With abortion activists demanding Democrats’ allegiance to abortion on demand and top Democratic Party donors refusing to support pro-life candidates, many Democratic leaders fear the party is alienating all but the most extreme pro-abortion voters.
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, wrote a column at The Hill this week to urge the party to drop its pro-abortion “litmus test” and allow politicians to vote their conscience on a late-term abortion ban currently before the Senate.
The Democratic Party prides itself in fighting for the vulnerable and once welcomed strong pro-life politicians who fought for the rights of unborn babies. In the past few years, however, it has adopted an increasingly radical platform on abortion, calling for abortion on demand up until birth and taxpayer funding of abortion. Its candidates also have been losing a lot of elections.
But some leaders do not seem to see the connection. Earlier this year, DNC Chair Tom Perez said abortion is a “fundamental value” to the party and every Democrat should support it. Some described Perez’s statements as a “litmus test” for future Democratic candidates.
His comments prompted a strong backlash from many other Democrats, but abortion activists defended the position by trying to claim that Democratic politicians can be personally pro-life, but they must still support abortion in public policy if they want to be Democrats.
Day attacked the false notion in her column.
“The current Party philosophy is you can be a pro-life Democrat, but you cannot vote that way. This type of abortion litmus test is no better than telling pro-lifers they do not belong at all,” she wrote.
She said more Democrats probably would vote for common-sense bills like the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, but they are afraid of backlash from their party. Only three House Democrats supported the pro-life legislation earlier this week.
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For someone who is pro-life, it makes no sense to value one’s own child but not one’s neighbor’s child or the child of a poor single mother across town. It makes no sense to abhor violence against some unborn children but to look the other way when the lives of other children are extinguished.
Is someone a good neighbor if she keeps her own kids safe from cars but says nothing as a neighbor’s child recklessly darts in and out of a busy street? Is someone really a progressive if he keeps his own kids safe from abusing drugs but is wholly indifferent to an opioid crisis that destroys more and more lives? Is someone a good person if she or he would never own a slave, but refuses to impose that moral conviction on others who exploit people through the trafficking of human beings?
She urged the party to allow Democrats in the U.S. Senate to vote their conscience on the unborn pain bill, which has strong public support.
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.
Polls also indicate strong public opposition to late-term abortions. The U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows abortions for any reason after unborn babies are viable. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would change that by prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. Twenty weeks also is very close to the point of viability.