Last June the Missouri Democratic Party created controversy when it added a simple plank to its proposed platform reading,
We respect the conscience of each Missourian and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength, and welcome into our ranks all Missourians who may hold differing positions on this issue.
In a nutshell, placing this provision in the platform would have made it possible for Missouri Democrats to respectfully disagree on abortion; some would be free to support it while others would be free to oppose it.
However, on Saturday the party removed the plank from its final platform, substituting a pro-abortion statement, reading,
We support: . . . A woman’s right to choose and the right of every person to their own bodily autonomy and to be free from government intrusion in medical decisions, including a decision to carry a pregnancy to term, and oppose any efforts to limit access to reproductive healthcare.
The very next statement in the platform says the party supports “a requirement that all Crisis Pregnancy Centers be obligated to provide medically accurate information and be ineligible for state funding if medical professionals are not employed.” The language presumably was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in favor of pro-life pregnancy resource centers that offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, adoption referrals, and other services free of charge.
In Arkansas, the Democratic Party’s draft platform for 2018-2020 reads,
We reaffirm the constitutionally established right of privacy and choice. We pledge to defend the rights laid out in Roe v. Wade. We trust women to make their own decisions about their bodies and their health care.
If adopted, this would expand the party’s current platform regarding abortion, which says, “We reaffirm the constitutionally established right of privacy and choice.” The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision hinged on the court finding an unwritten right to privacy and choice in the U.S. Constitution, so reaffirming the “right of privacy and choice” indirectly reaffirms Roe v. Wade.
It’s odd that these groups seem to be doubling down in support of abortion and flawed supreme court decisions like Roe v. Wade. Recent public opinion polling shows most Americans think abortion ought to be illegal in some or all cases, and the majority (62%) oppose paying for abortions with taxpayer dollars.
In Arkansas, 79% of those surveyed last year said abortion ought to be completely illegal or legal only under certain circumstances.
Abortion is a national tragedy that has claimed the lives of more than 60 million unborn children in the U.S. since 1973 — including 225,000 Arkansans. It’s high time our nation defended the sanctity of innocent human life from conception until natural death.
Photo Credit: Bev Sykes from Davis, CA, USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.