Casey Tapped for Dem Convention

By Hope Ditto

Aug 13, 2008 12:39pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Arnab Datta report: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., an abortion rights opponent who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. over Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY prior to the Pennsylvania primary, will address the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

Casey’s father, the late Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey D-Pa., was denied a speaking spot at the 1992 convention. The Casey family has long viewed the ’92 denial as stemming from his opposition to abortion rights.

Over the years, the perceived 1992 snub has become a symbol for Democratic critics who want to alter the party’s staunch support for abortion rights.

In 2004, Republicans contrasted the Casey snub with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, R-NY., two Republicans who support abortion rights, speaking to their convention.

Mindful of the perception surrounding the 1992 convention, the decision to give Sen. Casey a featured speaking spot is part of a broader effort on the part of the Democrats to broaden the party’s appeal on abortion.

While the party platform includes a sweeping pledge to oppose "any and all efforts" to weaken or undermine a "woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion," Democrats consulted with the Rev. Jim Wallis and others on how to include language in the platform which would signal the party’s commitment to reducing the incidence of abortion.

The Democratic platform adopted this past Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pa., pledges pre- and post-natal health care, income support, and adoption programs to support those women who make the decision to have a child.

"The language in the platform is a real step forward," said Wallis on a Tuesday conference call with reporters. "For those women who want to take the child to term, it strongly supports that choice, and provides necessary support."

The Democratic platform was also praised on Tuesday’s call by Pepperdine Law Prof. Douglas Kmiec. Kmiec, an Obama supporter who served as constitutional legal counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush , called the platform an "historic moment that does a lot for Democrats, Catholics, and women."

While praising the platform’s direction, Kmiec said that he concurred with Kristen Day, the executive director of "Democrats for Life," that the platform should not include a reference to the "need" for abortion.

"I would concur with Kristen that ‘need’ is language that Catholics would not have included in the platform, and I hope that somebody does raise taking it out, because I don’t think it’s needed," said Kmiec.

Here is the Democratic Party’s Platform Language on "Choice":

"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."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus