DNC Chair Won't Address Whether There's Room in the Party for Pro-life Democrats

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 2:05 PM
DNC Chair Won't Address Whether There's Room in the Party for Pro-life Democrats

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez would not directly answer a question Sunday about whether there was still room in the Democratic Party for candidates who opposed abortion.

"Is there room for anti-abortion Democrats?" MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt asked Perez in reference to pro-life Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL), an incumbent facing a primary against pro-abortion Marie Newman.

"There's a very spirited debate in that particular race,” Perez replied, “and so one thing I've learned from watching presidential politics is that when the DNC gets involved in Democratic primaries—"

"But he's an incumbent," Hunt interjected.

"Well, again, one thing I've learned from primaries in the past, is that when the DNC gets involved in those races, then we sometimes get accused of trying to put the thumb on the scale," Perez responded. "That's one of those races where we will see what happens … We're building the infrastructure to ensure that whoever wins that race will end up being able to win in November."

Abortion advocacy groups such as NARAL are trying to unseat Lipinski over his pro-life stance.

"Time is up for Congressman Lipinski,” Ilyse Hogue president of NARAL said in a statement. “For too long, Dan Lipinski has ignored the needs of working families across Illinois, by pushing his fringe ideological agenda at the expense of women and families across the state.”

Perez has used stronger language in the past regarding pro-life Democrats, but received pushback from many in the party over his remarks.

Last year, he 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.”

Perez’s statement received pushback from many Democratic leaders, including Pelosi.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Hill in July that “there is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates.”