The last thing the divided Democratic National Committee (DNC) should be doing is drawing a “line in the sand” about abortion, making pro-life democrats feel like they are no longer accepted.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” said Tom Perez, DNC Chairman, according to HuffPost. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
Now the DNC is also getting backlash for supporting Heath Mello of Omaha, Nebraska, who is running for Mayor, because he has voted pro-life in the past.
“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” tweeted Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, a pro-choice lobbying group.
Then Perez was quick to condemn Mello’s stance on pro-life. He said that he “fundamentally disagree[s] with Heath Mello’s personal beliefs about women’s reproductive health” and that “every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same.”
Now the party is divided over another issue. As The Atlantic points it Democrats are “newly divided … as they attempt to decide who they will welcome, and who they will exclude, amid soul searching over how the party should rebuild after its 2016 loss.”
“I don’t know why we would want to start walking away from folks, like myself, who have a personal conviction on the pro-life issue,” said Sen. Joe Donnelly (IN,) a pro-life supporter. “We ought to be able to include everyone, as opposed to saying ‘no, we don’t want these folks, even though they fight with us on jobs, even though they fight with us for economic rights, even though they fight with us on healthcare.’ It just seems to me to be very, very short-sighted.”
However, several lawmakers are speaking out about how they disagree with Perez not because they are pro-life supporters, but because of his unwelcoming messages.
“I couldn’t disagree more with what Tom Perez said, I think it’s not correct that our party should have litmus tests about who wants to join our party,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO,) with pro-abortion views, according to the Atlantic. “We may disagree on various issues, and I just don’t think we should say ever anyone is not welcome in our party based on one of those issues.”
“Pro-life Democrats need to be welcomed into our party,” said Jane Kleeb, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair and a Bernie Sanders supporter. “Tom Perez put every Democrat who is leading our party at the nationwide and statewide level in a very difficult position.”
Not to mention, it looks like the DNC is focusing too much energy on abortion, when the majority of Americans want restrictions, even if they are pro-choice.
According to a Marist/ Knights of Columbus poll from earlier this year, 74% support restrictions on abortion and 61% opposed funding abortions with U.S. tax dollars.
“There is a consensus in America in favor of significant abortion restrictions, and this common ground exists across party lines, and even among significant numbers of those who are pro-choice,” said Carl Anderson, Knights of Columbus leader. “This poll shows that large percentages of Americans, on both sides of the aisle, are united in their opposition to the status quo as it relates to abortion on demand. This is heartening and can help start a new national conversation on abortion.”
Author’s note: If the DNC is ever going to recover from its massive losses in 2016, the party will have to drop this abortion extremism. Pro-life is a moral issue and making a large percentage of the population feel like they aren’t welcome as a part of the Democratic party, will only turn more away.