Democrats appear to be tightening the noose around their all-but-extinct pro-life minority, as evidenced by some remarks from the new party chair. But do the remarks really change anything about how the party treats advocates of the preborn?
Campaigning on a post-election “Unity Tour” with former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and party vice chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) for Democrat mayoral candidate Heath Mello in Nebraska, DNC chair Tom Perez has now sparked something of a national discussion about the future of pro-lifers in the party.
According to the Huffington Post, Perez made a statement the preceding Friday in which he pledged to support only party candidates who support abortion:
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
What sparked the controversy? The realization that years before, Mello had (gasp!) supported a bill that required informing an abortion-seeking woman of where she could obtain an ultrasound of her child before making the decision to end his or her life. In response, a Monday story at The Nation outlines, the DNC “threw [Mello] under the bus.”
The HuffPo story continues to outline how Perez, who initially supported the DNC’s support of Mello’s bid, effectively scolded the candidate ex post facto, saying that he “fundamentally disagree[s]” with the mayoral hopeful’s views and that “every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same, because every woman should be able to make her own health choices. Period.”
The assertions were later rebutted by House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” who said that “of course” there’s room in the party for pro-lifers.
“I have served many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive – my family would say aggressive – position on promoting a woman’s right to choose,” she said.
Responding to some of Perez’s following statements on Twitter, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., responded in typically witty fashion:
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) April 23, 2017
Nancy Pelosi may say what she likes about the party’s welcome for pro-lifers. But while some Democrats may still espouse the view that a preborn child is indeed a human person with a fundamental right to life worth protecting, in all but a few notable cases, this belief is forced behind the fig leaf argument of “personally opposed” for all practical political purposes.
“In every way, the Democratic Party today stands unified not only against legal restrictions on abortion, but for government subsidies of abortion,” writes Dan McLaughlin at NRO. “The fiction that anyone can vote Democrat today without embracing abortion as an affirmative good is falling to tatters.”
Indeed, the wiggle room for abortion dissenters in the Party of Jefferson began closing decades ago, as noted by a 2016 story at Catholic News service.
“I hear more people say, ‘I didn’t leave my party, my party left me,’” Democrats for Life executive director Kirsten Day told the outlet. “That is a common phrase I hear over and over again, or ‘I’ll come back if the party’s pro-life again.’”
After all, if the case for life is indeed that life begins at conception and is worth protection, the idea that “personally opposed” to this grave injustice means anything in the public square is little more than a tattered fig leaf one can use to cover naked inconsistency with the party that adopted the most pro-abortion platform in its history last year. The 2016 document is a marked difference from where the party was even 20 years ago, when the platform that re-elected Bill Clinton affirmed the party’s appreciation for “the individual conscience of every American on this difficult issue,” as noted at The Federalist.
The only news here is that the Democrat party has learned no lesson from the 2016 national election – in which abortion was a driving issue behind its loss – and has continued along the trajectory set long ago. It should be completely unsurprising that the DNC is now telling pro-lifers to “drop dead,” as the headline of McLaughlin’s post reads; after all, they’ve been telling them to shut up and get out of the way for quite some time.