Third Way Joins Reps. Ryan, DeLauro on Abortion Bill
Washington, DC – Third Way and a group of pro-life and pro-choice House Democrats came together today to introduce legislation intended to dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America. The legislation, entitled the “Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act,” is the first to join together the most effective strategies, regardless of their identification with the pro-choice or pro-life side, to minimize abortions. The initiative reduces abortions through the comprehensive strategies of preventing unintended pregnancy and supporting pregnant women through to parenthood.
“There are 1.3 million abortions every year in America. No one is proud of that – it is simply too many,” said Third Way Culture Director Rachel Laser at the press conference. “We could reduce the number of abortions in America by more than a million over the next decade without twisting arms, banning abortions, or throwing people in prison.”
The legislation is the culmination of nine months of behind the scenes work and negotiations between Third Way, pro-life Ohio Representative Tim Ryan, and pro-choice Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro. The focus not only was on the substance of 92-page legislation but on the message behind the bill: that of abortion reduction.
“This is the first time Democrats have stood for reducing abortions as a primary political message,” said Laser, who authored a new message memorandum, “A New Direction on Abortion for Progressives” (see link below), as well as an influential January 2006 memorandum, “Winning the Abortion Grays.” In both memos, Laser and Third Way point out that pro-life Republicans like George Bush and Members of Congress have consistently won the majority of voters who hold moderate views on abortion. Third Way argued that Republicans had won the “battle of reasonableness on abortion,” and they recommended a new Democratic message of “reducing abortions while preserving the right to have one.”
“The response to the memo from all corners of the progressive movement was one of both extreme interest and extreme fear. No one had seized the initiative until Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro stepped forward,” said Laser.
In a poll that Third Way released at the press conference, they found that by a margin of 69-29% voters agreed that “we should try to reduce the number of abortions in America while still preserving the basic right to have one.” Among the 62% of respondents who hold moderate views on abortion, 79-20% agreed with the statement.
“People want to get something done and turn down the heat,” said Laser. “Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro have blazed a new trail to reduce abortions, lower the temperature on this politically divisive debate, and discover the reasonable approach that voters crave.”
Contact: Matt Bennett (202) 775-3768 x212