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January 18, 2018 11:43 AM UTC

Progressive leaders say Democratic Party should shun abortion opponents

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Directors of 18 progressive organizations called on Democrats yesterday not to welcome or accommodate anti-choice policy makers in their party.

“Rather than accommodate policy-makers who will support the very same attacks on women that we spend so much time fighting, we must protect access to abortion as a reproductive right contained in the Democratic Party Platform,” wrote directors of ProgressNow and other organizations in a letter to the Democratic National Committee. “Lip service won’t suffice.”

“Women deserve an unwavering commitment to securing reproductive autonomy for all, regardless of income level or geography, so that every person in our nation has the right to decide if, when and how to start a family,” the letter continued. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it is our responsibility as progressives.”

ProgressNow Colorado Director Ian Silverii signed the letter, along with leaders of ProgressNow and other organizations in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, and elsewhere.

Abortion opponents greeted the letter with disgust.

Former Colorado Springs State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who’s ardently anti-choice, urged Catholics and evangelicals to never vote for Democrats again.

“This confirms an ideological purge on the left, a new litmus test of sorts, that if you don’t aggressively participate in legalized child-killing, they say you are not a true Democrat,” said Klingenschmitt, who’s considering another run for a state house seat this year. “This shocking internal memo by party leaders, apparently shunning pro-life Democrats from any possible nomination to any leadership position in the future, confirms what I’ve said for years, that NO Catholic or Evangelical can EVER vote Democrat again, lest they support or join that party’s intrinsic (and now mandatory) bloodlust.  The party of child sacrifice reminds me of Psalm 106:38, ‘They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.'”

Only six Democrats in Congress have positions that could be defined as anti-choice. In the House, they are Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas.

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, of Indiana, scored a zero on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s 2016 voting scorecard. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania have voted against abortion rights a times.

In an interview with the Hill last year, Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), who’s charged by congressional Democrats with electing Democrats to Congress, said anti-abortion Democrats will not be shunned.

“We’ll need a broad coalition” to win back the majority, Lujan told The Hill. “We have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”

The platform for the Democratic Party has become stronger on abortion issues, with the 2016 platform for the first time opposing the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal tax dollars to perform abortions.

 “As progressives, it isn’t enough for us just to oppose Republican policies or promote reproductive rights when we are directly under attack,” states the letter from progressives released yesterday. “We must stand for a vision that speaks to fundamental values of autonomy, equity, liberty and self-determination and fight for an America where people can access the medical care they deserve based on their own judgment, including abortions. Trusting and equipping women to regulate their own reproductive lives is fundamental to achieving the kind of gender, race and economic equity that the Democratic Party articulates as its key values.”


8 thoughts on “Progressive leaders say Democratic Party should shun abortion opponents

  1. I say we do to anti-choice Democrats what the GOP has done to pro-choice Republicans. They are welcome to be Democrats. We will take your money. You may register as Democrats. But you are not going to change the platform. And good luck getting anti-choice candidates nominated. 

    1. Yeah.  You had pro choice Republicans once upon a time.  What happened to them?

      Also, when did the party of LOCK HER UP!!! become the party of due process?

  2. What happened to tolerating Democrats who say that they are personally anti-abortion, but would not limit choice for others? If I recall, Governor Ritter was one of those, as is Joe Biden.

    I respect those who walk their talk. If someone beleives that abortion is immoral, they should be making adoption easier, adopting kids themselves, creating policies that make raising children easier, advocating for universal health care and a sound social safety net.

    I say we leave that middle ground open – tolerate those whose personal moral or religious views are anti -abortion, as long as their policies are pro-choice. Leave the platform as is – strongly pro-choice – I like the wording above. And if the people in a particular jurisdiction want to elect an anti-choice guy, let them. The DNC doesn't give local candidates money, anyway. 

    There are other hills I would ask Democrats to take a stand on – against superdelegates, against accepting lobbyists as superdelegates, against accepting unlimited dark money from corporations. As a compromise, the rules changes proposed by the DNC Unity Commission are a good start to achieving those goals.

    As one of the only people weighing in on this who has actually had an abortion, I have to say that abortion cannot be viewed in isolation. It has to be seen in the context of economic choices, civil rights,  and social class.

    When Democrats isolate and enshrine abortion as "the women's issue" and try to rally support around it, we lose. Over and over. See the campaign literature of Mark Udall, the anti-recall literature of Angela Giron, any number of others.

  3. My two cents is Democrats should shun Climate Science deniers.  This should be the real red line for Progressives.  Women can fight back.  The planet can't.

    "You don't believe we should save the planet? Fuck you. Don't run as a Democrat."

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