Democrats for Life call for abortion moderation on the party platform

Democrats for LIFEDemocrats for Life want to change their party’s platform regarding human abortion. More than one-hundred Democratic politicians signed the letter below asking the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee to avoid pursuing the radical abortion policies touted by the by leftwing of their party. The effort was led by Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards. The letter and footnotes follow:

Friday, August 14, 2020

Members of the Platform Committee,

We are current and former elected Democrats from many states, representing millions of Americans. We are members of Congress, state legislators, and local officials. Like you, we are committed to the Democratic principles of equality, fairness, and democracy. We have committed our careers to advance Democratic ideals and policies. Many of us represent purple districts, where it is difficult to earn and retain elected office as a Democrat. One of us is a Democratic governor in a red state. We respect the pro-life leanings of our constituents.

We are united by three major concerns:

  1. We are concerned that many Democratic leaders support policies on abortion that are radically out of line with public opinion. ​Many Democratic leaders support abortion at any time, for any reason; this position is opposed by 79% of Americans.1 The 2016 Democratic Platform endorses taxpayer funding of abortion, opposed by a supermajority of the population.2 The same platform endorses taxpayer funding of abortion in developing countries, opposed by three-fourths of voters.3
  2. We are concerned that, due to this wide disparity, the Democratic Party is alienating voters​. In 389 out of 435 Congressional districts, a majority of voters support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks.4 When Democratic leaders support late-term abortion, they push many voters into the arms of the Republican Party. Many people holding pro-life views are single-issue voters.5
  3. Finally, we are concerned about the betrayal of Democratic Party values​. An extreme position on abortion rights violates our commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Polling consistently shows that one in three Democrats are pro-life.6 We must respect and include these 21 million Democrats.

We support reintroducing the conscience language from 2000 into the 2020 platform, which acknowledges that Americans have differing and deeply held views on abortion.7 We call upon the Democratic Party to avoid divisive policies, such as passing a law in Congress defining a right to abortion (“codifying Roe v. Wade) and introducing taxpayer-funded abortion (“repealing the Hyde Amendment”).

Fundamentally, we believe that every single state and county in this country deserves Democratic governance. We should not cede large swathes of the United States to the Republican Party. 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.

We respectfully submit that the Platform Committee considers these suggestions and opens the hearings to hear the voice of innumerable elected pro-life Democrats across the United States of America.

The Undersigned

1 21% believe that abortion should be available to a woman any time during her entire pregnancy (Marist Poll; January 2020; p. 3) 2 60% oppose using tax dollars to pay for a woman’s abortion (Marist Poll; January 2020; p. 8) 2)
3 76% oppose or strongly oppose using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries (Marist Poll; January 2020; p. 9)

4 ​CCES 2018; DFLA analysis
5 30% of pro-life voters will only vote for a candidate with their views, vs. only 19% of pro-choice voters (Gallup Polling; July 2020)
6 29% of Democratic voters identify as pro-life (Gallup Polling; 2019)
7 Suggested language: “We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party.”