Democratic Party Platform Includes Stronger Commitment to Reproductive Rights, Low-Income Women

By Christine Cupaiuolo — August 13, 2008

Dana Goldstein calls the 2008 Democratic National Platform draft (PDF) a “remarkably feminist document” and goes on to say:

Some conservatives are interpreting the platform’s mention of adoption and a woman’s right to choose motherhood as a new attempt to reach out to mixed and anti-choice Evangelical and Catholic voters. But I also think the platform is a significant victory for reproductive rights advocates. The Clintonian formula of “safe, legal, and rare” has been scrubbed. The adoption stuff is hardly new. And both the 2004 and 2008 platforms, with their “regardless of her ability to pay” language, oppose the Hyde Amendment, which currently prevents Medicare and Medicaid from paying for abortions.”

Take a look at the 2004 version section on choice:

We will defend the dignity of all Americans against those who would undermine it. Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

And the 2008 version:

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.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empowers people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

The 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.

Update: Also check out Linda Hirshman’s new essay at Slate — “Unnecessarily Evil: Reclaiming the morality of abortion and the overdue change to the Democratic platform.”

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