No such thing as a Prolife Democrat (Illinois)

I am posting this because I think Illinois is in great trouble and I want to start working on prolife issues in my state. illinoisleader.com/columnists/columnistsview.asp?c=24900JOHNSTON:
There is no such thing as a “pro-life Democrat”

Friday, April 22, 2005
by Charlie Johnston

OPINION - Michael Madigan is one of the most powerful Speakers of the House in Illinois legislative history. When he wants a piece of legislation passed he gets it.

Mike Madigan is pro-life. In the concurrent tenure of Madigan as Speaker and Rod Blagojevich as governor, Illinois has become to abortion what Nevada is to casinos.

If you’re 13 years old and want to get an abortion without mentioning it to Mom, come to Illinois! We don’t care! Are you nine months pregnant and changing your mind? Come to Illinois! We’ll kill the kid for you and help get your Medicaid reimbursement. Attention abortionists! Want to pick up a little extra dough selling the dismembered body parts of your little victims (er, I mean blobs of tissue)? Come to Illinois! We won’t bog you down with hypertechnical legalities.

Of course, ultrasounds have been putting a bit of a dent in the abortion industry. It’s kind of hard to get a girl to approve the removal of a ‘blob of tissue’ or a ‘clump of cells’ when she is looking at a picture of what is clearly a baby. But not to fear. The Illinois House is pushing HB 2492, which would outlaw the use of ultrasounds except by doctor’s orders. The bill is clearly designed to shut down crisis pregnancy centers. Obscenely, its chief sponsor is a Republican, Rosemary Mulligan of Park Ridge.

Just to the east Indiana has just passed legislation which would require abortion clinics to provide expectant mothers with an ultrasound picture of the infant they are about to execute. In Indiana, they want to make sure the girl makes an informed decision. Not here in Illinois! Let’s keep ‘em ignorant so the abortion mills keep churning out the blood profits.

So what’s the deal? Madigan is hyper-powerful, gets what he wants, is pro-life, and yet can’t get the most innocuous of pro-life legislation out of the house.

Even with his abysmal record on the issue, he has prominent pro-life advocates in this state serving as apologists for him. What’s the deal?

The answer is simple. A lot of pro-lifers have fallen for one of the biggest sucker bets in politics - believing we can advance the agenda by electing a ‘pro-life Democrat.’

Now I don’t really want to add to the trauma of people who, when they were children, were eventually disillusioned about the existence of Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny, but duty calls.

There is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat. There used to be, just as a very long time ago there really was a St. Nicholas. And there are Democrats who will put on the equivalent of the red suit and fluffy white beard for their interviews with the Illinois Federation for the Right to Life (IFRL) and their visit with the Illinois Citizens for Life (ICL). But when it comes time to actually get bills out of committee or enacted into law, they aren’t there.

To keep the illusion going, Democratic leaders will allow supposedly conservative Democrats to vote with pro-life forces on two occasions - when they already have enough votes to pass the anti-life legislation and want to protect the electability of members from conservative districts and when they would lose the battle even if all the Democrats voted in unison. That’s the deal folks.

The pro-life movement has reached a truly seminal moment. The Culture of Death has always cloaked itself in a veil of lies, but recent events have caused the veil to wear thin.

The government-sanctioned execution of Terri Schiavo has raised profound questions for many people who have not thought extensively about it before. Leaving the decision solely to a spouse who had long since functionally abandoned Terri; claiming that Terri’s wishes were clear on the matter - when no one, including the functionally former spouse, ever mentioned anything about such wishes until seven years after her collapse; refusing to investigate credible evidence of physical abuse: the pro-death crowd can spin these things, but can’t erase the questions that simmer in ordinary peoples minds.

Juxtapose that with the outpouring at the death of the late John Paul the Great. Watching television coverage you could feel the uncertainty radiating from the anchors. They wanted to score him for opposing ‘women’s rights’ (read abortion), but they lacked confidence in their delivery. In the narrative of his many triumphs, the unasked question hung like a spectre over almost every broadcast: what if he was right about this, too?

continued

We have reached one of those rare moments when a lot of minds are braced for a renewed look at reality rather than another palliative to assuage their consciences. But we have to rise to the occasion now that people who haven’t listened in decades are willing to hear.

I come from a Democratic family.

Though I figured out by my late teens I was a Republican, I always split my ticket until 1998. For many years, I believed the Democratic Party had lost its way. By ’98 I realized it was worse than that. I could either be pro-life or I could vote for a few Democrats, but I couldn’t do both. The Democratic Party no longer allows it. I don’t always vote for Republicans, but I will never again vote for a Democrat.

So what about when confronted with the choice between a ‘pro-life Democrat’ and a pro-abortion Republican? Good question. We have the answer right in the Illinois House. Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan is pro-life. Republican Minority Leader Tom Cross is pro-abortion.

Only a genuine political neophyte would believe the pro-life cause would fare worse under Cross than it has under Madigan. Either you don’t vote at all or you vote for the Republican. That is what gives the best chance, even under the stated circumstances, of moving the life agenda forward.

The point has come when pro-lifers need to cast off illusions. You can be a pro-lifer or you can be a Democrat. You can’t be both. And now, when we have the best opening in decades, everyone needs to decide which is more important to them, this issue or partisanship.

Fitz, I think most politicians are cut from the same cloth. Our wonderful legislature just changed cockfighting from misdemeanor to felony the same day they refused to do the same for domestic violence. :confused: I guess a dead chicken is worth more than a dead spouse.

[quote=Fitz] The Illinois House is pushing HB 2492, which would outlaw the use of ultrasounds except by doctor’s orders. The bill is clearly designed to shut down crisis pregnancy centers. Obscenely, its chief sponsor is a Republican, Rosemary Mulligan of Park Ridge.
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So let me get this straight, the fact that a Republican is pushing pro-abortion legislation proves that Democrats cannot be pro-life and so we need to vote Republican?

Maybe it’s similar to the ban in China.

As a further follow up, you can see the sponsors and text of the bill at ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=2492&GAID=8&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=17558&SessionID=50&GA=94

Now, Ftiz’s contention is that there is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat, and that the true pro-lifer must support only Republicans. In fact, he makes a stronger argument, that faced with a choice between a pro-life Democrat and a pro-abortion Republican, one shoud choose the Republican:
"So what about when confronted with the choice between a ‘pro-life Democrat’ and a pro-abortion Republican? Good question. We have the answer right in the Illinois House. Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan is pro-life. Republican Minority Leader Tom Cross is pro-abortion.

Only a genuine political neophyte would believe the pro-life cause would fare worse under Cross than it has under Madigan"

If this were true, though, then how to explain that of the 17 sponsors of the bill in the house, four of them (24% of the bill’s sponsors) are Republican? That the majority of the sponsors will be Democrat is a foregone conclusion. No one is denying that the Democrat’s entanglement with abortion intrest groups is a problem. Many pro-life Democrats acknolwedge this and are actively working to change this (indeed, even Hillary Clinton’s recent flip-flopping on this may signal an opening). But if Fitz’s contention is true, why are nearly ONE QUARTER of this bill’s sponsors Republicans?

Now, the current state of abortion politics in this country is a serious problem that pro-lifers need to address. Turning ourselves into a tool of the Republican party, though, is probably not the best road to success.

[quote=Philip P] But if Fitz’s contention is true, why are nearly ONE QUARTER of this bill’s sponsors Republicans?

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I didn’t write it but just posted it. I don’t want to take any credit. I just know there is so much wrong with us in Illinois. There is not that much difference between Democrats and Rebulicans in Illinois. Some of our most shameful politicians in the past few years were Republicans for sure (former R. Governor Ryan that was responsible for the license for bribes). We have very weak Republlicans in Illinois because we haven’t been electing many for one thing.

For those of you that don’t know, Lisa Madigan is our first female Attorney General in Illinois and she is Mike Madigan’s (Dem. speaker of the House) daughter. She is a vocal pro choice advocate, and she recently got an award from a Catholic University here and there were protesters that were picketying a Catholic University doing this.

Illinois as you can tell from the original article is very prochoice.

No such thing as a pro-life Democrat?

Robert P. Casey Sr., former Governor of Pennsylvania, comes to mind. I’m from Pennsylvania, and had the honor of voting for Governor Casey – both in multiple runs for the Governorship and when he sought earlier statewide offices. Governor Casey provided convincing evidence that decent, pro-life people can and do exist in the Democratic party, even given that party’s foolish concessions to pro-choice interest groups.

Partisanship tends to blind folks to reality…and that’s just as true of partisans on “our side” as of partisans on “their side.”

[quote=cathologos]No such thing as a pro-life Democrat?

Robert P. Casey Sr., former Governor of Pennsylvania, comes to mind. I’m from Pennsylvania, and had the honor of voting for Governor Casey – both in multiple runs for the Governorship and when he sought earlier statewide offices. Governor Casey provided convincing evidence that decent, pro-life people can and do exist in the Democratic party, even given that party’s foolish concessions to pro-choice interest groups.

Partisanship tends to blind folks to reality…and that’s just as true of partisans on “our side” as of partisans on “their side.”
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Unfortunately our leadership in Illinois has been horrible. All our Catholics are CINO to be quite honest. Our recently elected Governor is pro choice and is for gay rights since his gay SIL is openly trying to get a license to marry in Chicago. Mayor Daley is pro choice and in favor of gay marriage. Our Senators Obama and Durbin are extremely liberal pro choice candidates and Durbin is another CINO from what I can tell. He attends a very liberal Catholic Church downtown.

I am glad whenever I hear about Democrats that can still be prolife, but it hasn’t happened in Illinois lately.

democratsforlife.org/

There really are Democrats who are sincerely pro-life. I am one of them. You can’t make such generalizations based on what one person does or does not do.


[quote=Catholic Heart]democratsforlife.org/

There really are Democrats who are sincerely pro-life. I am one of them. You can’t make such generalizations based on what one person does or does not do.

[/quote]

I am not, did you read the article? This is not about generalizations. Do you see how our legislators in Illinois don’t even want it to be required for a young girl to have an ultrasound because they know that often this causes her to change her mind. The REpublicans in Illinois are as bad. Read the whole thing.

[quote=Fitz]So what about when confronted with the choice between a ‘pro-life Democrat’ and a pro-abortion Republican? Good question. We have the answer right in the Illinois House. Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan is pro-life. Republican Minority Leader Tom Cross is pro-abortion.

Only a genuine political neophyte would believe the pro-life cause would fare worse under Cross than it has under Madigan. Either you don’t vote at all or you vote for the Republican. That is what gives the best chance, even under the stated circumstances, of moving the life agenda forward.

The point has come when pro-lifers need to cast off illusions. You can be a pro-lifer or you can be a Democrat. You can’t be both. And now, when we have the best opening in decades, everyone needs to decide which is more important to them, this issue or partisanship.
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I hate to have to say this, but it seems like Mr. Johnson, the article’s author, is the political neophyte who doesn’t understand “the deal” in Springfield. His article amounts to typical whininess from some die-hard Republicans who just can’t stand anything that isn’t Republican and would cut their hand off and die for them rather than ever say anything positive about a Democrat. For goodness sake, this author admits earlier in his own article that it is prominent Republican pro-abort Rosemary Mulligan (long detested by conservatives ever since she upsetted Penny Pullen) who was pushing some really bad legislation. “But vote for her over a pro-life Dem who might run for that seat, for goodness sake!” we’re told. Make no mistake, Tom Cross isn’t much but a goofball legislator who happens to be good at helping people win elections (which is how he got where he is). He’s no friend of the pro-life movement.

Now, I’m not going to defend Madigan too stridently. I do believe that he has his own problems. And I’ll probably never forgive him for helping his duaghter move up the political ladder. That said, without him as Speaker (and frankly, the Republicans aren’t going to take over the state house again anytime soon), things would be a lot worse. There are a few more conservative members in the House leadership. However, the people who would likely rise to the top should Madigan retire are left wing Chicago lakefront liberals who won’t let a damn thing positive move forward, and will probably push stuff which is even worse through the body and on up to the governor. (Gov. Blagojevich, BTW, had been interestingly out of the abortion debate entirely since he got elected until his recent idiotic interventions concerning pharmacists.)

The Illinois state legislature has a signigant number of pro-life democrats. They are often the key sources of support for good moral legislation and, more frequently, THE reason why bad legislation is kept from moving through. Were it not for them, you couldn’t imagine just what a cesspool of immoral legislation Illinois would have. Time after time, year after year, it is these downstate and more conservative district Chicago and suburban Democrats who stop that stuff in it’s tracks. The Republicans down there (many of whom are socially liberal - remember traditional Illinois Republicanism is not conservativism whatsoever, but East Coast WASPiness and country clubism) rarely have enough votes or wherewithall to halt anything on their own.

Because of these socially conservative Democratic legislators, the party has to make sure they are given some signifigant say so. Of course, there are also a goodly number of socially (and otherwise) liberal Dems down there. And, as a practical matter, they need to be politically satisfied also. Therefore, the House Democratic Caucus and Speaker Madigan have an agreement whereby three pro-life bills (and only three) get out of committee for a floor vote each year. That isn’t ideal, but it’s not too bad (and certainly could be worse). But without the pro-life Dems down there, we’d get absolutely NOTHING.

[quote=Fitz]For those of you that don’t know, Lisa Madigan is our first female Attorney General in Illinois and she is Mike Madigan’s (Dem. speaker of the House) daughter. She is a vocal pro choice advocate, and she recently got an award from a Catholic University here and there were protesters that were picketying a Catholic University doing this.
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Just a technical note. It was an alumni group of Loyola which was giving the award (basically a self congratulatory honor to big wigs and political types who went to school there), not the university itself. Fr. Garandzini told them that they couldn’t hold the event on campus and do they had to go elsewhere. Ironically, Lisa hasn’t done too much in the way of pushing a pro-choice agenda, despite her treats during the campaign.

Illinois as you can tell from the original article is very prochoice.

I actually don’t think that it is all that prochoice. It is just that the governors and state supreme court along with certain legislative leaders have been and this has had a disproportionate effect.

[quote=cathologos]No such thing as a pro-life Democrat?

Robert P. Casey Sr., former Governor of Pennsylvania, comes to mind. I’m from Pennsylvania, and had the honor of voting for Governor Casey – both in multiple runs for the Governorship and when he sought earlier statewide offices. Governor Casey provided convincing evidence that decent, pro-life people can and do exist in the Democratic party, even given that party’s foolish concessions to pro-choice interest groups.
[/quote]

Glenn Poshard (who ought to have won the Illinois governorship in 1998) was another real good one.

[quote=Philip P]Now, the current state of abortion politics in this country is a serious problem that pro-lifers need to address. Turning ourselves into a tool of the Republican party, though, is probably not the best road to success.
[/quote]

Illinois Leader periodically runs these sort of rant columns, I guess to reinforce the prejudices of some of their readers, while trying to create converts and just letting the vent open up and blow off some stream.

Fitz, as you pointed out, you merely posted the column, didn’t necessarily claim the views as your own. Sorry for glossing over that in my post.

I’m not from Illinois, nor do I live there, so I don’t really know much about that state’s politics, so I do appreciate Chicago and the others who actually do live there with your posts. I simply wanted to call the article author on the ridiculous charge that voting for a pro-choice Republican is somehow more pro-life than voting for a pro-life Democrat.

I feel obliged to point out that it was the mentality of the article’s author which got George Ryan elected over Glenn Poshard. And now what do the Republicans often do to make apologetic for the decrepit state of the party? They blame George Ryan. Well, WHO put him there when there could have been a Democrat who was in many ways more conservative elected? Nothing more than a collection of liberal activists who jumped party combined with Republican die hards to give Ryan the very narrow victory. But, yeah, that’s the method for progress!

[quote=chicago]Just a technical note. It was an alumni group of Loyola which was giving the award (basically a self congratulatory honor to big wigs and political types who went to school there), not the university itself. Fr. Garandzini told them that they couldn’t hold the event on campus and do they had to go elsewhere. Ironically, Lisa hasn’t done too much in the way of pushing a pro-choice agenda, despite her treats during the campaign. .
[/quote]

Yes I was aware that is was the alumni group, but was disappointed that they were allowed to do so. I think our Catholic Universities have dedided to be very good at promoting diversity thinking, but that is not all that Catholic really means.

[quote=chicago]I actually don’t think that it is all that prochoice. It is just that the governors and state supreme court along with certain legislative leaders have been and this has had a disproportionate effect.
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I really think that abortion has hurt the minorities in our city more than anything. The statistics on how many African American women carry their children to term is heartbreaking. It is surely a genocide. Jesse Jackson used to care about that, but then changed and became prochoice. Cardianal Frances George said mass on Mother’s Day last year in a black neighborhood just for the purpose of encouraging life in that area. I think it really has been a form of racism. I know that is another topic altogether. It needs to be addressed by the African American community but I don’t see it happening. Do you think Obama cares? His wife is in the University of Chicago system- maybe as an administrator but I don’t think they represent the ordinary working African American family.

[quote=Fitz]Yes I was aware that is was the alumni group, but was disappointed that they were allowed to do so. I think our Catholic Universities have dedided to be very good at promoting diversity thinking, but that is not all that Catholic really means.
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Well, what do you mean by “allowed”? I mean, it isn’t like the university really has any signifigant control over the group. It’s basically a private organization which can do whatever it wants.

I really think that abortion has hurt the minorities in our city more than anything. The statistics on how many African American women carry their children to term is heartbreaking. It is surely a genocide. Jesse Jackson used to care about that, but then changed and became prochoice. Cardianal Frances George said mass on Mother’s Day last year in a black neighborhood just for the purpose of encouraging life in that area. I think it really has been a form of racism. I know that is another topic altogether. It needs to be addressed by the African American community but I don’t see it happening. Do you think Obama cares? His wife is in the University of Chicago system- maybe as an administrator but I don’t think they represent the ordinary working African American family.

Well I think that they all “care”. It may not manifest itself in a full understanding or dedication to the kinds of things which we would hope. Therefore, it becomes hard to understand and sometimes caues a rift as to their seeming inaction.

As far as the black communities, the irony is that they are largely very pro-life at the root. And very family oriented to the point of wanting to support each other. I think that what may be needed are more very practical programs of grass roots type support. I have always thought that the Gabriel Project would work wonders for the black communities if they had it in many of their churches.

I’ll never be a Republican. Never. And until the Democrats get on the Pro Life bandwagon, I’ll never vote for them either.

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