Democrats' intraparty debate over whether to support candidates who are pro-life or moderate on abortion rages on, cornering establishment organizations and leaders into providing careful answers to questions from advocates on both sides of the argument.
Late last month, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján sparked outrage from progressives by claiming there was no "litmus test" for Democratic candidates on abortion. But in a statement to The Atlantic this week, DCCC spokesperson Meredith Kelly somewhat walked back her boss' comments. When asked whether her organization would cooperate with a nonprofit that advocates for pro-life Democrats, Kelly replied, "The DCCC has no interest in working with Democrats for Life of America."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Kelly's statement "contradicts" Luján. "It is further evidence that Democratic Party leaders are likely stringing pro-lifers along, using them for their votes without intending to back away from their extreme position on abortion," Dannenfelser declared in a press release.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez caught heat from his fellow progressives for meeting with the same group earlier this summer.
Dannenfelser believes party leaders who disown pro-life Democrats are out-of-touch with their own base. "One-third of rank-and-file Democrats consider themselves pro-life. An even greater number of Democrats support banning late-term abortion after twenty weeks and oppose taxpayer funding of abortion," she noted. "SBA List already has canvassers on the ground in Ohio and Florida, reaching out to low-turnout pro-life voters, including persuadable Democrats and Hispanics, educating them about the candidates' position on abortion."
At the conclusion of her statement, Dannenfelser warned to Democrats who close the party's gates to pro-life supporters. "Party leaders and vulnerable Democrat Senators up for re-election in 2018, take note: slamming the door in these voters' faces is how elections are lost," she cautioned.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.