Tags: Abortion | democratic | civil war | abortion

Democratic Civil War Breaks Out Over Abortion

Image: Democratic Civil War Breaks Out Over Abortion
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (AP) 

By    |   Friday, 04 Aug 2017 03:27 PM

An intense intra-party squabble has broken out among Democrats over whether politicians who aren't avidly pro-abortion are welcome in the Democratic Party.

The infighting began on Monday, when the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, told TheHill.com that the party will help fund the campaigns of candidates who oppose abortion.

"There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates," Lujan declared. "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.

The notion that pro-life Democrats may be welcome in a party struggling to return to political relevance has touched off a firestorm, especially with the party's hard-left base that includes groups like NARAL, All Above All, and Emily's List.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who ran the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, responded on Twitter to Lujan's remarks, stating: "I'm afraid I'll be withholding support for the DCCC if this is true."

That may have been one of the milder reactions. Among the others:

  • Liberal journalist Lauren Duca called the move "a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic Party."
  • Destiny Lopez, co-director of the pro-abortion group All Above All, released a news release stating "It's short-sighted and dangerous to pave the path to victory in 2018 at the expense of women."
  • Mitchell Stille, a national campaign director for NARAL, told The Hill: "Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy. The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data."
  • NARAL President Ilyse Hogue tweeted: "Ignoring women's fundamental freedoms and equality to win elections is both an ethically and politically bankrupt strategy."

In April, two revered icons of the left, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and DNC deputy chairman Keith Ellison, campaigned in Omaha for Heath Mello -- a Democratic candidate for mayor who opposes abortion. Sanders was widely criticized by pro-choice groups for supporting a pro-life Democrat.

DNC chairman Tom Perez kowtowed to the pro-abortion lobby, stating that abortion rights is "nonnegotiable" for Democrats, and urging all Democrats to speak with "one voice" in support of aborting babies. Sanders later protested, "You just can't exclude people who disagree with us on one issue."

If Dean and Perez are on one side of Democrats' growing divide over abortion, Sanders, Lujan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer are all on the other side. All of them are on record opposing a litmus test over abortion.

Their pragmatism has cost them politically, however. In May, pro-abortion forces blasted Pelosi, who is known as a staunch ally of the abortion industry, after she told The Washington Post that supporting abortion is not essential to being a Democrat. This after she donated $1,000 to Mello's campaign.

Pelosi, who grew up in a family of devout Catholic Democrats, told the Post: "This is not a rubber-stamp party."

NARAL's Hogue said supporting a candidate who opposes abortion was "not only disappointing, it is politically stupid."

Democrats' political chasm over abortion appears to be growing. Becca Andrews of the progressive magazine Mother Jones writes: "At a time when the Democratic Party is searching for a coherent identity and program after its resounding defeat in 2016, the debate over whether the party openly supports abortion rights will likely continue to heat up as the 2018 races loom."

On Wednesday, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List organization, remarked that Democrats "have an enormous problem on their hands and one that a papered-over solution or postures will not fix."

Democrats' internecine warfare over abortion is a sign Democrats are still battling over whether the party's hard left, ideological turn since November will tolerate moderates able to compete in the 30 states that Donald Trump carried in 2016.

Dannenfelser cited a Gallup poll indicating that 32 percent of rank-and-file Democrats consider themselves pro-life.

"While abortion lobby leaders are beside themselves over the mere suggestion that a pro-life Democrat will be permitted to run, clearly, some within the party are starting to recognize the vulnerability here," Dannenfelser said in a statement, adding: "Democrats' extreme pro-abortion platform has lost more votes than it has gained, and led to defeat in the last two election cycles."

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An intense intra-party squabble has broken out among Democrats over whether politicians who aren't avidly pro-abortion are welcome in the Democratic Party.
democratic, civil war, abortion
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2017-27-04
Friday, 04 Aug 2017 03:27 PM
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