The Democrat party has seemingly adopted a radically pro-abortion stance, and that doesn’t sit well with the pro-life members of the party, including Terrisa Bukovinac. Currently serving as president of Democrats for Life and the founder and executive director of Pro-Life San Francisco, Bukovinac has become a passionate advocate for life in one of the most pro-abortion cities in the country.
“I got involved in the pro-life movement when I discovered secular pro-life online,” Bukovinac said in an interview with The Daily Citizen. “I didn’t have any pro-life views until after I lost my faith.
“It was very confusing for me as a secular person, who is also pro-life, living in a very liberal environment like San Francisco. But when I found secular pro-life online, that’s when I thought, ‘Oh, there are other people like me. This is a real thing.’ That really empowered me,” Bukovinac explained.
After that, Bukovinac felt more comfortable opening up about her pro-life beliefs to some in her circles, and she started sharing more about her pro-life perspective online. It wasn’t until after news broke of the undercover videos captured by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress in 2015 and Donald Trump’s campaign for president in 2016 that she was galvanized to do more.
“I was really activated at that point,” Bukovinac said. “Feeling like the need to tell the pro-life story to the pro-choice community but from a position of someone who can relate to them. Not someone like Donald Trump, who they hate. I saw him platforming off of the issue and it just concerned me so much that I was like, ‘Fine, I’ll do it.’”
She founded Pro-Life San Francisco just a couple of weeks before Trump was elected president.
“It just kind of gave me a platform and I started to see some progress on the ground,” Bukovinac said. “I was able to organize many activists here in San Francisco from across the political, ideological and religious spectrums. And I found that the position wasn’t settled in San Francisco, and if it’s not settled here, in basically the most pro-abortion city in America, well it’s not settled anywhere. That’s how I got started.”
She became more active with Democrats for Life, in addition to her role in Pro-Life San Francisco.
“We need to stop pretending that the 20 million pro-life Democrats don’t exist. To really confront the ways that we’re being misrepresented with this abortion extremism from the party that does not represent the majority. It certainly doesn’t represent the majority of Americans and it doesn’t represent the majority of Democrats,” Bukovinac said. “We want to get more pro-life Democrats elected, and obviously the last several years we’ve lost so many in Congress.”
When asked what she thinks about her party’s position on abortion, Bukovinac shared her dismay at the situation.
“It’s totally horrifying but it also does show the desperation of the abortion industry. They know that left-leaning values are powerful values to many people in this nation and so they piggyback off of those issues,” she explained. “They platform off of immigration, police brutality, LGBT issues, transgender issues, health care and feminism, all of the things that left-leaning people genuinely and deeply care about. And then they just put their label on it and expect the rest of us to just get along with the abortion issue.”
Though it might seem like an uphill battle, party leadership may reverse course if more pro-life Democrats speak up.
“We’re at a point now where we’re in position to grow, but we have to grow from a grassroots level,” Bukovinac said. “We are aggressively recruiting at the local level to put pro-life Democrats in positions of power within their own communities and influence, to grow them into Congress.
“What I’m really trying to say is that we need to turn this bus around because anybody who’s watching can see that while the Democratic constituents are becoming more and more concerned about late-term abortion, you’re seeing fewer and fewer anti-abortion Democrats. So that has to change. That cannot continue. Right now, we have Joe Manchin in the Senate and no one in the House. That’s where we’re at.”
In the last couple of years, the Democratic party has been largely successful at pushing out pro-life Democrats from Congress at the federal level. Dan Lipinski of Illinois was one of the last, and most prominent, pro-life Democrats in the House, before he lost to a candidate championed by pro-abortion group NARAL.
“Hopefully pro-life Democrats, who have any kind of concerns about abortion extremism, make their voices heard,” Bukovinac said. “And if we rise up and we’re able to give back the voice of the majority to the people then we will be able to see that reflected in our leadership. That is, if we can get, you know, even the conservative movement to understand the value in that.”
It’s no question that there are differences between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to some core beliefs about the future direction of the country, so how can conservative Christians engage with someone who may support life but is perhaps an atheist or a Democrat?
“It’s by demonstrating sameness,” Bukovinac said. “Making people feel like they fit in, like, there’s a place for them, and that they don’t have to become someone other than themselves to engage with the movement.”
A great example Bukovinac points out is how even without signs, a pro-choice group and a pro-life group look entirely different. “That creates a psychological divide. There are so many ways that we can meet people where they’re at and show them, ‘Hey, look, I’m not that different from you.’ And we really just need to find creative ways of doing that.”
Though sometimes the situation in Washington with the Democrat party may seem hopeless on the issue of life, Bukovinac is passionate about not abandoning her party but trying to change it from within.
“You’re just absolutely horrified by what your own party is doing but you know it’s going to help at all if I’m like, ‘Oh, well I guess I’m a Republican.’ No, the whole point is that my party needs to change, and they need to represent us accurately. If I’m not willing to stay in the party and fight for it. Well then, you know, who is and how are we going to ever change the situation,” Bukovinac said.
“Like, there’s no way I’m going to be able to change the entire Republican party to be pro-immigration, pro-LGBT, pro-trans (specifically) or pro-racial justice.
“That’s just a mountain that I can’t even conceptualize climbing but getting the abortion industry out of the Democratic Party, a party that stands for the values of equality, non-violence and non-discrimination. That’s something I can do, and that’s something I plan to do.”
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