On Friday former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that his party will only support candidates who back abortion rights for women.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) echoed that statement in an interview on CNN on Sunday.
“I am committed to women’s rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is,” Durbin told CNN. “We’ve made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time. I know within the ranks of the Democratic Party there are those who see that differently on a personal basis, but when it comes to the policy position, I think we need to be clear and unequivocal.
“We need to be understanding of those who take a different position, because of personal conscience, but as long as they are prepared to back the law, Roe versus Wade, prepared to back women’s rights as we’ve defined them under the law, then I think they can be part of the party,” he added.
The Democrat Party Platform calls for taxpayer funding for abortion on demand.
Their platform reads:
We will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe. In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming. Therefore, we support the repeal of harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to health care information and services, including the “global gag rule” and the Helms Amendment that bars American assistance to provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world.
Perez just completed an eight stop “Come Together and Fight Back” tour with former presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). During the tour he called for unity and praised diversity.
Apparently diversity is good except for diversity on this particular issue anyway.
According to Pew Research 28 percent of Democrats believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases so over a quarter of all Democrats are not qualified to receive support from their party should they run for office. That number includes Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
This doubling down on abortion rights stems from the party receiving pressure from liberals for its support of Heath Mello, a Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, who is pro-life. Mello, a current member of the Nebraska Legislature, co-sponsored a bill that required doctors to notify women of the option of having an ultrasound before receiving an abortion. Perez and Sanders recently campaigned for Mello on their tour and was taken to task by pro-abortion advocates.
“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. Today’s action make this so-called ‘fight back tour’ look more like a throw back tour for women and our rights,” NARAL Pro-Choice President Ilyse Hogue said in a released statement.
“The path the DNC ‘fight back tour’ takes the party down will not help the party or our country if it turns its back on reproductive freedom. It will only set back women’s fundamental rights and freedoms,” she added.
Pro-life leaders responded to the Democrat rhetoric.
“There is an enormous disconnect between Democrat and Independent rank and file voters and national leaders like DNC Chairman Tom Perez and Senator Dick Durbin on the issue of abortion. As they push their party more and more to the extreme on abortion, the GOP benefits at the polls. Never has it been so clear: on abortion, there is no room for dissent or exceptions among Democrats, only support for the party’s radical platform which calls for abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayer dollars,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“It is a tragedy and no wonder there are so few pro-life Democrats left advancing past the state legislature these days. Perez and Durbin won’t even allow a mayoral candidate to be pro-life. It is no surprise Heath Mello of Omaha has already walked back his pro-life position by saying that ‘as mayor I would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care,'” she added.
“Dating back to the ouster of Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey from their 1992 convention, Democrats have become increasingly intolerant of pro-life Americans within their own ranks,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “By forcing all Democrats to pledge fealty to the abortion industry’s extreme agenda, Tom Perez has completed the party’s transformation and sent the message that pro-life Democrats are no longer welcome in their party.”
“There are still a significant number of Democratic voters who reject the abortion industry’s incessant call for unrestricted abortion on demand, and their party’s embrace of that agenda. The question now remains: will high profile Democrats like Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who call themselves pro-life, stand up to their chairman and run as pro-life candidates without DNC support, join the pro-life Republican party, or flip-flop on abortion and betray those pro-life voters who helped elect them?” Tobias added.