The little tent of the Democratic Party just got smaller, as DNC chairman Tom Perez has called for all Democrats to walk in lockstep with Planned Parenthood on the question of abortion rights, effectively ruling out the possibility of “pro-life Democrats.”
“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.”
Although the Democratic Party’s radically pro-abortion platform was galvanized in 1992, when the Party refused to allow the late Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania to give a speech against abortion at its National Convention, it has continued to harden into a fundamental pillar of the Party.
Yet in his address Friday, DNC leader Tom Perez became the first chairman of the party to demand absolute ideological purity on abortion rights, promising to only back Democratic candidates who embrace a woman’s right to choose.
The official 2016 platform of the Democratic Party was called “the most pro-abortion platform in history,” and the President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Ilyse Hogue called the 55-page document “far and away the most progressive platform on reproductive health, freedom and justice in the history of the party.”
“If platforms are statements of collective values and a blueprint for candidates to follow once elected, the choice could not be more clear,” said Hogue, an ardent supporter of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
At the time, Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, registered her outrage at the Party’s exclusiveness on the abortion question.
“This platform’s language just says (to abortion opponents) you are no longer welcome,” Day said.
On Friday, Perez declared that every candidate who runs as a Democrat should stand by abortion rights, “because every woman should be able to make her own health choices. Period.”
Abortion rights advocates applauded Perez’s remarks as an important milestone for the movement on Friday.
“Kudos to Chair Tom Perez and the DNC for recognizing that we are a stronger party when we stand for our core values,” Ilyse Hogue told The Huffington Post.
“Women across the country who are, and have always been, the heart and soul of the Party, are breathing a sigh of relief to know that the DNC has our backs, and we look forward to a day when we don’t have to fight this fight again.”
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