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WAGGONER: Is There Room For Pro-Life Democrats?
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Last Friday afternoon, Louisiana state senator Katrina Jackson took the stage at the 47th annual March For Life. She is the driving force behind a state law that protects the health and safety of women seeking abortion, which the U.S. Supreme Court will consider in just a matter of weeks. Jackson is also a Democrat, and proudly so.

During her appearance at the event, Jackson called attention to the unique diversity of the pro-life movement. Defying (and at times defining) the divisions of political left and right, the pro-life movement has emerged united in support of the sanctity and dignity of every human life.

“Louisiana is the number one pro-life state. And do you know why? Because in Louisiana, the majority of Democrats who are elected are pro-lifers,” Jackson said. “Every day that I walk into the state capitol, I am greeted by pro-lifers regardless of whether they’re black, white, Republican, Democrat, male, [or] female.”

Unfortunately, while pro-life Democrats are the norm in Louisiana, they’re finding themselves increasingly marginalized elsewhere. Not 48 hours after Jackson addressed a bipartisan crowd gathered in support of protecting life in the womb, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made clear that, at least as he sees it, the Democratic Party has no room for her.

During a Fox News town hall Sunday night, Buttigieg was asked whether “the party of diversity and inclusion really does include everybody.” Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life of America, wanted to know if Democrats like her still have a home in the party, even if they disagree with legalizing abortion through all nine months of pregnancy or funding abortion with taxpayer dollars.

As Day recently pointed out in a column, Buttigieg’s answers at the town hall provided little hope for pro-lifers like her and Jackson. He doubled down on his pro-abortion stance, later tweeting, “the constitutional right to reproductive freedom is still under systemic attack,” and suggested abortion is solely a “woman’s issue.” Pro-life Americans rightly feel excluded by comments like Buttigieg’s.

Worse yet, those who support abortion have shown little regard for the safety of women who seek abortions. If providing quality health care to women were a genuine concern, we would expect pro-abortion advocates to embrace proposals like the law Jackson championed in 2014. Louisiana’s Act 620, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, requires abortion doctors, like doctors at all Louisiana ambulatory surgical centers, to be able to admit and treat their patients at a nearby hospital. This helps to ensure that doctors performing abortions will be competent professionals who can provide the continuity of care their patients deserve.

Louisiana abortion providers have an alarming record of substandard health care, including botched abortions, the failure to report harm to women who have had abortions, the intentional destruction of medical records, and the failure to satisfy basic sanitary requirements. Real women have been hurt by abortion providers in Louisiana. Legislators listened to the stories of these women and enacted a law to help save lives.

Yet abortion doctors — not women — are opposing these safeguards for women’s health. The abortion lobby has hounded the state ever since Jackson proposed the law, pursuing the case all the way to the nation’s high court, which will hear arguments in June Medical Services v. Gee on March 4.

This is the fox guarding the henhouse. And it’s a prime example of refusing to hear from real women. Abortion doctors shouldn’t be allowed to hijack the rights of women and use them to oppose a law that protects women’s health and safety. And abortion advocates shouldn’t be allowed to hijack these same rights to tout positions that fewer and fewer women actually hold.

As we’re seeing with Louisiana abortion providers, the real threat to women is that we refuse to listen and heed the concerns about their health and safety while also marginalizing needed voices like Jackson’s, who declare that supporting the sanctity of human life is a universal cause that has an important place in any political party.


Kristen Waggoner is general counsel and senior vice president of U.S. legal division and communications at Alliance Defending Freedom. Follow her on Twitter @KWaggonerADF and follow Alliance Defending Freedom @AllianceDefends.

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