by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — “It ain’t necessarily so,” isn’t just an old Broadway show tune. It’s also something to keep in mind when considering Democrats and the pro-life movement.
The common assumption, based on a kernel of truth, is that Republicans are pro-life and Democrats are pro-choice.
But it ain’t necessarily so, according to Kristen Day, president of the national organization Democrats for Life, based in Fairfax, Virginia. Day was in Johnson County on May 10 to build support in her party for the “Value Them Both” vote this coming Aug. 2.
This amendment to the state constitution would restore the power to regulate abortion to the Kansas Legislature. That power was taken away by an April 26, 2019, interpretation of the Kansas Constitution by the Kansas Supreme Court.
“We have been working with some Democrats in Kansas to mobilize and support the ‘Value Them Both’ amendment,” said Day. “This issue has become so politicized. People assume that if you’re Democrat, you shouldn’t vote for anything promoted by the pro-life movement.”
“This, what is happening in Kansas, is so egregious that we thought it was important that Democrats understood that it was the right thing to do to support this amendment,” she continued. “It’s not a partisan agenda. There’s nothing here other than to make sure legislators have the right to enact laws to provide health and safety regulations to protect women when it comes to abortion.”
Admittedly, pro-life Democrats struggle to make their voices heard in their party, said Day.
On the national level, pro-life Democrats have been told that they have no place or vote in their party, said Ann Marie Alvey, archdiocesan coordinator for Project Rachel and Project Joseph, two post-abortive healing ministries for women and men.
The recent meeting of Kansas pro-life Democrats didn’t have a huge turnout — but some pro-life Democrats did show up, said Alvey.
And it’s the same story all over the nation, said Day. Here and there, swimming against the current of official party opposition, pro-life Democrats are taking strong, principled stands.
Alvey believes more Democrats would vote for pro-life legislation — especially for “Value Them Both” — if they really understood the issues.
The Democrats for Life have produced two statements explaining their support for “Value Them Both.” They’re being used to good effect.
“One woman I invited [to the May 10 meeting] said she already got two votes [for ‘Value Them Both’],” said Alvey. “She said, ‘I gave [two other Democrats] the sheets and they said, ‘Nope, we’re voting no.’ She told them, ‘Please, just read these, please,’ and they did. And then they said, ‘You’ve got our vote.’
“That’s because it was explained to them. They saw the issues in truth. I think that there is a lot of fear and a lot of assumptions about what ‘Value Them Both’ is, and people are operating off those assumptions, and they are not true. When you do a little bit of digging [they see] ‘Value Them Both’ doesn’t ban abortion. It really protects women by regulating the abortion industry.”
Although much has been written about political polarization between Democrats and Republicans, the issue is nonpartisan, according to Lucrecia Nold, public policy specialist with the Kansas Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic bishops of Kansas.
“Our research shows that there are a sizable number of members of the Democrat Party who support ‘Value Them Both,’” said Nold.
“We desperately need pro-life Democrats to show other pro-life Democrats who are living in the shadows of our current political scene that it’s not only OK to support ‘Value Them Both,’ but it is a reflection of what used to be a core tenet of the Democrat Party — protection for the most vulnerable in our society.”
Nold called Day “fearless and principled, while also being strategic in how she works behind the scenes.” She can be a real force to unite pro-life Democrats in Kansas and make a difference in the “Value Them Both” campaign.
“Kristen Day has been to Kansas twice in the past few months, listening and working closely with us on getting our message out about ‘Value Them Both,’” said Nold. “We certainly hope she comes back to Kansas as the campaign heats up. She has a standing invitation from the Kansas Catholic Conference. It’s safe to say we haven’t seen the last of Kristen Day.”
For more information about the amendment, go to the website at: valuethemboth.com.