When the DNC decided to support Heath Mello in the Omaha mayoral race before finding out that Mello had espoused pro-life views, some of its members were outraged, including the abortion lobbying group, NARAL Pro-Choice America.
“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,” tweeted NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue.
— NARAL (@NARAL) April 20, 2017
DNC Chairman Perez responded by stating, “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
Doubling down on their commitment to abortion on demand, Democrats are nevertheless trying to portray their party as having morally upright virtues – such as diversity and inclusiveness – yet Perez’ comments kicking pro-lifers to the curb promotes the opposite.
“Diversity is what makes our party great,” said Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar in response to Perez’s statement. “I am proud to be in the Democratic party. 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.”
Other leaders of the Democratic party tried to tone down Perez’s “non-negotiable” stance.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO), a pro-abortion rights advocate, said she strongly disagreed with Perez. “I think it’s not correct that our party should have litmus tests about who wants to join our party. 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.”
Pro-life Sen. Joe Donnelly (IN) was mystified by Perez’ statement. “This is a deeply personal issue, and we should be about respecting one another,” he pointed out, adding, “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. 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.”
Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb called out Perez for putting “every Democrat who is leading our party at the nationwide and statewide level in a very difficult position.”
Recent research from a Marist/Knights of Columbus poll released in January shows that more than 80 percent of Americans oppose the use of tax dollars to support abortion in other countries, with 61 percent also opposed to taxpayers funding abortions in the United States. The poll also showed that 55 percent of Clinton supporters and 91 percent of Trump supporters want abortion to be limited to 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,” commented 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.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, leader of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCB) pro-life committee, was disturbed by Perez’s declaration of support only for pro-abortion candidates. “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,” he said, 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.”
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