Democrats for Life may have lost the battle, but they’re hoping to win the war, as they see the party’s future inextricably linked to how well it carves out room for individuals opposed to abortion.
Democratic Party leaders meeting in Orlando, Fla., on July 10 advanced a draft of its 2016 platform that for the first time in party history called for ending the ban on federal money used to fund abortion. The Democrats’ presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, also supports ending this restriction.
But Kristen Day, head of Democrats for Life of America, said her group will be inside the Wells Fargo Center when Democrats meet in Philadelphia from July 25 to 28 for their 2016 convention, pushing the message that Democrats can’t win with what she dubbed “extremism” on abortion.
Day says the party’s 2016 platform is ignoring the views of the majority of Americans. “We’re not calling for safe, legal and rare anymore,” Day said, referring to the stance of former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. “We’re just calling for legal for any reason. That’s a big change from where we were even a couple years ago.”
Day said she will urge party leaders to look beyond winning the White House.
“You can’t rely on the White House to pass things like paid leave, or Medicaid for all, or increased access to health care, or a minimum wage increase,” she told America, referring to other issues she believes are important to the pro-life cause. “You can’t pass any of those things when you have Republican majorities in the rest of the country.”
According to Day, substantial Democratic losses at the state and national levels following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which contained provisions to increase access to contraception, including methods church leaders consider abortifacients, suggest that the party ignores the pro-life vote at its peril. “We can’t pass more laws to support pregnant women and working families and protect this ‘whole life’ point of view if we’re in the minority,” she said. “In swing districts, the pro-life vote can make a difference.”
Day’s group plans to unveil a report during the convention that suggests that the party’s extreme views on abortion are out of touch with most of the U.S. electorate. Day claims membership in her organization is “in the thousands,” but she believes there are about 21 million Democrats who identify as pro-life.
Day hopes to use the convention “to find these pro-life Democrats because we really need more unity and a stronger voice in the party because so many pro-life Democrats are afraid to speak out.” Day said she wants to convince other Democrats who do not share their party’s views on the topic to “come out” of hiding.
“We’re pro-life Democrats, and we have a consistent ethic of support for the pregnant woman and the new mother and the young family across the board,” Day said. “We don’t think we should abandon the family when the child is born, and I think Democrats understand that.”