The Democratic Party is ignoring 21 million Democrats – not to mention a majority of Americans – by championing one particular issue: abortion.
According to pro-life leaders, the party’s support of the “greatest human-rights abuse of our time” alienates their own contituents. On August 18, Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) hosted the National Pro-Life Democratic Caucus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Pro-life leaders and Democratic politicians, from former Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski to Louisiana State Senator Katrina Jackson, spoke at the event. Americans wouldn’t know about it from major media outlets, however.
According to their own search bars, outlets including ABC, CBS, and NBC didn’t mention DFLA in their online DNC coverage.
Many of the event speakers were also sponsors, including pro-life groups Live Action, Rehumanize International, Pro-Life San Francisco, National Men for Life, Pro-Black Pro-Life, and Americans United for Life.
DFLA board director Terrisa Bukovinac opened the event that called on Democratic leaders to “abandon their abortion extremism.”
While the “majority of Democrats want to see abortion regulated, restricted, and taxpayer funding free,” she said, “our party has gone in the complete opposite direction.”
This year was different than years past, she highlighted, because it was the “first year that the pro-life caucus has not been officially recognized” by the DNC.
As the executive director of DFLA, Kristen Day added that the DNC’s decision dismissed the 21 million pro-life Democrats in the United States.
“Joe Biden doesn’t think he needs your vote,” Day said of the Democratic presidential nominee. And, furthermore, “he thinks advocating for taxpayer funding of abortion is a winning issue.”
As it stands now, the platform insists on “access to high-quality reproductive health care services,” including “safe and legal abortion.”
To accomplish this, the platform promises, among other things, to repeal the Title X domestic gag rule and restore federal funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood. It also aims to codify the “right to reproductive freedom” and repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal Medicaid funding from going towards abortion.
There was still hope, according to former Illinois congressman Dan Lipinski, who spoke to attendees remotely from Washington, D.C.
Referring to his loss in Congress earlier this year, he said, “I’m hoping that this doesn’t deflate Democrats for Life but really brings forth a new energy.”
The Democratic party needs pro-lifers, he urged.
“There are so many people who through my years in Congress, in my district, would come up to me and tell me, ‘I used to be a Democrat, but I can’t because of the life issue,’” he remembered.
The party platform and “abortion extremism,” he said, is “out of step with Democrats.”
The Hyde Amendment is supported by Democrats, he said, and the 20-week abortion ban, is “supported by a majority in 389 out of 435 congressional districts.” A Knights of Coloumbus Marist poll released earlier this year found that 60% of Americans oppose using tax dollars for abortion, including 35% of Democrats.
Likewise, Louisiana state senator Katrina Jackson called it “paramount” that “this party include us in the party platform.”
“This is the thing, Democratic party,” she said. “Constituents are not cookie cutter. We’re not all going to ever get to the table and believe the same thing. But what we are saying, what you do know, is that there is a large amount of Democrats who are pro-life.”
“It’s already problematic that we are literally just ignored,” she said. She pointed to Lipinski as a “great loss to Congress.”
“If you don’t see the problem with letting go of good leaders because of their pro-life stance,” she warned, “then you’re not going to see the problem with becoming the serious minority party in the United States.”
“Am I to be excluded?” she asked at one point. “Because I believe black lives matter in the womb?”
According to Americans United for Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster, abortion is an issue that Americans “already agree on a lot.” She pointed to Gallup, which found that a majority of Americans “believe that abortion should be legal in no or very limited circumstances.”
According to a survey by her organization, in partnership with YouGov, a majority also “oppose those late-term abortions,” with nearly 80% of Americans rejecting third-trimester abortion.
To support her claims, she pointed to a recent study by the University of Notre Dame that found, among other things, that “ordinary Americans do not see abortion as a desirable good.” Still, she said, the “Democratic party platform calls for worldwide elective abortion on demand, federally funded.”
Live Action External Affairs Director Alison Centofante urged that “abortion is not a partisan issue.”
“Every Republican, Democrat, Independent, can and should join this mission in ending the greatest human-rights abuse of our time,” she stressed.
Other speakers included Cherilyn Holloway of Pro-Black Pro-Life, Tori Petersen of Students for Life, TJ Burgess of National Men for Life, and Rehumanize International’s Herb Geraghty and Krista Corbello.
While the media might not cover it, the Democratic Party is pushing away pro-life constituents – millions of potential voters.