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 Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Democratic Party leader’s apparent reversal of a pro-abortion “litmus test” for Democratic candidates is receiving significant pushback from the left.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, who is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party would have to “be a big family” if it wants to regain control of the U.S. House and should not withhold financial backing from candidates opposed to abortion.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján said.

In a report from The Hill, Luján, currently in his second term as DCCC chairman, is said to be casting a wide net for Dem candidates. A map on the wall in his office displays dozens of Republican-held districts that he looks to flip back to the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

The Dems suffered significant losses at all levels in 2016 aside from President Trump’s historic victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The election has been viewed as a pro-life victory. International pro-life group The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) cited stats in a Marist poll in post-election analysis saying the hard-line pro-abortion position of candidates like Hillary Clinton does not resonate with the American public.

Among the issues that plagued the party during the campaign: Wikileaks exposure of emails showing the DNC favoring Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the primary, a longtime Clinton adviser found while working a CNN contributor to have leaked debate questions to the Clinton campaign, and ensuing DNC leadership upheavals.

The Democratic Party has struggled since then with the election results and finding its way forward.

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” Lujan stated.

“To pick up 24 [seats] and get to 218, that is the job. We’ll need a broad coalition to get that done,” he said. “We are going to need all of that, we have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”

Lujan’s statements have drawn predictable pro-abort ire.

“Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy,” said Mitchell Stille, NARAL national campaign director. “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.”

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue tweeted, “On DCCC rejecting repro rights as a fundamental value, @mitchellstille is dead-on: bad policy + bad politics.”

“Ignoring women’s fundamental freedoms and equality to win elections is both an ethically and politically bankrupt strategy,” continued Hogue.

Liberal comedienne Rosie O’Donnell tweeted, “WOMEN SHOULD FORM OUR OWN PARTY IF DEMS DO THIS #dontYOUdare”

NARAL board member Renee Sherman took Lujan to task on Twitter, stating, “I had an abortion. I’d love to chat with you about why my healthcare access is up for debate to win elections. Let’s talk.”

“I understand not everyone supports abortion,” she continued, “but you don’t have to put party money behind candidates who will take access away.”

Her tweets were part of a liberal blowback compilation in a Daily Caller report.

“You cannot support women and stand for equality when you oppose abortion rights,” liberal writer Swapna Krishna said. “Full stop, end of story.”

“Democrats Confirm That They’re Totally Cool With Selling Out Women in 2018” was the headline for a response piece in Splinter News, a left-leaning site previously named Fusion.

“I’m afraid I’ll be withholding support for the DCCC if this is true,” former Vermont Governor Howard Dean said. Dean’s name had been circulated for a time earlier this year as possible DNC chair during its leadership woes.

“Reducing the rights of those with childbearing capacity to a mere matter of opinion is utterly unconscionable,” said New Republic writer Rachel Cote. “The Democratic Party is in fact saying that there’s ‘no litmus test’ regarding their colleagues’ support of basic bodily autonomy. Terrible.”

Prominent liberal columnist Jill Filipovic said, “What better strategy than to betray their base and reaffirm that women’s basic rights are negotiable and disposable.” 

And liberal journalist Lauren Duca said, “This is a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic Party.”

Lujan’s comments on a big tent Democratic Party that allows for candidates representative of their districts conflict directly with those of Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, who back in April made the extreme statement that only those Democratic candidates that support abortion would receive party backing.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez 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.” 

Perez’s statement was an effort to salve pro-abort factions incensed by the fact the DNC had backed Heath Mello, Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska, with a previous pro-life voting record. The DNC's stance netted a response from the United States Conference of Bishops that said it was “very disturbing,” “intolerant,” and “extreme.”

Perez stuck by the pledge to only support pro-abortion candidates last month after meeting with pro-life Dems.

A DNC spokesperson said after the meeting the party welcomes different opinions and Perez was committed to listening to all Democrats while trying to rebuild the party. Still, “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.”