California Gov. Jerry Brown is decidedly pro-abortion, but even he thinks the Democratic Party should welcome pro-lifers.
His statements Sunday about pro-life Democrats added to the growing debate about whether the party should embrace pro-lifers again. Brown quickly faced harsh criticism from abortion activists for his comments.
“I’d say, look, even on the abortion issue, it wasn’t very long ago that a number of Catholic Democrats were opposed to abortion,” Brown told “Meet the Press” on NBC. “So the fact that somebody believes today what most people believed 50 years ago should not be the basis for their exclusion.
“In America, we’re not ideological, we’re not like a Marxist party in 1910,” Brown continued. ““We are big tent by the very definition.”
The California governor agreed with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Ben Ray Luján who last week said his pro-abortion party will not deny support to candidates who are pro-life. Other party leaders, including pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders, also have said their party should accept pro-life candidates because they tend to represent the views of rural Democrats.
Democratic Party leaders have been pushing an increasingly radical pro-abortion position and turning away voters. Last summer, the Democratic National Committee adopted a platform calling for full support of abortion for any reason up to birth and taxpayer funding of abortion – positions that most Americans oppose.
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But when their candidates suffered heavy losses last November, party leaders began questioning what had gone wrong. The party’s pro-abortion stance has been one focus. However, abortion activists are pushing desperately to ensure the party keeps serving the abortion industry.
On Monday, pro-abortion writer Kylie Cheung at Mediaite slammed Brown for “acceptance of intolerance” — meaning people who advocate for the rights of unborn babies.
“Apparently we’ve reached a point in our national politics wherein suggesting that women are human beings and their rights come before those of embryos and fetuses is an ‘elitist’ view — and that’s coming from the mouth of California’s governor,” Cheung wrote.
Cheung claimed that anyone who opposes abortion is hurting the physical, emotional and financial well-being of women across the country.
“Regardless of their party, electing Democrats who oppose abortion and family planning funding will worsen, not improve women’s lives,” Cheung continued.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also criticized Democrats who say the party should be more open to pro-life candidates.
“We do not have to make compromises on protecting women’s health to win back the House and Senate,” Gillibrand wrote on Twitter.
The debate about pro-life Democrats first flared up in the spring after abortion activists with NARAL criticized Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, Sen. Bernie Sanders and others for supporting Heath Mello, a Nebraska Democratic mayoral candidate who has a pro-life voting record.
Amid pressure from abortion activists, Perez described abortion as a “fundamental value” and said every Democrat should support it. But afterward, Perez faced pushback from members of his own party, and the debate about pro-life Democrats continues.
Abortion activists do not seem to realize just how radical and out of touch their position on abortion is with voters. Polls consistently show that most Americans do not want their tax dollars paying for abortions.
A Politico/Harvard University poll in October 2016 found that a majority of voters oppose taxpayer funding for abortions. Just 36 percent of likely voters supported the issue, while 58 percent opposed it. These findings are consistent with previous polls from various groups.
Most Americans also oppose most abortions and want laws to limit abortions or make them illegal. According to a recent Gallup poll, just 29 percent of Americans want unlimited abortion up to birth.
What’s more, the Democratic Party is hugely out of touch with its own constituents. 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 and 40 percent say abortion is morally wrong.