By Dr. Lois Kerschen
This is the speech presented by Dr. Lois Kerschen, President of Democrats for
Life of Texas, on January 25, 1997 to the Greater Austin Right to Life Rally.
The rally was held on the steps of the Capitol in Austin after a walk by an
estimated 1500 Pro-Life supporters.
Thank you, Greater Austin Right to Life, for giving me the opportunity to
speak today. It is very important for people to know that you can be pro-life
and a Democrat, despite the fact that the party supports abortion on demand. In
fact, it is essential to the pro-life movement that Democrats who are pro-life
stay in the party and make their voices heard. Think about it. If all pro-life
people shunned the Democratic party, who would then speak up for the unborn?
It is too dangerous to allow a group with that much power to be totally under
the influence of the pro-abortion mentality. Pro-life members of the Democratic
party must let their lights shine so that others might see. We must question the
platform, advocate compromise, pique the consciences of other Democrats, and
serve as a buffer against the more radical elements in the party.
The Democrats for Life organization exists to provide a forum for pro-life
Democrats. As part of the endeavor, every two years at the state convention, we
sponsor a booth to gain exposure and to reach out to people. Sadly, there are
still people who come up to us to say, "Thank God you are here. I thought I was
the only one." The party has sent out such a strong and pervasive pro-abortion
message that many pro-life people have felt silenced or alienated. Therefore,
the purpose of Democrats for Life is to identify and connect pro-life Democrats.
There is strength and courage in numbers. Together we can and do promote a
pro-life agenda within the party; through organization and education we can
become the majority and then we can turn the Democratic party around and make it
pro-life once again.
After all, as the mission statement of our organization says: "The Democratic
Party's strong commitment to human rights leads naturally to a pro-life
position. Just as we care about the welfare of children, the disabled, and the
elderly, we care about unborn children and their mothers." Advocating the
killing of a woman's child as a way to solve her problems is inconsistent with
the traditional Democratic philosophy of compassionate government. Suppressing
the pro-life voice within the party is also inconsistent with the image of the
Democratic party as the party of tolerance and free speech. Pro-life Democrats
must insist on a consistent ethic and must insist that they be allowed to take
their rightful place in the party.
One of our Democrats for Life members conducted a voter I.D. survey in his
precinct in Orange, Texas to find our how many Democrats there are pro-life. He
found that they were in the majority by far. We believe that his results were
not a fluke but were truly representative of the party's membership. It is the
leadership of the Democratic party that has gone astray from its own people, but
they have successfully painted a facade of being mainstream and they claim that
pro-life candidates can't get elected. But the 40 pro-life Democrats in the U.
S. House of Representatives say different and because of their united effort the
Democratic party platform now includes a conscience clause that admits that some
members of the Democratic party cannot support the pro-choice plank because of
moral or religious objections.
This language of inclusion is, I think, a big step forward for the pro-life
movement. In addition, in Texas, the party leaders were asked to not allow
abortion to become a "wedge" issue, but to accept that this is an issue about
which we will just have to agree to disagree.
Again, I think that this stance might be an open door for pro-life Democrats.
We must take advantage of this opportunity and make our presence felt by serving
as precinct and committee chairs attending our precinct, county, state and
national conventions and passing pro-life resolutions. We have had some notable
successes in the past at precinct and county conventions, but we need to carry
them all. It is also important that we support pro-life candidates and elected
officials such as state senators Judith Zaffirini of Laredo and Ken Armbrister
Texas Democrats for Life quoted these two senators in our brochure which will
be available at our booth here today. We also have bumper stickers and other
literature of interest, so I encourage you to come by to talk with us and to
pick up some information.
Also at the booth will be literature from Feminists for Life of America. I
serve as the state contact for Feminists for Life. Those of you who attended the
banquet that Greater Austin Right to Life hosted last fall got to hear
Fredericka Matthews-Green, one of the most well known speakers from Feminists
for Life. So, many of you know something about that organization, but I would
like to remind you about our current major project, the College Outreach
Program. Feminists for Life members are teaming with Crisis Pregnancy Centers to
offer referrals and other information for the use of health clinics on college
campuses. Far too often, these clinics don't know where to send a young woman
with a problem pregnancy except to an abortion clinic. By providing them with
alternatives, they know that we are giving women a real choice instead of
leaving them to feel that there is no other way. If you are interested in one of
our college health clinic kits or other information, please come to see me after
The Democrats for Life and Feminists for Life organizations are proof that
all people can and should be pro-life. It is consistent with the root principles
of both the Democratic Party and the feminist movement to respect life and to
encourage the development of everyone's full potential. Freedom and equality are
unattainable if there is not first life.
So, my rallying cry for this rally is to call upon former Democrats who are
pro-life to come back to the party, take your place, and make your opinion
known. Democrats who are closet pro-lifers, I call upon you to stop being afraid
to speak the truth. On Judgment Day you will not be asked if you are a follower
of the Democratic platform, but if you were a follower of the word of God. A
little political power is not worth becoming an accomplice to the murder of
millions of babies.
Pro-Life Democrats, let's take our party back; let's work towards
transforming all Democrats into Democrats for Life!
It is consistent with the root principles of both the Democratic Party and the feminist movement to respect life and to encourage the development of everyone's full potential
The Democratic Party's strong commitment to human rights leads naturally to a pro-life position. Just as we Democrats
care about children, the disabled, and the elderly, we care about unborn children
and their mothers.
What Democrat can embrace the idea that a person's rights can
depend upon being "wanted"?
At the grass roots level, a large number, perhaps even a
majority of Democratic voters, are pro-life. These voters now have a voice within the party.
- Mission Statement of Democrats for Life of Texas
Thanks to Dr. Lois Kerschen for permission to reprint this speech. For more
information about Democrats for Life of Texas, and other pro-life Democratic
groups, see the following pages.
Harmony: August 1997
Website of Democrats for Life
More on Pro-life
More on Political