In her forthcoming book "What Happened," Hillary Clinton advises the Democratic Party not to support pro-life candidates, endorsing the use of abortion as a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls.
The hardline position Clinton stakes out in the book is popular among progressives, but controversial with more moderate Democrats who believe such extreme stances have alienated voters in states the failed candidate lost last November. This debate was inflamed in April after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., campaigned with pro-life mayoral candidate Heath Mello in Omaha, a dust-up Clinton alludes to in the passage in question.
"After the election," she writes, "Bernie suggested that Democrats should be open to nominating and supporting candidates who are anti-choice. Other topics, such as economic justice, are sacrosanct, but apparently women's health is not."
"I don't mean to criticize only Bernie here," Clinton continues, "a lot of progressives join him in thinking that reproductive rights are negotiable."
The former secretary of state also clarifies that she "[believes] there's room in our party for a wide range of personal views on abortion."
"I've been working for a quarter century with Democrats and Republicans alike to reduce the number of abortions, in part by expanding access to birth control and family planning, and we've made progress," Clinton contends. "And I picked as my running mate Tim Kaine, a Democrat personally opposed to abortion because of his Catholic faith but supportive of women's rights as a matter of law and policy."
"But," she concludes, "when personal views on abortion become public actions-- votes on legislation or judges or funding that erode women's rights-- that's a different matter."
"We have to remain a big tent, but a big tent is only as strong as the poles that hold it up. Reproductive rights is central to women's rights and women's health, and it's one of the most important tent poles we've got," Clinton adds, transitioning into a full-throated defense of her pro-choice values.
With Democrats struggling to recapture the trust of working class voters her candidacy played a part in alienating, Clinton is inflaming those debilitating wounds. Read our breakdown on the full chapter of Clinton's book exploring the role sexism played in her loss here.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.