PROVIDENCE, June 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Democratic congressional candidate called for attendees at a progressivist conference to exercise “cultural power” by proudly touting past abortions, and urged post-abortive audience members to stand and be recognized.

Darcy Burner, who is running for a seat in the House of Representatives for Washington State’s first district, was the opening speaker for an afternoon plenary session of Netroots Nation, a convention for liberal activists held this past week in Providence, Rhode Island. The session was titled, “The War on Women,” and the theme of Burner’s talk was “Going on the Offense.”

“If you are a woman in this room, and statistically this is true for about one third of the women in this room, if you’re a woman in this room who has had an abortion and is willing to come out about it, please stand up,” Burner exhorted her listeners.

The number of women who stood, says conservative blogger Melissa Clouthier, who was in attendance, was “difficult to estimate,” but Clouthier describes them as “sprinkled throughout the audience.”

A tentative smattering of applause began to break out, but Burner interjected, directing the audience to hold their applause for a moment.

“Now, if you are willing to stand with every woman who is willing to come out about having had an abortion, please stand up,” she said, then added, to applause: “This is how we change the stories in people’s heads. Now you may applaud. We need to make it ok for women to come out about the choices that we’ve made.”

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The demonstration, according to Burner, was an instance of “cultural power,” one of the six “types of power” that she urged listeners to employ in pushing the feminist agenda.

Citing what she called another instance of “cultural power”, Burner attributed the shift in public opinion towards the celebration of homosexuality to the influence of the entertainment industry.

Flashing images of Kurt Hummel, a gay character in the television show Glee, lesbian entertainer Ellen Degeneres, and a screenshot from the notorious homosexual film “Brokeback Mountain,” Burner claimed that, because of television, “now everyone has a gay best friend.”

“We’ve changed the stories in people’s heads and that has changed what has become possible,” she said.

It is a model that she urged the feminist movement to adopt.

“We can exercise cultural power and have women come out of the closet, cast off the shame and the embarrassment that the right would like to put upon us, and stand up tall for the choices that we make,” she said.

Georgette Forney, co-founder of the post-abortive ministry Silent No More told LifeSiteNews, “Once again, women have been exploited to promote abortion.

“Unfortunately, that’s the story of how the other side has looked at abortion, is, how are the women serving their agenda as opposed to how should they be serving the women.”

Forney, who is herself post-abortive, added: “They like to claim that they care about the women, I don’t see any of them reaching out to those of us who have had abortions to talk about hurting afterwards.”