Pro-life Democrats in politics are hard to find. And most of the ones that you do find are obviously to the right of the typical Democrat. Finding a bona fide pro-life liberal in politics? Now that’s a tall order! Most of the ones you do come across will eventually cave to pressure from the party base and abandon their pro-life convictions. Believe it or not, Dennis Kucinich used to have a perfect pro-life voting record in the 1990s, but abruptly embraced abortion as he moved toward running for president. Pro-life liberals in politics who stand pat, no matter how much abuse they get from the rest of their party, are almost non-existent.
Notice I said ‘almost,’ because Ruben Diaz, Sr., a State Senator from New York, is one such person. While holding fiscal views that would undoubtedly give Tea Partiers heart attacks, on the issue of abortion, his statements are absolutely incredible, and leave no room for misinterpretation:
Let me tell you something about being pro-choice:
A) Hitler was pro-choice. He chose to send the Jews to Auschwitz. That was not the Jews choice, that was Hitler’s choice.
B) Murderers and assassins are pro-choice. They choose to put a gun to your face and blow your head off. That is not your choice, that is their choice.
C) The baby in a woman’s womb will not choose the saline solution that will burn his skin away nor will he choose the forceps that will crack his little head off. That is not his choice, that is your choice.
But here’s the kicker – the Senate district Diaz represents is in the Bronx. According to the U.S. Election Atlas, the Bronx borough cast 88.71% of its vote for Barack Obama in 2008. That’s the third highest percentage for Obama out of every county in the nation, trailing only the 92.46% of the District of Columbia, and the 88.87% of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Diaz is not an aberration either; he’s been elected by his district three times, most recently in 2010 after easily beating back a challenge in the Democratic primary.
All this begs the question, if Diaz can repeatedly win in his district, which must be among the most liberal legislative districts in the entire nation, shouldn’t pro-life candidates be able to win anywhere? Howard Dean spoke of a 50 state strategy, and a handful of bloggers have talked about a 435 district strategy. There are more than 7,000 districts in the 50 state legislatures. Maybe it’s time that pro-lifers started thinking about a 7,000+ district strategy. Even in the impossibly liberal districts that no Republican is ever going to win, we ought to be on the look out for men and women like Ruben Diaz, Sr., who are unshakably pro-life, but otherwise firmly in step with the political leanings of their district.
Admittedly, it’s an uphill battle, and the vast majority of the time, lopsidedly Democratic districts will remain represented by a pro-choice legislator. But in state legislatures, which are usually quite small, every vote matters. A Ruben Diaz, Sr. from San Francisco, Chicago, or Seattle could one day end up being the critical vote to pass a law that saves hundreds of lives.