FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2017 (703) 424-6663
AN ABORTION LITMUS TEST OR NOT?
NEED FOR A CLEAR MESSAGE FROM THE DCCC
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Did a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) really contradict DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan’s recent insistence that there would be no “abortion litmus test” for candidates seeking the committee’s support for 2018 U.S. House races? What else to make of this message to The Atlantic: “The DCCC has no interest in working with Democrats for Life of America, despite their attempts”? Well, which is it? A litmus test or not?
“We need clarification of what ‘opening the big tent’ really means,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America. “Saying we welcome pro-life candidates and then not supporting those candidates gets us nowhere in winning back the House. We may not agree on abortion, but if saving the Affordable Care Act, addressing climate change, advancing social justice, and promoting economic policies for the 99% matter, then supporting pro-life Democratic candidates can make all the difference.”
Pro-life Democrats have been crucial for advancing progressive policies in legislatures across the country – on issues such as the environment, workers’ rights, racial justice, health care, and a fair and moral economy. Democrats For Life of America was the ONLY pro-life group that supported passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), legislation that would not have passed without the support of pro-life Democrats in Congress.
“An extreme ‘abortion or bust’ strategy may work in California and New York,” Day said. “It may appeal to militant activists inside the Beltway, but it’s mostly a bust between the coasts. If our party continues to send mixed messages about inclusion for pro-life Democrats or takes a hard line against them, what should current sitting pro-life Democrats – such as Senators Donnelly, Casey, and Manchin and Representatives Lipinski, Cuellar, and Peterson, who have legitimate, thoughtful reasons to oppose abortion and have been elected by the people to represent them in Congress – expect?” asked Day. “Not to mention Governor John Bel Edwards – the only Democratic governor in the South, who was elected recently and is pro-life. Is someone on the DCCC staff suggesting that prominent, influential, current Democrats, representing the millions of Democrats who elected them as Democrats, change their position or leave their own longstanding Democratic Party?”
Here are the facts – and we have no choice but to face them. The Democratic Party has been bleeding out. The number of Democrats holding office nationwide is at its lowest point since the 1920s. Alienating its pro-life voters, supporters, candidates, and officeholders is one reason why. In 1978, Democrats held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House with 125 pro-life Democrats. Notice: As pro-life Democrats disappeared from Congress, so, too, did the Democratic Party’s majority.
“The reality is that Democrats need pro-life support to win, something that party leaders understand, even if someone on the DCCC staff cannot understand it,” said Day. “Democratic Party leaders, including Senators Schumer, Sanders, Warren, and Harris and Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer, and Ryan and, most recently, Governor Brown of California, all have insisted that opening the Democratic Party’s big tent to pro-life Democratic candidates and voters opens an opportunity to win back not only the House but the Senate and the White House, too.”
For the sake of our party and our country, let’s have a clear, unambiguous, and loud message, with no two ways about it: No abortion litmus test – the Democratic Party welcomes its pro-life supporters and candidates.