The Democrat National Convention surprised many audiences by its silence on one particular issue, abortion. Despite the Party’s seemingly continued support for abortion policy, neither Planned Parenthood nor NARAL were invited to address the nation. For pro-life Democrats, that’s an encouraging development.
The Daily Citizen recently had the opportunity to interview Kristen Day, the Executive Director of Democrats for Life, who has been part of the pro-life movement within the Democrat party for years.
She said, “There wasn’t this big push on abortion, they were very quiet on the issue. It wasn’t the usual mainstage. It seemed very muted, possibly because we’ve been pushing that this is not a winning issue for the party and pro-life Democrats are more likely to stay home. This voting block is important, and they have to moderate on this issue if Joe Biden wants to win.”
The Democrats for Life is an organization of members who believe strongly in the sanctity of life at all stages, though oftentimes the party doesn’t agree.
“I think it’s more of the fact of, it’s so extreme right now,” Day said. “It was extreme in 2016 and a lot of pro-life Democrats did not vote for Hillary Clinton. I think Joe Biden has alienated even more, so there is a real risk of pro-lifers not coming out to support him simply because he hasn’t asked. He’s made no effort to outreach to pro-life Democrats, other than to say he supported the Hyde Amendment one day and then flip-flopped on it. That’s the most he’s said on the issue. It will be hard for him to come back and say life in the womb is worthy of protection, he can’t, given the platform and the fact that he has ignored us.
“His message is we don’t want you, and I don’t want your vote and I don’t need your vote.”
Some prominent Democrats have made this message quite clear, with Senator Bernie Sanders (though technically an Independent, he ran on the Democrat ticket) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg saying that there is no room for pro-life supporters in the Democrat Party.
This policy has been largely put into action, with pro-life Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski losing his primary battle against pro-abortion, NARAL- and party-backed Marie Newman. But this has actually encouraged more and more pro-life Democrats into action.
“When Pete Buttigieg said there was no room in the Democratic Party for pro-life Democrats, I think that was a moment that just exploded the pro-life Democrat movement. That combined with Dan Lipinski losing, we’ve had unprecedented growth. It’s hard for me to keep track of everything. We’re getting more money and more volunteers are coming in to help. People want to organize more state chapters and new candidates are coming in wanting an endorsement. We now have a new candidate recruitment committee. We’re building this broader and bigger community of support for sitting members,” Day said.
“It’s unfortunate that Dan Lipinski’s loss has led to this huge growth. I wish we had this sort of outreach and energy for him when he was facing Marie Newman. People are fed up, and tired of the party pushing and pushing us away and targeting our good people, like Dan. He could’ve caved, but he didn’t. He knew it was a risk, and he would lose his job if he stayed true to who he was, but he did. It has given people courage to come out and say, ‘I’m a pro-life Democrat and I don’t want to hide it anymore.’ He’s given a lot of people courage to come out and be brave.”
The party didn’t always take such a radical stance on abortion.
“Pro-life Democrats were okay when Bill and Hillary Clinton said, ‘Safe, legal and rare,’ and Hillary said, ‘When I said rare, I mean rare.’ That language was okay because we can all find common ground, we may disagree on whether abortion should be legal or illegal, but at least we can focus on making abortion rare,” Day explained.
Democrats for Life actually worked with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and he used language created by DFL about reducing abortion during one of his debates. But when Hillary became the party’s candidate, things suddenly changed.
“I don’t know what happened to her,” Day said. “She used to say ‘safe, legal and rare’ then she was just no limits. Kind of like the abortion model of New York state. Joe Biden has just pushed even further, which is so strange. When you look at mainstream Americans, they don’t support this extremism.”
Day believes that if Biden continues on this pro-abortion track, without any clarification on his proposed abortion policy besides removing the Hyde Amendment, he may see some pro-life Democrats abstaining from voting entirely
“The position Joe Biden has taken is very extreme, it’s a big mistake I feel,” Day said. “A good percentage of people won’t vote because of this extreme position. He’s made so little effort (to engage with pro-life party members).”
Though Democrats for Life had a booth at previous conventions, this year they were denied that opportunity. Though Father James Martin mentioned unborn children in his closing prayer, the party seems somewhat set in its pro-abortion ways, at least for now.
“(As a party) we’re discriminating against someone because they are unwanted. In the Democratic Party, that’s wrong. We want to always help the underdog.”
Day remains hopeful that this surge in pro-life Democrats will encourage the party to stand up and take notice.
“I was so excited to know that you could be a pro-life Democrat,” Day said of the early days of her career, and hopefully more party members will realize this as well.
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