"We won because [the Democrats] need us," Stupak said. "If they are going to summarily dismiss us by taking the pen to that language, there will be hell to pay. I don't say it as a threat, but if they double-cross us, there will be 40 people who won't vote with them the next time they need us -- and that could be the final version of this bill."Congratulations, Democratic Leadership. That's the inevitable result of treating choice as an optional position for members of your caucus.
On today's New York Times op-ed page, Kate Michelman (former president of Naral) and Frances Kissling (former president of Catholics for Choice)* make plain the cost of "Trading Women’s Rights for Political Power."
Political calculation aside, the House Democrats reinforced the principle that a minority view on the morality of abortion can determine reproductive health policy for American women.Instead, the same "values voters" who believed the Democrats are enemies of decency and freedom believe it still—and now so do pro-choice women. And rightfully so.
...The Democratic majority has abandoned its platform and subordinated women's health to short-term political success. In doing so, these so-called friends of women's rights have arguably done more to undermine reproductive rights than some of abortion's staunchest foes. That Senate Democrats are poised to allow similar anti-abortion language in their bill simply underscores the degree of the damage that has been done.
Many women — ourselves included — warned the Democratic Party in 2004 that it was a mistake to build a Congressional majority by recruiting and electing candidates opposed to the party's commitment to legal abortion and to public financing for the procedure. Instead, the lust for power yielded to misguided, self-serving poll analysis by operatives with no experience in the fight for these principles. They mistakenly believed that giving leadership roles to a small minority of anti-abortion Democrats would solve the party's image problems with "values voters" and answer critics who claimed Democrats were hostile to religion.
* Kate Michelman was also employed by the John Edwards campaign. Frances Kissling weighed in on the controversy surrounding Bill Donohue's attack on Amanda Marcotte and me, in opposition to Donohue. I've never met or corresponded with either of them.