of the few pro-life organizations that supported and continues to support the Affordable Care Act and health care for all. Pro-life Democratic legislators support virtually the entire Democratic Party legislative agenda, disagreeing only on issues of abortion and euthanasia. Pro-life Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed Medicaid expansion into law in Louisiana as one of his first acts after being sworn in.

“We need to recruit, consider, and support more candidates, like Governor Edwards, who are unapologetically whole-life,” said Day. “We need to be the party of Bill Clinton, who affirmed over and over again that abortion should be rare; the party of Barack Obama, who called abortion a “moral tragedy” and whose presidency brought our nation the lowest abortion rate since Roe v. Wade; and the party of Ted Kennedy, who consistently led efforts to uphold the conscience-clause protections. This is who we have been and what we should be today.”

Defund Planned Parenthood

Posted in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
March 9, 2017
CONTACT: Kristen Day (703) 424-6663
 
 
Yes, We Should Defund Planned Parenthood
STATEMENT OF KRISTEN DAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA
 
 
For many years, many people have challenged the appropriateness of government funding of Planned Parenthood because the organization concurrently has received both funding to counsel pregnant women and to perform abortions. It is a basic principle of ethics that one cannot have any self-advantageous incentive, financial or otherwise, to counsel another person about a moral decision of such great magnitude. 
 
Elected by voters set on eliminating taxpayer-funded abortions, President Donald Trump recently has called on Planned Parenthood to separate its abortion business from its other services in order to qualify for continued government subsidies. 
 
 Democrats For Life of America supports this compromise because:
  • This accommodation satisfies the longstanding and bipartisan federal policy that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion – a policy that is supported by most Americans.  Planned Parenthood’s current extensive provision of abortion procedures (they are the largest abortion provider in the S.) sets it outside the acceptable parameters for receipt of federal government monies. 
  • At Planned Parenthood, tax dollars currently subsidize “pregnancy counseling” services.  This “counseling” gets taxpayer-funded reimbursement despite the fact that the primary pregnancy “service” Planned Parenthood offers is abortion. This bias invalidates the “counseling” because the organization clearly has a material interest in encouraging every pregnant woman to schedule an abortion. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2015 annual report, they served approximately 2.5 million people and performed 323,999 abortionsbut provided only 17,419 prenatal visits.  And how many of those prenatal visits entailed “counseling” a mother to choose abortion rather than to choose birth? 
  • If Planned Parenthood declines the compromise, the taxpayer funding should be allocated to the 9,800 Community Health Centers in rural and urban communities around the country that provide comprehensive medical care and other health care to more than 25 million people, far beyond the minimal reproductive services provided by Planned Parenthood to only one-tenth as many people.

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...