July 30, 2013
Lindy Boggs, photographed in her apartment in Washington, in 1994. (Tyler Mallory/The Post) Lindy Boggs, photographed in her apartment in Washington, in 1994. (Tyler Mallory/The Post)

The Post obituary for the late congresswoman and ambassador Lindy Boggs noted her important role in the struggle for civil rights. But the paper entirely left out one of the defining characteristics of her storied political career:

Lindy Boggs was a tireless champion of rights for unborn children.

Boggs was elected to Congress in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and compiled a near-perfect pro-life voting record in Congress. When she finally retired from the House in the 1990s, her daughter Barbara told People magazine: “Mama always votes against abortion.” Her strong pro-life record made her the obvious choice for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican in 1997. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a visit to the Holy See when I worked for the late Sen. Jesse Helms, who shared her passion for protecting unborn human life, even as they disagreed on many other matters. She was one of the most charming and gracious people I have ever encountered.

While The Post overlooked this aspect of her life, the New York Times noted in its obituary the price Lindy Boggs paid for her apostasy from Democratic Party orthodoxy: Her pro-life stance may have cost her the opportunity to make history as the first female vice presidential nominee.

“In 1984,” the Times noted, “she was often mentioned as a possible vice-presidential candidate, but she was ultimately passed over by the presidential nominee, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, in favor of Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro. Mrs. Boggs believed that her strong stand against abortion had hurt her chances.”

Yet she never wavered from that stand — and the world has come her way. A recent poll showed that a plurality of Americans support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, and that “women supported such a measure in greater numbers than men (50 percent of women in favor; 46 percent of men).” In other words, Lindy Boggs was a woman ahead of her time.

With her passing, the United States lost a gracious and devoted champion of the most vulnerable of our citizens. Sadly, Lindy Boggs’s death may also mark the passing of an increasingly rare phenomenon: the pro-life Democrat.

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