In a hyper-polarized political environment, media pundits and journalists often cast abortion as a partisan issue, with Democrats as unanimously pro-abortion and only Republicans fighting on the side of life. Yet as several high-profile flashpoints in the battle for life in 2019 have shown, this narrative ignores the courageous and sometimes dramatic pro-life stands taken by several politicians around the country.
When Democrat Governor Roy Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 359, also known as the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” the idea of overturning the veto in the state Senate seemed far-fetched, due to Republicans lacking a veto-proof majority. The law would have extended vital protections to babies who survive an abortion by making it a felony for physicians to fail to administer life-saving treatment. Yet one Democrat, state Sen. Don Davis, took a courageous stand — against all of his fellow Senate Democrats and Governor Cooper — by casting his vote to override the veto.
One’s party affiliation should not determine one’s conviction to be an advocate for life. Be sure to thank Senator Don Davis for voting to override Governor Cooper’s veto to protect born-alive survivors of abortion! pic.twitter.com/CyDHRMvTAR
— NC Right to Life (@NCRTL) May 1, 2019
Sen. Davis’s vote on April 30th was the deciding factor in the state Senate that tipped the balance in favor of life and, by a margin of 30-20, the Senate voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto. Although the move to override Governor Cooper’s veto faces an uphill battle in the state House, Sen. Don Davis sent a powerful message to his party, and to the entire country, that protecting the lives of innocent babies is not a partisan issue.
On March 14th, the pro-life cause in New Mexico gained an unexpected victory when the Democrat-led state Senate defeated a pro-abortion initiative, House Bill 51, championed by Democrat Governor Lujan Grisham. The initiative would have expanded and enshrined abortion access. The deciding factor in rejecting the radical pro-abortion measure was no less than eight Democrat state Senators: Pete Campos, Carlos Cisneros, Richard Martinez, George Munoz, Mary Kay Papen, Gabriel Ramos, Clemente Sanchez, and John Arthur Smith.
“The state of New Mexico must strive to protect and uphold the dignity of all people from conception to death,” said Democrat Sen. Gabriel Ramos, according to Las Cruces Sun News. The pro-abortion measure, which had been passed by New Mexico’s state House, ultimately failed in the Senate by a vote of 24 against to 18 in favor — thanks to the pro-life convictions of courageous Democrats.
Even in cases where the pro-abortion agenda advanced in 2019, some Democrats broke with their party to stand for life. Senate Bill 179, also known as the Trust Nevada Women Act, would eliminate key protections for women that ensure informed consent, provide regulations for abortion pills, and advise women about the seriousness of abortion. Although the measure recently passed Nevada’s Senate by a vote of 12-9, two Democrat lawmakers defected from their party to vote against the bill: Sen. Moises Denis and Sen. Marcia Washington.
“I voted that way because I don’t believe in any form of abortion!” female Democrat Senator Washington said, according to the Washington Times. After passing the state Senate, SB 179 was introduced to the state Assembly’s Health and Human Services Committee by Sen. Yvanna Cancela on May 8th. Although pro-lifers face an uphill battle in stopping the bill, as Democrats outnumber Republicans by 29 to 13 in the Assembly, the pro-life votes of Denis and Washington remind us that the pro-life cause has allies in both parties.
The pro-life witness of Democrats comes despite immense pressure to stick to the pro-abortion party line. Radical pro-abortion advocacy groups — including NARAL Pro-Choice America, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund — have mobilized for two years in a row to oppose pro-life Democrat stalwart Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL). Democrats everywhere are being sent the message that pro-life convictions are not welcome in the party. Even Democrat politicians who ran on pro-life platforms, like Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), have felt compelled to attend fundraisers with these powerful abortion advocacy groups, like EMILY’s List.
Still, pro-life Democrat advocacy groups like Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) are pushing back against this kind of pressure. On May 1st, DFLA President Kristen Day met with Sen. Casey to ask him to reconsider his support for pro-abortion groups like EMILY’s List. “We urge the senator to support and be a voice for pro-life candidates, who often find our party not very welcoming and are often told to change their position in exchange for support from the party,” Crux reported Day as saying.
Despite the immense pressure from pro-abortion groups on Democrats, as of May 11th, at least 85 Democrat state lawmakers in legislatures around the country have cast pro-life votes this year, according to the Christian Post. As their courageous witness in 2019 has shown — and especially as highlighted in the dramatic flashpoints in North Carolina, New Mexico, and Nevada — some Democrats will never let the powerful abortion lobby rob them of their profound pro-life convictions.
“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!