June 21, 2004

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle 

Texas Democrats meeting here Saturday approved a platform that reaffirms their support for legal abortion, proposes a temporary moratorium on state executions and calls for the repeal of parts of the U.S. Patriot Act. 

“Texas Democrats believe we must work with people from all walks of life to make our communities stronger, safer, more just and more secure,” the platform begins. “Our state and nation are strongest when government works for all the people and guarantees open and fair participation in the democratic process.” The 29-page platform, approved at the Democrats’ state convention in Houston, essentially is a document laying out the party’s basic principles. It is intentionally vague in some portions and precise in others. 

Under the five-paragraph “Choice and Family Planning” section, the platform never mentions abortion. It does, however, say that Democrats “trust the women of Texas to make their own decisions about personal matters, such as when or whether to bear children. No government, no politician and no bureaucrat should interfere in an individual’s private and personal decisions.” 

The platform’s authors haggled a bit over the document’s wording in the capital punishment section. Although not calling for the abolition of the death penalty, the platform says “the people must be assured that it is fairly administered.” 

The party called for a “temporary moratorium (on) executions” until a Texas Capital Punishment Commission can be created to study the state’s death penalty system and report back. Party members also called on the commission to consider recommending state laws banning execution of the mentally ill and allowing a sentence of life without parole. 

Party members also called for the immediate repeal of Patriot Act provisions that “are inconsistent with the letter or spirit of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.”

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