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Democrats can 'do better' on abortion

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"We can do better. And help is on the way." When I heard that refrain in Sen. John F. Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, it reminded me of why I am a Democrat at heart. In my lifetime, the Democratic Party has stood consistently on the side of the poor, the weak, the vulnerable.

But I have not cast my vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in 12 years because the Democrats have refused to extend their protection to the weakest and most vulnerable - unborn children.

Given the terrible number of abortions that are allowed each year in our country - "1.31 million pregnancies were terminated by abortion in the US" in 2000, the most recent statistics available, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute - we surely can do better.

And Senator Kerry should make just such a proposition part of his campaign. I am not suggesting that he commit himself to overturning Roe v. Wade - although I think it should be overturned. But I am suggesting that he challenge those who are considering abortion to "do better," and that he challenge the United States as a nation to "do better" by them.

Which brings me to Kerry's other rhetorical flourish: "Help is on the way." I am confident that the Democrats could create a policy that the Republican Party, for all of its pro-life rhetoric, has to my knowledge never offered. Kerry could offer a guarantee that any woman with an unwanted pregnancy would be assisted by the federal government, perhaps in league with faith-based initiatives, and that she would be granted the kind of support that would help her consider her options. That means financial aid, adoption counseling and, most important, should she decide to raise her child, continuing material support after the birth.

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