The Democratic Party’s new softer language on abortion received praised from some Christian pro-lifers, who saw the statement as the party’s willingness to find common ground with those against the practice.
While the party’s platform statement still clearly backs a woman’s right to choose an abortion, the new catch is that the party now also stresses abortion reduction through health care, education and “caring adoption programs.”
Joel C. Hunter, a prominent megachurch pastor from Florida, is among those who praised the new statement’s shift towards the center.
"From my perspective as a conservative evangelical, Barack Obama's campaign and the Democratic Party have taken a historic and courageous step toward empowering women for an expanded range of choices and saving babies' lives," said Hunter during a conference call Tuesday, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
The self-described “completely pro-life” registered Republican said now with the party’s new statement, pro-life and traditional Republican voters can feel more at ease supporting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama knowing that “more lives will be saved than if they had just taken a moral stand hoping to overturn Roe versus Wade.”
Hunter has not endorsed a presidential candidate.
Some centrist evangelicals and Catholics feel the pro-life and Republican Party’s goal of overturning Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions, has been futile and has not reduced such practice.
Instead, they support initiatives to find common ground between pro-choice and pro-lifers. Reducing abortion rate in America is one of the popular options that have been discussed by both sides.
Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, also welcomed the Democrat’s new abortion language.
But some anti-abortion Christians believe the issue of life is non-negotiable and don’t see anything to celebrate about in the Democratic Party’s new statement.
Tom McClusky, vice-president of government affairs at the Family Research Council, said he doesn’t see any change in the Democrat’s position on abortion, according to Reuters.
Likewise, Orange County Republican Chairman Lew Oliver, said the new wording doesn’t translate to any significant change in the party’s platform.
“I don’t think they’ve changed anything that is fundamental,” Oliver said, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
“That’s all anyone cares about,” he added. “The question about abortion isn’t about finding common ground.”
The abortion issue has longed divided Republicans and Democrats and been a key issue for values voters. Republican presidential candidate John McCain has a consistent anti-abortion Senate record, while Democratic rival Barack Obama strongly backs abortion rights.
The Democratic Party will adopt the new abortion platform statement at the party’s presidential nominating convention in Denver later this month.