Democrat Party Chair Will Meet With Pro-Life Democrats After Saying There’s No Place for Them

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 16, 2017   |   5:41PM   |   Washington, DC

As debate about Democrats’ increasingly radical pro-abortion stance continues to swarm around the party, the Democratic National Committee chairman said this week that he plans to meet with a pro-life group to discuss the issue.

The Atlantic reports DNC Chair Tom Perez plans to meet with the pro-life group Democrats for Life of America after the group requested a meeting.

April brought the abortion issue to the forefront of the Democratic Party. The debate erupted after abortion activists criticized Perez, Sen. Bernie Sanders and others for supporting Heath Mello, a Nebraska mayoral candidate who has a pro-life voting record.

Perez responded to abortion activists by describing abortion as a “fundamental value” to the party and said every Democrat should support it. Some described Perez’s statements as a “litmus test” for future Democratic candidates.

While abortion activists praised the statement, some Democrats criticized Perez for basically closing the tent on candidates like Mello who have pro-life records. Mello recently lost the election.

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The party’s hardline support of abortion is alienating voters. Democrats for Life estimates more than 23 million Democrats in the U.S. are pro-life. Last year, Pew Research found that 28 percent of Democrats say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Marist/KofC polling also found that 23 percent of Democrats consider themselves pro-life.

According to The Atlantic, the pro-lifers and the DNC leaders hope to discuss these voters and the future of the party. They said the meeting has not been scheduled yet.

Here’s more from the report:

The meeting, which the DNC is setting up at the group’s request, is one of several conversations that Perez is having with pro-choice and pro-life Democrats, an aide to Perez confirmed to The Atlantic. As part of that outreach, Perez has spoken with Democratic elected officials and party leaders, and held a meeting earlier this month with women’s groups. The effort comes at a time when prominent Democrats are  attempting to walk a fine line between affirming their party’s pro-choice platform and suggesting that there is room in the party for pro-life voters and candidates.

Later, it continued:

Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life of America, said her organization hopes to make the case during the meeting with Perez that “there needs to be a stronger message from the top of the party on down that we want to include pro-life Democrats in the party.” She added: “that means the party needs to help find pro-life Democratic candidates to run for office, help raise money for them, and help them win.”

According to Day, Democrats for Life met with past DNC chairs, including Terry McAuliffe, Howard Dean, and Tim Kaine, adding that the group made attempts to meet with former chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but was not granted a meeting.

But even a meeting between party leaders and pro-life Democrats has some abortion activists outraged. Abortion activist Erin Matson described the meeting with Perez and Democrats for Life as “discouraging,” while NARAL and Planned Parenthood refused to comment.

“That’s what it looks like when Democrats, in Congress or at the DNC, indicate a willingness to support, or set aside time to meet with, anyone who doesn’t believe that women’s reproductive rights are fundamental human rights,” Matson told the news outlet.

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.

Many hope the controversy will lead the Democratic Party to begin welcoming pro-life candidates again. However, just last week, the DNC hired abortion activist Jess O’Connell of the pro-abortion group EMILY’S List as its new CEO, leading to new doubts about the party’s willingness to change.

The Democratic Party platform is extreme and out of touch with most Americans. It supports legalizing late-term abortions for any reason, and last year, the DNC adopted a platform calling for taxpayers to fund abortions. Both are widely unpopular positions among the American public.

In October in 2016, a Politico/Harvard University poll found that 36 percent of likely voters support taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent oppose it. These findings are consistent with previous polls from various groups.