FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kristen Day
February 10, 2017 (703) 424-6663
Democratic Party Refuses Petition to Include Democrats
Who Want to Reduce Abortion
Washington, D.C. – Pro-life Democrats in Michigan asked a simple question of its leadership – include pro-life Democratsin the big tent of the party of diversity and inclusion. The answer was a stunning no. Pro-life Democrats focus on programs to support pregnant women, such as paid maternity leave, support for parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis, prenatal and postnatal care, affordable childcare, and other efforts to support pregnant women and new parents.
“Pro-life Democratsbelieve that our party has the best opportunity to reduce abortion in this country and ensure that no woman feels that abortion is her only choice,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America. “The language offered by our Michigan Democrats offers an opportunity to open the big tent and bring Democrats back to the party.”
The proposed language, approved by the Leelanau Democrats, states:
“We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength, and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.”
Former State Representative John O’Neill has been leading the effort, and he made the case before his local party. They recognized the importance of not alienating members of their own party. John then took the next step, taking the resolution to the Michigan Democratic Party. The Leelanau resolution was rejected by the Michigan Democratic Party’s Resolutions Committee, but O’Neill hopes to find a way to introduce it on the floor at the Michigan Democratic Party Spring State Convention at Cobo Hall in Detroit this Saturday, February 11, 2017.
“The Leelanau Democrats, most of whom are pro-choice, sent me to the state party with this inclusive language for Democratswho support the sanctity of life and 99 percent of the Democratic Party platform,” said O’Neill. “It’s disappointing, then, to witness the state Resolutions Committee reject out of hand this resolution that is entirely in keeping with the Democratic values of respect for personal conscience and diversity. How can a party succeed when it abandons its core values? We will not give up until we return the party to its roots.”
Pro-life Democrats are not asking the Michigan Democratic Party to change its stance on choice, but only to add language to welcome pro-life Democrats under the big tent. The Michigan Democratic Party has mirrored the national party’s downward trend. Nationally, Democrats have lost more than 1,000 state legislative seats, and the party is at its lowest numbers since the beginning of the 19th century. Michigan is one of 27 states in which Republicans control all three branches of state government.
“Democrats have little hope of reclaiming their majority status if they continue to exclude one-third of their membership,” said Jason Duncan, state contact for Michigan Democrats For Life. “Polls consistently show that one-third of Democrats are pro-life, and this stamp of disapproval and exclusion by our state party sends the wrong message to pro-life Democratic voters. Michigan is missing an opportunity to show what the "big tent" strategy looks like and set an example for state parties across the country.”
Millennials are more pro-life than any generation before them since Roe v. Wade, but they feel as if they are at a loss when it comes to finding a political party to support.
“As much as my peers and I love the values of egalitarianism and justice which the Democrats uphold, I can't help but notice the inconsistency of neglecting the human rights of prenatal children,” said Chrissy Healy, medical student and pro-life Democrat. “I know I could never violate my conscience by voting for a candidate who supports extremist pro-choice legislation even if I support the vast majority of his or herother positions. If room were made within the Democratic Party for people like meand the other pro-life people in my generation, I wouldn't hesitate to give it my full support.”
One in three Democrats are already pro-life, and most Americans in the middle support pro-life policies, such as the halting of federal funding for abortion. But the Democratic Party keeps rejecting its pro-life base in favor of extremist positions, further alienating Americans and risking the future of both the party and the country. Since the national party abandoned the 50 State Strategy that would have supported pro-life candidates, the Democratic Party has lost 912 state legislative seats and the control of 30 state legislative chambers, 69 U.S. House seats, 13 U.S. Senate seats, and 13 governorships.
"The Democratic Party is in deep trouble," said former Michigan State Rep. Joel Sheltrown. "We have one Democratic representative north of US 10, and if we continue to push away members of our own party, we will remain a minority party. People who are pro-life make sure they get to the polls and vote. We need those votes to win. And, right now, those pro-life Democratic voters are not supporting our party."