Indiana Right to Life PAC’s 2010 Endorsement Resolution

July 9, 2010

The Democratic Party national platform adopted in 2008:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

Indiana Right to Life PAC’s 2010 endorsement resolution:

On April 7, 2010, the Indiana Right to Life Political Action formally adopted this resolution regarding endorsements for Democratic candidates for public office:

Whereas the Democratic Party officially endorses the right to unrestricted abortion on demand; and

Whereas Democratic leadership continues aggressively to advance federal policies that undermine the right to life of unborn children; and

Whereas Congressman Brad Ellsworth, Congressman Baron Hill and Congressman Joe Donnelly betrayed the trust of pro-life Hoosiers by voting for the pro-abortion federal health care reform bill; and

Whereas the Democratic caucus in the Indiana House, under the leadership of Speaker Pat Bauer, continues to block all legislation aimed at limiting, restricting, and reducing abortions in the state of Indiana; and

Whereas candidates of the Democratic Party are responsible for the policies and actions of the party and its leadership;

Be it resolved that the Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee will grant no endorsements to any Democratic candidates for any public office.

Discussion

Indiana Right to Life developed this resolution in response to years of unfruitful efforts to work with Democratic leadership and legislators to pass meaningful abortion legislation in Indiana and to stem an all-out abortion onslaught at the federal level. We have worked in good faith with friends in the Democratic caucus for nearly ten years to relay our concerns and frustration with Democratic leadership. We have met directly with Speaker of the House Pat Bauer to ask that pro-life legislation be given a fair vote on the House floor. Our affiliates throughout Indiana pleaded with congressmen Ellsworth, Hill and Donnelly to oppose any federal health care bill that did not contain clear and specific exclusions of federal funding for abortion.

In return for our best efforts to work with Indiana Democrats, not one single bill backed by Indiana Right to Life has survived opposition from the Democrat caucus in the Indiana House while under Democrat control. In the last ten years, Republicans controlled the Indiana House for only two years yet passed six bills backed by Indiana Right to Life. In the eight years of Democrat control in the House, no bill backed by Indiana Right to Life has survived. It is clear that even Democrat friends who want to vote for legislation backed by Indiana Right to Life will never get a chance to do so under Democratic leadership. Unless Republican control is restored in the House, no legislation aimed at limiting, restricting or reducing abortions in Indiana will pass the House.

In return for the tireless efforts of pro-life citizens throughout Indiana who voiced opposition to the pro-abortion federal health care reform act, and in spite of continued assurances from congressmen Ellsworth and Donnelly, in particular, that they would oppose any plan that included federal funding for abortion, Indiana’s pro-life community was betrayed at the deepest level when both Ellsworth and Donnelly voted for the final bill that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recognizes as fraught with abortion problems. National Right to Life rightly calls the health care reform act the largest expansion of abortion since 1973. It is a devastating blow to the unborn.

When we needed them the most, Indiana’s Democratic congressmen who refer to themselves as pro-life turned their backs on the unborn as well as thousands of Hoosiers who pray, give and work to protect the right to life of unborn children.

It is clear that current Democratic leadership in Washington is bent on advancing an abortion agenda while systematically destroying every gain the pro-life movement has fought for since 1973. Under the guidance of President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the overwhelming Democratic majority in Congress has leveled intense attacks on the sanctity of life. These attacks include passage of the pro-abortion health care reform act, the placement of one liberal justice on the United States Supreme Court (with a second in nomination), the elimination of restrictions on taxpayer funding for overseas abortions, the elimination of restrictions on embryo-destroying research, the elimination of conscience protection for health care professionals who do not want to participate in abortions, and the list goes on.

It must be acknowledged that Democratic leadership is operating with complete adherence to the current Democratic Party platform that embraces the right to abortion for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy. The 2008 platform language reads:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

In light of such grievous and serious attacks on the right to life of unborn children, and with a view to the hard political reality that legislation to protect the unborn will have no possibility of passage under current Democratic leadership on the state and federal level, Indiana Right to Life PAC adopted our current Democratic endorsement resolution.

Reasons Why the Resolution Applies to All Democratic Candidates

Some may question why the resolution covers endorsement consideration of all Democrat candidates at all levels. We believe this is important for three reasons:

1) It is clear that pro-life initiatives are only viable with Republican majorities. This is nowhere more evident than in recent passage of pro-life legislation in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Tennessee. In each instance, these state legislatures are controlled by Republican leadership. It is our experience that this applies to all levels of government. When Republicans lead, we have opportunities for advancement of pro-life policies. We acknowledge that many Democrats will support pro-life legislation when they have the opportunity to cast a vote; however, as our experience in Indiana proves, these Democrats rarely if ever have opportunities to vote on pro-life legislation when Democrats hold the keys to power. It is therefore counterproductive to advancing the right to life of unborn children to endorse Democratic candidates who in turn will support Democratic control.

2) A candidate who holds affiliation with any party is answerable for the positions that the party advances, promotes and sanctions. It would not be acceptable for a candidate to belong to a party that takes a “pro-choice” position on such issues as domestic abuse or racism. We believe it is equally unacceptable to belong to a party that embraces the right to kill unborn children.

3) A candidate who holds affiliation with any party is answerable for positions that the party leadership advances, promotes, and sanctions. It is clear that current Democratic leadership is committed to driving a pro-abortion agenda.

We welcome the opportunity to work with any friends in the Democratic Party who wish to openly work for a change in the Democratic Party’s position on abortion and to change the Democratic Party’s pro-abortion leadership. Such actions will take courage and commitment, especially when recalling the personal attacks and abuse that former congressman Tim Roemer, a Democrat who voted pro-life, received from Democratic Party hierarchy and operatives when he expressed interest in the DNC chair position.

We will continue to survey all candidates for public office, including Democrats, and will share all candidate responses to the voting public in a fair and unbiased manner. Democrats who have the opportunity to cast votes under Republican leadership will be able to share their voting record with the public. We will likewise publicly distribute roll call votes for both Democratic and Republican candidates. But until such time as substantive changes are realized, it remains counterproductive to endorse Democratic candidates when Republican majorities afford the greatest opportunity for legislation to protect the unborn.

Three Goals of the Resolution

We have three goals we intend to achieve with this resolution:

1) To foster a positive change in the Democratic Party platform that currently embraces the right to abortion on demand, for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy. We hope to change the current discussion from, “I don’t agree with the Democratic Party on abortion, but I support the party because I agree with most of its other positions….” to “I don’t agree with the Democratic Party on abortion, therefore I cannot support the party or its candidates until its platform changes.” If just a small percentage of self-identified, pro-life Democrat voters abstained from supporting the party or its candidates due to its abortion position, we believe significant reform discussion would be initiated after just one major election cycle.

2) To return a Republican majority to the United States Senate and/or the United States House of Representatives in November 2010 in order to block any further erosion of pro-life gains, to block any additional legislative assaults on the right to life of unborn children, and to protect the right of pro-life citizens to engage in legal public discourse on abortion without fear of legislation aimed at chilling free speech.

3) To return a Republican majority to the Indiana House so that we will be able to pass significant legislation that will help to save hundreds, if not thousands, of unborn children from the pain and terror of abortion. There is no probability of such legislation under Democrat control of the House. To ignore this problem is to turn our backs on those unborn children whose lives will be saved.

Indiana Right to Life PAC will gladly rescind our Democrat endorsement resolution when we see Democratic actions, policies and leaders advancing legislation that protects the right to life of unborn children instead of endorsing abortion on demand.

Clarification of Three Key Points

We believe it is vitally important to a proper understanding our Democrat endorsement resolution to clarify these key points:

1) We will not grant endorsements to all Republican candidates. Only Republican candidates that are pro-life will receive endorsement consideration. Independent, Tea Party and Libertarian candidates judged to be pro-life will also be eligible for endorsement consideration. In some races, no endorsements will be granted.

2) We will equally hold the Republican Party, or any other political party, accountable should its leadership fail to advance and promote legislation and policies that will protect the right to life of unborn children, just as we did when former Republican Senate President Pro-Tempore Bob Garton allowed three of our bills to die in the closing minutes of the 2006 session of the Indiana legislature..

3) Our resolution will be reconsidered annually in light of Democratic actions, leadership and policies on the issue of abortion.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our resolution is an outgrowth of our firm belief that the attack on the unborn currently being waged by Democratic leaders, as well as the Democratic Party platform that embraces the unrestricted right to kill unborn children, is unacceptable. Likewise, our resolution is a clarion call for reform within the Democratic Party. We urge Indiana Democrats at all levels to work for change in the party platform on abortion and to support leadership that will advance legislation to protect the unborn so that we may once again work in a bipartisan fashion to restore the right to life of unborn children.

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