Earlier this year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez announced that every Democrat must support abortion in order to be supported by the party. Perez called a pro-abortion stance “non-negotiable,” and his remarks caused an immediate backlash. Soon afterwards, Perez agreed to meet with leaders from Democrats for Life, while other Democrats bristled at the idea of an abortion litmus test for candidates, including pro-abortion Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. And now, a top Democrat has officially put the idea to rest, announcing that pro-life Democrats would, in fact, receive financial support from the party.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and he announced that the party will not inflict any litmus test on Democratic candidates as they look to retake Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. “There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” he said. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”
Naturally, pro-abortion extremists were furious. “Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy,” said Mitchell Stille for NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.” Others reacted on Twitter:
I will accept this, if said candidates are forced to gain 50 pounds, have their toes hit with a hammer, and pay child support for 24 years. https://t.co/JVivrGqE2D
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) July 31, 2017
What better strategy than to betray their base and reaffirm that women’s basic rights are negotiable and disposable. Good luck, boys. https://t.co/xRYri4tISS
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) July 31, 2017
Love how the expectation that Democratic candidates support public health good & believe in women’s bodily autonomy is a “litmus test.” https://t.co/GyZCP53xlG
— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) July 31, 2017
This is a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic party. https://t.co/oQzgkUAoLX
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) July 31, 2017
for too long the GOP has had a strangle-hold on treating women like worthless baby vessels https://t.co/R4TeChDcSx
— andrea grimes (@andreagrimes) July 31, 2017
Pardon me, @dccc — but we should all be unified behind you in times like this. Why are you picking a fight with your base on repro rights?
— Erin Matson (@erintothemax) July 31, 2017
While pro-abortion extremists are fuming, the reality is that this is a move that Democrats have been calling for since the presidential election in November, when the party suffered staggering losses. Democrats wrote op-eds urging the party to reject pro-abortion extremism; Barack Obama’s former faith director criticized the party for being too extreme on abortion. The 2016 party platform was the most extreme in history; it enthusiastically supported not only legal abortion, but promised to overturn pro-life laws across the country, and continue funding of Planned Parenthood.
It wasn’t just Democrat leaders in politics and media who didn’t like the party’s embrace of abortion extremism. Despite what pro-abortion activists may be claiming, the reality is that Americans didn’t favor the extreme abortion position taken by the Democratic Party, and it may have played a role in the party’s losses. A majority of Americans support abortion restrictions, disapprove of taxpayer-funded abortion, and view abortion as morally wrong. Approximately one-third of Democrats identify as pro-life. Leaving these Americans behind is not a successful campaign strategy. Accepting and embracing pro-lifers, on the other hand, is.