Nontraditional Pro-Lifers Attend March for Life

Washington, DC -- Scattered among tensof thousands of pro-life advocates in Washington on Wednesday were Democrats, homosexuals, and feminists marching to the beat of a different drummer. They were all participants in the annual March for Life, which began near the Washington Monument and ended at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Protecting the unborn from abortion is just one reason why a handful of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (P.L.A.G.A.L.) carried its pro-life banner from the Washington Monument to the footsteps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

P.L.A.G.A.L. member, Andy Spedden, said he and fellow members traveled from all parts of the country to "affirm human life because human rights start when human life begins."

Spedden said P.L.A.G.A.L. is part of the "non-traditional" pro-life movement along with other organizations representing feminists and college students.

Unlike most gay and lesbian groups, they oppose abortion.

"Typically, the gay and lesbian rights movement has held that because what a woman chooses to do with her body and what we might be assumed to choose to do with our body correlates," Spedden said. "We maintain a difference between the issues of private sexuality and abortion."

Jessica O'Connor-Pitts, a member of Feminists for Life, condemned prominent feminist groups including the National Organization for Women (NOW), NARAL-Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood for promoting abortion as part of their so-called empowerment message to women.

"I think it shows a failure to really consider the effects of abortion on women and society," O'Connor-Pitts said of the feminist groups' pro-abortion agenda.

"Women need more choices than just being pushed into the choice of abortion," O'Connor-Pitts said. "We don't think abortion really meets the needs of women."

O'Connor-Pitts said her group believes women are misled by traditional feminist groups into believing that abortion is an acceptable way to handle an unwanted pregnancy and its various complications.

"We think women turn to abortion because they don't have family support, because they lack financial resources [and] because they may have other fears and concerns," O'Connor-Pitts said. "Women deserve better than that."

Meanwhile, pro-life Democrats carried the message that their party ought to be pro-life.

"The [Democratic] Party supposedly is a 'big tent' party with no room in it for people who care about life issues," said Democrats for Life (DFL) National Vice-President Bill Pierce. "That's the problem."

For example, DFL Executive Director Kristen Day said the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has ignored repeated attempts from her pro-life organization to provide a hyperlink to the DFL's website, despite a 'conscience clause' in the DNC's by-laws. Day said the by-laws recognize ideological differences between members.

"Our message is out that you can be pro-life and Democrat," Day said. "They have all the other pro-abortion links on there and there's no reason why they shouldn't link to us."

Jay Ware, the national treasurer of DFL, said the Democratic Party has become recognized as the political party of pro-abortion advocates. But nothing could be farther from the truth, he said.

"There's a lot of pro-life sentiment at the base of the party. People who are African-American or Hispanic or union voters ... these people aren't automatically pro-choice," Ware said. "It's just time for the party to get some candidates out there to represent us [and] it's about time that the base of the party starts demanding it."

Source: Cybercast News Service; January 23, 2003

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