WINDSOR TERRACE — The Democratic Party has a pro-choice plank in the platform it adopted at its national convention in August. Still, now with less than two months to go before Election Day, one group is working to convince the party to change its tune.
Democrats for Life of America, a non-profit group that works to get pro-life candidates elected to public office, is fighting to convince the party to adopt a moderate abortion stance.
Although time is running out, Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, said the group is undaunted.
“We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to push right up to the election,” Day told Currents News in a recent interview. “We’re not letting our party be taken over by the abortion industry.”
To show that they are serious, the organization’s leaders took the extraordinary step of buying a full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday, Sept. 20, to implore the Democratic Party. The ad takes the form of a letter to Democratic Party leaders and contains a warning that the pro-choice stand is alienating voters.
“An extreme position on abortion rights violates our commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Polling conclusively shows that one in three Democrats is pro-life,” the ad reads in part.
The Democratic Party has long been friendly to the pro-choice movement. In this election cycle, the platform the party stands on — the platform Joe Biden is running on as he seeks to defeat Republican President Donald Trump — includes language calling for codifying Roe v. Wade and repealing the Hyde Amendment, the law prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.
“Like the majority of Americans, Democrats believe every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion. We oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to women’s reproductive health and rights, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment and protecting and codifying Roe v. Wade,” the platform reads in part.
Day contends that the Democratic Party’s current stand is “way out of touch with the majority of Americans” and risks alienating millions of voters.
“A lot of Catholic voters do not support abortion,” she told Currents News.
In August, as Democrats were preparing for their convention in Milwaukee, Democrats for Life released a letter to the platform committee signed by 100 current and former elected officials urging the party to steer away from “extreme” abortion policies in its platform.
The signers included nine members of Congress, 56 state representatives, and Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana. Twenty-one percent of the signers are women.
“In the US, pro-life Democrats have been a critical part of the coalition to expand voting rights, improve health care, and pass criminal justice reform. These accomplishments would not have been possible if the Democratic Party had in place a litmus test on abortion,” the letter reads.
Abortion rights remained in the platform, and there were no pro-life speakers at the convention.
Pro-life supporters held a rally in Milwaukee on the same night the convention began. “We will not be ignored. We will not be silenced. And we will make sure that our vote matters in the election cycle,” Day told Catholic News Agency.
Whether Democrats for Life can still sway party leaders at this point in the game is unclear. The signs do not point to any shift in policy.
In fact, when the Biden campaign recently announced the co-chairs of its “Catholics for Biden” outreach effort, the list included pro-choice officials like Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and several members of Congress, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
The outreach is part of an effort by Biden, who is Catholic, to win over Catholic voters.
The Democratic Party hasn’t always been hostile to the pro-life movement. Before the 2004 Democratic National Convention, party chairman Terry McAuliffe announced that pro-life speakers would not be excluded from the gathering
“Despite our differences on the issue of protecting the rights of the unborn, the fact that McAuliffe is not going to exclude pro-life speakers from addressing the Convention in Boston is encouraging,” Day said at the time.