instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, August 15, 2008

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity

The Democratic Party's 2008 draft platform includes a four-sentence section titled "Choice":

Sentence #SentenceGravely Evil?
1The 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.Yes
2The Democratic Party also strongly supports affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empowers people to make informed choices and live healthy lives.Yes
3We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortion.Yes
4The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.No

Pro-abortion Democrats are very pleased with this, because unlike several previous Democratic Party platforms it doesn't say abortion should be "rare," and it speaks of "the need for abortion," and the last sentence, while basically irrelevant to the pro-abortion position, might help their pro-abortion candidates get elected.

Pro-life Democrats are also pleased, because it ... er, has the words "reduce" and "abortion" in the same sentence. And it recognizes the legitimacy of a woman's right to choose "to have a child" -- by which is of course meant, "to give birth to a child," since a woman would hardly choose a safe and legal abortion if she didn't already have a child to abort -- and the Democratic Party is evidently such that its recognition of a woman's right to bear children is considered a sign of progress.

Pro-life Democrats are also pleased because the drafting committee called them and sent them emails during the process of composition. Of course, the pro-abortion side gave up nothing and gained quite a bit, including the esteem of the pro-life side, but what matters is that pro-life Democrats feel like they're accepted into the [strongly and unequivocally pro-abortion] party.

The above reasons are drawn -- or tendentiously caricatured, if you prefer -- from The New Republic's Eric Zimmermann's description of the process by which the section was composed. He calls the result a "compromise."

That seems to be the right word.