As the Democratic National Committee prepares for its 2020 national convention scheduled for Aug. 17-20, they're being warned by the pro-life members in their ranks: Temper the radical abortion language in the party's platform — or it will cost us come November.
What's the history?
In July 2016, with Hillary Clinton as its nominee, the Democratic Party adopted its most extreme position on abortion to date. For the first time ever, the DNC officially called for federal taxpayer funding of abortions — and it upset a lot of the then 32% of Democrats who considered themselves pro-life.
In 1996, the party — under Bill Clinton, who twice vetoed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban — at least called for making abortion "less necessary" and "more rare."
They even declared that pro-life Democrats were welcome: "The Democratic Party is a party of inclusion. We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party."
What's the warning?
Now pro-life Democrats are warning their party to take a more temperate stance on abortion or the party will alienate religious voters, the Associated Press first reported.
Inspired by the Christian faith, we note that the Bible calls on us to speak up in favor of those who do not have a voice (Proverbs 31:8-9; Matthew 25:45). We also note that life begins at fertilization (Psalm 22:10- 11; Galatians 1:15; Luke 1:41; Psalm 139:13-15; Jeremiah 1:5). Finally, we note that abortion takes the life of the innocent, which is against Scripture (Exodus 20:13; 2 Kings 17:17; Deuteronomy 5:17; Revelation 22:15; Psalm 106:38; Proverbs 6:17).
Informed by human reason, we recall that 95% of biologists affirm the biological view that life begins at fertilization. Likewise, we recall the opinion of leading scholars, who have rejected Roe v. Wade as "bad constitutional law."
We recall that denying personhood to the pre-born child has disturbing parallels to Dred Scott vs. Sandford. Sadly, the US is just one of seven countries, alongside North Korea, to allow the horrific practice of elective late-term abortion after 20 weeks.
The letter also asked the party to stop having a pro-abortion litmus test for Democratic politicians.
"We call upon you to recognize the inviolable human dignity of the child, before and after birth," Democrats for Life wrote. "We urge you to reject a litmus test on pro-life people of faith seeking office in the Democratic Party."
"Crucially, we urge you to end the explicit support in your platform for abortion extremism, such as taxpayer-funded abortion in America and overseas, opposed by 60% and 76% of voters," they added.
The letter cited a Marist Poll from January that found 60% of voters oppose using taxes to pay for Americans' abortions, and 76% of voters oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries. The poll also revealed that only 21% of Americans are OK with allowing elective abortion on demand at any time during an entire pregnancy.
"79% of voters oppose elective abortion on demand, including, but not limited to, many people of faith," the letter concluded. "They deserve a home in the Democratic Party."
The AP noted that the signatories included longtime Tennessee state Rep. John DeBerry, who in April was scratched from the Democratic primary ballot in part because of his votes against the DNC's position on abortion, and the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, who heads the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and served on former President Barack Obama's faith-based advisory council.
Democrats for Life Executive Director Kristen Day told the AP that the group's work this year will be "a much bigger effort" than their failed attempts to sway party leadership in 2016. More from the AP:
Day also warned that the addition of another position [presumptive Democratic nominee Joe] Biden has backed -- codification of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling -- would alienate anti-abortion religious voters.
Biden is “a little bit ahead" of where Hillary Clinton was in 2016 in terms of faith-based voter outreach, Day said, but the prospect that the Democratic platform would back codification of Roe “would just massively damage relationships with religious voters who don't necessarily want to see that."
Day said that "it's hugely important for the campaign and Vice President Biden to understand" just how important the upcoming DNC vote on the abortion language for the platform truly is for religious pro-life Democrats.
"It shouldn't be taken for granted," she warned.