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Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Ducks Abortion Questions

10:55 AM, Sep 4, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Will giving high-profile speaking roles at the Democratic National Convention to abortion activists, like the heads of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, make it difficult for Democrats to reach out to religious voters? Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a Methodist minister, told me Monday he doesn't think it will be a problem. "They're not telling people to get abortions," he explained. 

But NARAL and Planned Parenthood do lobby for extreme policies on abortion. Like President Obama, they oppose any restrictions whatsoever. I asked Cleaver if he also believes late-term abortions should be legal. He said he was "unaware" of the issue. I asked Cleaver the question a second time, but he repeated his non-answer and walked away. In July, Cleaver voted to uphold the District of Columbia's abortion-until-birth policy

On Monday, Cleaver addressed the Faith Caucus at the convention and acknowledged that Democrats have been on the defensive over cultural and moral issues.  

"We cannot and will not allow anyone to de-faith us," Cleaver said. "We have over the past few years in my estimation remained essentially silent and civil while people reached out and touched us as Satanic,” Cleaver said. "Just yesterday in my community a letter was being distributed at Catholic churches which essentially says that if you vote for a Democrat, you’re going to Hell."

At the 2008 Faith Caucus meeting, there was talk among Democrats about reaching out to religious voters by finding "common ground" on the issue of abortion. But there was no substantive discussion at the 2012 Faith Caucus meeting about the issue of abortion. Cleaver simply said his opponents were hypocrites and compared them to the Pharisees who opposed Jesus. "The truth of the matter is they were the ones who actually inspired his crucifixion," Cleaver said.

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