Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said unequivocally last month that there was no room for pro-lifers in the party. Abortion rights, he said, are non-negotiable. He was trying to appease radical leftist groups who were upset that Sen. Bernie Sanders, representing the DNC, rallied with a Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska who had voted for pro-life legislation. That Democrat, Heath Mello, ended up losing his race amidst all the controversy.
Upon reflection, or perhaps just as a way to put out some of the flames his remarks caused, Perez is reconsidering who can fit in the Democratic Party. He is prepared to sit down with pro-life groups to at least appear like a unified party.
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez plans to meet with pro-life group Democrats for Life of America, amid an ongoing controversy within the party over whether and to what extent Democrats should pursue voters who oppose abortion. Democrats for Life advocates for pro-life Democrats and describes itself as “the pro-life voice of the Democratic Party.”
The meeting, which the DNC is setting up at the group’s request, is one of several conversations that Perez is having with pro-choice and pro-life Democrats, an aide to Perez confirmed to The Atlantic. As part of that outreach, Perez has spoken with Democratic elected officials and party leaders, and held a meeting earlier this month with women’s groups. The effort comes at a time when prominent Democrats are attempting to walk a fine line between affirming their party’s pro-choice platform and suggesting that there is room in the party for pro-life voters and candidates.
Nancy Pelosi also recently tried to extend a hand to pro-life Democrats following the uproar over Perez’s alienating comments. When asked if one can be a Democrat without subscribing to a pro-abortion agenda, she said “of course” – and she’s worked with plenty of people who hold those values.
Pelosi, Perez and other top Democrats, are trying to live up to their "unity tour." But, is it too late for pro-lifers to feel welcome in the Democratic Party?