Pro-life democrats gather during DNC

BOSTON — About 70 pro-life democrats gathered in the Great Hall of the State House the first day of the Democratic National Convention wearing pins with the slogan “43 percent of democrats can’t be wrong.” The data refers to a Zogby poll, which found that 43 percent of democrats believe that abortion is killing a human life.

“The Democratic Party at one time stood for the weak, the defenseless, the mar-ginalized,” said House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran who hosted the gathering. “Our party has drifted.”

Society’s moral values have also drifted as Americans have become indifferent to human life, he said. He compared pro-life democrats to “political missionaries” who must work “one soul, one vote, one idea, one at a time.”

He encouraged the his fellow Democrats to continue their efforts to protect the rights of the unborn. “Keep up the good fight,” he said. “Time and God are on our side.”

President of Catholic Citizenship and former ambassador to the Vatican Raymond L. Flynn also addressed the crowd, saying that pro-choice democrats are “not bad people.”

“They want to win elections,” he said. “It’s up to us to convince them that they can win elections and be pro-life.”

The July 26 event was sponsored by Democrats for Life of America, a national organization based in Washington D.C. Delegates across the country who are pro-life democrats were invited to attend.

“Being a pro-life Democrat isn’t easy, as any of these delegates can tell you, but we’re trying to change that,” said Kristen Day, executive director of DFLA.

The group, which seeks to persuade democrats to recognize the importance of the pro-life issue in elections, has opened about a dozen state chapters in recent months. They now have offices in 32 states and hope to start a political action committee.

“The right to choose is most certainly this party’s right to loose,” DFLA president Carol Crossed told the gathering.

That sentiment was shared by at least one local politician in attendance.

“With a close election, every vote they lose on this issue is precious and dangerous,” Rep. Brian Golden, D-Brookline, told the Pilot later. “I keep waiting for the day to come when at a minimum they treat pro-life members of the party with some respect.”

DFLA hosted the event during the DNC because they feel their pro-life views will not be adequately represented on the convention floor, Crossed said.

In contrast, she said, a pro-life democrat from Georgia, Senator Zell Miller, has been asked to speak at the Republican National Convention. He has endorsed President George W. Bush and published a book last year, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat.”

Also speaking at the event was Pennsylvania Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. In 1992 Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, a Catholic, was not allowed to address the DNC held that year because of his pro-life views.

Bill Gluba, a delegate from Iowa who is running for U.S. Congress, was working in the Iowa state senate to crush a bill to legalize abortion on-demand in 1973 when the Roe vs. Wade decision took away the states’ jurisdiction. “It was a case of judicial legislation,” Gluba said. “It was wrong then. It’s wrong now.”

Gluba, a Catholic, also spoke at a DFLA rally the following day at Faneuil Hall.

“I believe that the goal of all government policies should be to promote the dignity and worth of every human being,” said Gluba at the rally. “Leaders who urge compassion to protect the rights of the unborn, while at the same time ignoring the needs of the most vulnerable in society are either ignorant or hypocritical.”

Silvia Delamar, a DNC delegate from Georgia, is running for Congress in hope that her voice as a pro-life democrat will prompt politicians like herself to speak up. “I can sleep at night because I am [pro-life].”

Delmar said she became pregnant at 17 and chose to keep her child. She worked three jobs to put herself through school, graduated with honors from high school and went to college.

Bob Hagenmaier, a Catholic and congressional candidate from Florida said told The Pilot that it is not always easy to espouse pro-life views when running for office.

“From the reaction I’ve received … I’d say it hurts me,” he said.

On one occasion, Hagen-maier recalled, someone offered to introduce him to other Democrats in Florida, but retracted the offer upon discovering his pro-life stance. Hagenmaier said it helps him to remember the saints martyred for their faith,

“I don’t get shown around to the Democrats,” he said. “It’s a small price to pay.”