Democrats Reverse Course on Pro-Life Candidate Ban; Need 'Broad Coalition,' Party Says

Pro-life and pro-choice activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington January 27, 2017.
Pro-life and pro-choice activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington January 27, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

The Democratic Party is willing to lend support to any pro-life candidates among their ranks, according to a party leader.

Earlier this year Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez stated that the party was withholding any support from candidates who did not consider themselves pro-choice.

However, U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, who serves as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, explained that there will be no "litmus test" on abortion.

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Thomas Perez, Secretary of the Department of Labor.
Thomas Perez, Secretary of the Department of Labor. | (Photo: Public Domain)

"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," said Luján, as reported Monday by The Hill.

"To pick up 24 [seats in Congress] and get to 218, that is the job. We'll need a broad coalition to get that done ... We are going to need all of that, we have to be a big family in order to win the House back."

In April, DNC Chair Perez stated that the Party would no longer support any Democratic candidates who were pro-life.

"Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," stated Perez, as reported by The Huffington Post. "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."

"At a time when women's rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country ... we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice."

The declaration garnered criticism from many within the party, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California.

In an interview reported by The Washington Post in May, the pro-choice Pelosi warned against alienating pro-life Democrats, noting that many of her family fit that classification.

"I grew up Nancy D'Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic," said Pelosi.

"Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I'm kicking them out of the Democratic Party?"

Luján's statements about welcoming pro-life candidates into the party has brought swift criticism from pro-choice groups, including Mitchell Stille of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy," stated Stille. "The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data."

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