Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez’s announcement that pro-lifers are not welcome in his party has planted the seeds of rebellion among some Democrats and sharpened the view that the party is now primarily defined by its embrace of abortion on demand.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said, as the HuffPost reported. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
Perez’s comments came after the DNC decided to support Heath Mello in the Omaha, Nebraska, mayoral race. Mello, it was discovered, had previously voted in the state legislature consistent with his personal pro-life views:
— NARAL (@NARAL) April 20, 2017
Abortion lobbying group NARAL Pro-Choice America immediately slammed the DNC for its embrace of Mello.
“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,” fumed NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue.
Perez responded to the scathing bashing with the compliant statement that he “fundamentally disagree[s] with Heath Mello’s personal beliefs about women’s reproductive health,” adding that “every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same.”
Democrats’ decision to dig their hole even deeper regarding commitment to abortion on demand has many wondering how the party will survive since suffering significant unexpected losses in the 2016 elections.
According to the Atlantic, Democrats are now “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.”
The party has attempted to portray itself as built upon morally upright virtues – such as diversity and inclusiveness – yet Perez’s statement clearly demands the opposite.
“Diversity is what makes our party great,” Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar told CNSNews.com, in response to Perez’s statement that support of abortion is “not negotiable.”
“I am proud to be in the Democratic party,” Cuellar added. “We are a big tent, united by many of my core values, like quality public education and affordable health care for all. Sometimes, we can have different ideas about how best to reflect those values in the law, so litmus tests on any one issue just won’t work.”
High-level Democrats attempted to soften Perez’s exclusionary message.
“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,” pro-abortion rights Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO) said in response to the DNC chair’s announcement, as reported by 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.”
“What Mr. Perez said makes no sense to me,” objected Sen. Joe Donnelly (IN), who identifies personally as pro-life. “This is a deeply personal issue, and we should be about respecting one another.”
“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,” Donnelly added. “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.”
“Pro-life Democrats need to be welcomed into our party,” said Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb, 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.”
Writing at the left-leaning Jesuit magazine America, Robert David Sullivan observed, “Abortion is proving that the Democratic Party can outdo Republicans in self-destruction.”
The author continued:
Abortion is now the single issue defining the Democrats, and Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, is the de facto head of the party. This gives the Republicans a major advantage in holding off electoral losses if the Trump administration continues to founder.
The decision by Democrats to make abortion on demand its highest level priority, however, is at odds with recent data.
A Marist/Knights of Columbus poll released in January finds that 83 percent of Americans oppose the use of tax dollars to support abortion in other countries, with 61 percent also opposed to funding abortions in the United States with taxpayer dollars. These results include 87 percent of Donald Trump supporters and 39 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters.
Additionally, the poll showed 55 percent of Clinton supporters and 91 percent of Trump supporters approved limiting abortion to – at most – the first trimester or pregnancy.
“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 Knights of Columbus leader Carl Anderson. “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.”
“The majority of Americans in favor of abortion restrictions has been consistently around 8 in 10 for the better part of a decade.” Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, also observed, “Though self-identification as pro-life or pro-choice can vary substantially from year to year, the support for restrictions is quite stable.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCB) pro-life committee, said Perez’s declaration of support only for pro-abortion candidates is “very disturbing.”
“The Democratic Party platform already endorses abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, even forcing taxpayers to fund it, and now the DNC says that to be a Democrat—indeed to be an American—requires supporting that extreme agenda,” Dolan continued, adding:
True solidarity with pregnant women and their children transcends all party lines. Abortion doesn’t empower women. Indeed, women deserve better than abortion.
In the name of diversity and inclusion, pro-life and pro-“choice” Democrats, alike, should challenge their leadership to recant this intolerant position.
However, with the now deeply entrenched co-dependent political relationship between the Democrat Party and the abortion industry, there may be little chance for the party to open its tent to include more pro-life candidates in the near future.
“The Democratic Party has to look in the mirror and say, where did we go wrong? What do we need to do to start winning again?” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America. “This is one of those issues where the party could expand its coalition. I do have some optimism. The fact that we’re having this discussion at all is important, and potentially an opportunity to create space for pro-life Democrats within the party, but so far it doesn’t seem like that’s the direction the party will take.”