Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Hill Monday that “there is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” following some discussion of an abortion litmus test after DNC Chair Tom Perez said in April that every Democrat should support abortion.
“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,” Luján explained.
“To pick up 24 [seats] and get to 218, that is the job. We’ll need a broad coalition to get that done,” Luján added. “We are going to need all of that, we have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”
Perez had said in a statement that “every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
He received pushback from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Liz Warren (D-MA), and other top Democrats who argued that the party should be open to those who disagree on the abortion issue.
Strangely enough, even Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards commented on the Perez controversy in May that she didn’t think it was difficult to be a pro-life Democrat adding “abortion is one of these issues that it is – I think shouldn't be politicized.”
A DNC aide later told The Hill that Perez doesn’t think there should be an abortion litmus test. Perez met with the pro-life group Democrats for Life in June.
Following the meeting, however, a DNC spokesman seemed to double down on Perez’s initial statement telling Catholic News Service, "our party has always welcomed different opinions on several issues and Tom (Perez) is committed to listening to all Democrats as we work to rebuild our party. 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."
According to a January Marist poll, 59 percent of Americans consider abortion to be morally wrong, including 40 percent of Democrats.
Democrats may be realizing the need for some flexibility on abortion, as any mention of the abortion issue was conspicuously absent from the Democrats’ “Better Deal” economic plan, which they unveiled last Monday.
“Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy,” Mitchell Stille, who oversees campaigns for NARAL Pro-Choice America told The Hill. “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.”
Time will tell to what extent the Democratic party is open to pro-life candidates and if adopting that strategy will help them win back the 24 seats they need in the House to recapture control.
The idea certainly did not go over well with some Democrats, as evidenced by the reaction of many liberal feminists on Twitter, who were not pleased by Luján's remarks.
What better strategy than to betray their base and reaffirm that women's basic rights are negotiable and disposable. Good luck, boys. https://t.co/xRYri4tISS— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) July 31, 2017
In other words, Democrats want women to vote for them but don't want to protect their rights. https://t.co/VivNypYltn— Lily Herman (@lkherman) July 31, 2017
for too long the GOP has had a strangle-hold on treating women like worthless baby vessels https://t.co/R4TeChDcSx— andrea grimes (@andreagrimes) July 31, 2017