Last Friday, America was treated to the spectacle of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid openly declaring his intention to shut the government down, in order to protect the flow of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood. Just imagine a prominent Republican expressing comparable dedication to protecting the subsidies and government contracts for any other billion-dollar corporation.
How do pro-life Democrats feel about all this? The short and snarky answer is, “Who cares?” Pro-life Democrats have always been a small and subdued element within the Party. They’re even smaller now, thanks to the general flight of true “moderates” from the increasingly radicalized Democrat caucus. There are few “blue dogs” left snoozing on the Democrats’ front porch.
Quick, name a prominent pro-life Democrat! Even if you’re a fairly energetic student of the modern political scene, that’s not easy to do. There’s a good chance you thought of Bart Stupak, the former Michigan representative who made a big deal about his “pro-life principles” before abandoning them all to support ObamaCare. If you haven’t scratched Stupak off your list, you should do it now, because Dave Weigel at Slate noted today that Stupak has joined high-powered lobbying firm Venable LLP… and one of their clients is Planned Parenthood.
The other big name on the pro-life Democrat roster is Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina. He’s important enough to have mounted an insurgent bid for Minority Leader, but it amounted to little more than a handful of House Democrats coughing and shuffling their feet while Nancy Pelosi cruised by in her sedan chair.
The forlorn website of Democrats for Life of America declares they “believe in the core values and principles of the Democratic Party.” This is followed by a list of ideas that could not be further from those core values and principles – one of which involves going to any length to protect big-money contributors with heavy political muscle, such as Planned Parenthood. If anyone at Democrats for Life still thinks their opinions matter a hill of beans compared to the Planned Parenthood agenda, they didn’t listen to a word Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi said last week.
As Tim Carney notes in the Washington Examiner today, “On all the big fights during Obama’s presidency, Planned Parenthood has gotten what it wants: abortion subsidies in ObamaCare, two Supreme Court justices who will uphold Roe v. Wade, and staunchly pro-choice Kathleen Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services, among other things.” Pro-life Democrats have accomplished nothing except providing political muscle to fuel those victories, while fooling themselves with happy talk about noble “principles” that have nothing to do with the brutally efficient party machine their votes help to fuel.
Carney cuts to the quick by asking the “real question,” which is, “Should taxpayers be forced to subsidized a partisan group that provides abortions?” You had them at “forced,” Mr. Carney. This is all about force and power. Disconnecting Planned Parenthood from the U.S. Treasury would move the United States to a lower level of force, in which those who have a strong moral objection to abortion – nominally including Democrats for Life of America – were no longer compelled to subsidize the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The Democrats are entirely devoted to the centralization of power, and their central authority has decreed that abortion services must be subsidized by the State. Participation in this subsidy is not voluntary. Ending compulsory support for Planned Parenthood, and every other liberal special interest group, would unquestionably increase the amount of liberty rolling across the fruited plain.
Pro-life Democrats are part of a machine that has declared its extreme and implacable opposition to such an increase of liberty. Nothing they do or say will change the agenda of the Party. Their only purpose is to provide blindfolds for voters who refuse to confront the reality of what the Democrat Party has become. They dispense sedatives, not fiery moral truth. They are earnest vegetarians working the night shift at a meat-packing plant. The pro-life Democrat is an intermittently useful hallucination that saves purple-state voters from having to admit that abortion isn’t really very high on their list of legislative priorities. It’s the one “moral imperative” they’re not terribly interested in expressing through legislation… and they support a Party which believes everything else should be either mandatory or forbidden, subsidized or taxed, rewarded or fined.
You heard it right from Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democrat all-stars last week: there are no more pro-life Democrats. You can be either sincerely pro-life, or a Democrat, but you can no longer be both… and it isn’t Republicans who made it that way.