Democrats Face Backlash From Abortion Activists After “Pro-Life” Candidate Added to “Unity” Rally

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 20, 2017   |   5:36PM   |   Washington, DC

Abortion activists are causing an uproar today after the Democratic National Committee invited a Nebraska mayoral candidate with a past pro-life record to join its “unity tour.”

The Democratic Party has taken an increasingly radical pro-abortion stance in recent years. Last year, the DNC adopted a platform calling for taxpayers to fund abortions and support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Just a few pro-life Democrats remain in office as a result.

Politico reports Democratic mayoral candidate Heath Mello is at the center of the controversy this week.

Mello, who is running for mayor of Omaha, is participating in a sold-out DNC “unity tour” today with Bernie Sanders and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison. But when abortion activists found out that Mello has a pro-life voting record, they quickly slammed him and the DNC.

“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 [abortion] and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

As a Nebraska state legislator, Mello sponsored a pro-life bill to require that abortion facilities inform women of their right to request an ultrasound before having an abortion, according to the report.

Other reports indicate Mello also supported a 20-week abortion ban, a law prohibiting Affordable Care Act insurance plans from covering abortions, and a bill to require abortion practitioners to be physically present for the abortion procedure.

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The liberal blog Daily Kos also withdrew its support of Mello after learning about his pro-life record.

“… as soon as we learned this information, we withdrew our endorsement, because this legislation clearly runs contrary to Daily Kos’ deepest values, including our support for women’s reproductive rights and our staunch opposition to laws that in any way impede women’s access to reproductive health care,” the liberal site wrote Thursday.

Mello quickly responded to the abortion activists by basically saying he is not pro-life anymore.

Claiming that he remains “personally pro-life,” Mello told The Huffington Post that he “never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care,” including abortions.

The Daily Kos reports Planned Parenthood gave Mello a 100-percent approval rating.

The Democratic Party has not always been so extreme on abortion. The party, which prides itself in fighting for the vulnerable, once welcomed strong pro-life politicians who fought for the rights of unborn babies. Recently, however, it abandoned that fight and aligned itself with the abortion industry instead.

But a vocal contingent within the party continues to urge Democrat leaders to start fighting for the rights of unborn babies again.

Last summer, Democrats for Life Director Kristen Day urged the party to “open the big tent” to pro-life Democrats. Her group said the party is potentially losing voters because it has shut out pro-life Democrats. The pro-life group estimates that more than 23 million Democrats in the U.S. are pro-life.

Day  told LifeNews that she appreciates the support several Democrats have voiced for Mello.
Despite abortion activists’ criticism, Sanders said Thursday he would continue campaigning for Mello.

“The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That’s what politics is about,” Sanders told NPR.

Day said she felt encouraged by the statement.

“We hope this is the beginning of a new Democratic Party that respects and includes ALL democrats,” she said.

“Democratic strategists should take note on the importance of messaging to the district and allowing candidates to remain true to their beliefs,” she continued. “NARAL’s radical abortion messaging and position does not win in the heartland. The abortion litmus test has proven to be a failure and we, as a Party, should stop inflicting damage on ourselves by forcing or coercing Democrats to vote against the views of their constituents on the issue of abortion. Just look at the map to see the reality.”

In response to the Mello situation Thursday, Day posted a short message on Twitter, saying: “NARAL Trying to Stop DNC Support for Democrat Mayoral Candidate. This is why we lose. #openthebigtent”