Democratic Party leader still not open to pro-life members
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The leader of the Democratic National Committee is sticking by his pro-abortion stance that pro-life members are not welcome in the party.
Leading pro-life Democrats met with DNC Chairman Tom Perez and other DNC staff on June 27 to talk about the pro-life issue and the condition of the Democratic Party. The pro-life Dems submitted a list of requests to the DNC seeking greater acceptance in the party, according to a report from Catholic News Service (CNS).
“We asked for a clear statement from the chairman stating that we are welcoming to pro-life Democrats, and we welcome them to vote their conscience on these issues, that we are not an abortion-only party,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America (DFLA).
Day attended the meeting along with DFLA board members and other pro-life Democratic politicians. DFLA had called the meeting after Perez’s extreme statement in April pledging to back only those Democratic candidates that 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 had said. “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 said, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
After the June 27 meeting with pro-life Dems, the DNC chair maintained the party’s status quo on abortion.
“Our party has always welcomed different opinions on several issues and Tom is committed to listening to all Democrats as we work to rebuild our party,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa told CNS. “Our party platform makes clear that Democrats trust women to make their own choices about their body and their health, and Tom stands by this.”
Perez’s April statement was in response to pro-abortion backlash over the DNC backing a local Democrat mayoral candidate with a previous pro-life track record.
Heath Mello lost the mayoral election in Omaha, Nebraska, in early May. Mello had said amid the backlash toward the end of the campaign that he was pro-life but wouldn’t vote that way in office.
“That was such a mistake at the end of the campaign,” said Day. “To have a pro-life Democrat, and for him to go in right at the end of the campaign and say, ‘I’m pro-life, but I’m not going to vote that way,’ that was a huge tactical error.”
Day said Heath’s last-minute switch was driven by the DNC.
“When a pro-life Democrat decides to run, the Democratic consultants come in and they tell you, ‘Well, you can’t run as a pro-life Democrat,’ and they urge you to change your position on life, like they did with Heath Mello,” she said.
“I feel that it was a first step and I think we have a lot of work to do, to continue to educate people,” Day told CNS. “I think a lot of Democrats are still in denial that we are in trouble (as a party), and we need to start recognizing that.”
Day gave specifics on the statistical devastation that the Democratic Party has experienced at all levels of government in the last several years.
“Our Democratic Party is in deep trouble, losing more than 1,000 legislative seats since 2008,” she said in a statement. “Telling one-third of Democrats that their support for life in the womb is inconsistent with Democratic values will not help rebuild our numbers.”
One of the examples brought up in the meeting with Perez was the 2016 Utah Senate race where pro-life Democrat Jonathan Swinton won the Democratic seat in the caucus.
The DNC, however, opted to back Misty Snow, another Democrat who supports abortion. Snow, a man, was also the first “transgender” Senate candidate from a major party. Snow went on to lose to incumbent Senator Mike Lee, a pro-life Republican who received 68 percent of the vote to Snow's 27 percent.
Talks remain ongoing between DFLA and the DNC.
“The chairman is meeting with us and we are continuing to talk to the DNC staff,” said Day. “We are continuing to work with them to try to find a way for pro-life Democrats to be participating members of the DNC and not have to hide their pro-life convictions.”
DFLA also has a campaign to “open the big tent” of the party.
“The abortion lobby has a stranglehold on the party, and it is costing the party seats,” the group initiative states. “We need to stop pressuring pro-life Democrats to change their position and stop discouraging them from running for office if they don’t.”