It’s not called the Democratic sacrament for nothing, you know. After DNC chair Tom Perez declared abortion rights an issue of potential excommunication for Democrats after Bernie Sanders endorsed a pro-life Democrat from their Unity Tour. CNN’s Dana Bash asked Sen. Dick Durbin whether he agrees with Perez and the pro-abortion lobby represented by NARAL, or whether Democrats will back pro-life candidates in the future. Durbin replied that Democrats can think however they want … as long as they support abortion in public, that is:
BASH: I want to ask you before we go, as a Democratic leader, about some party politics. A debate broke out in your party this week when Bernie Sanders endorsed a candidate with a pro-life voting record for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Ilyse Hogue, who is the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the endorsement a betrayal of women.
Where do you come down on this debate? Are you with NARAL or Senator Sanders?
DURBIN: Listen, I am committed to women’s rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is. We have made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time. I know, within the ranks of the Democratic Party, there are those who see that differently on a personal basis. But when it comes to the policy position, I think we need to be clear and unequivocal. We need to be understanding of those who take a different position because of personal conscience.
But, as long as they are prepared to back the law, Roe vs. Wade, prepared to back women’s rights as we have defined them under the law, then I think they can be part of the party.
In other words, Democrats respect conscience rights, as long as it doesn’t mean that people contradict their position. Hmmm. That’s not exactly how conscience rights work, of course, but it’s also no surprise that Democrats don’t respect them at all. This is the same party that tried to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraception coverage as part of its health insurance, and which has in a number of ways pressured Catholic hospitals and clinics to perform abortions, too.
Nancy Pelosi told Chuck Todd that some of her best political friends are pro-life — or just not as enthusiastically pro-abortion as she is, anyway:
On Sunday’s edition of ‘Meet The Press,’ NBC’s Chuck Todd asks Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if there is a place in the Democratic Party for people who are pro-life. …
“Why don’t you interview Tom Perez, and not me!” she joked.
“Of course” you can be a pro-life Democrat, Pelosi said. “I’ve served in the House with many members who did not share my very positive, aggressive position on promoting a woman’s right to choose.”
Er … suuuuuure. Notice how quickly Pelosi changes the subject on Todd, saying that “values” unite the House Democratic caucus. Maybe, but it’s a lot easier to do with fewer people, and it has become very clear over the last several years that pro-life voters have no place within the Democratic Party. Just ask Bart Stupak.
Less than two years ago, America Magazine editor-in-chief Fr. Matt Malone asked Joe Biden the same question, and got a more specific answer. As it turns out, it was also a wrong answer:
Mr. Biden spoke at length about how he understands the tension between the demands of his faith and his position on abortion. When Fr. Matt Malone, S.J., America’s editor in chief, asked Mr. Biden if it was difficult taking positions on issues that put him at odds with U.S. Bishops, as in the case of abortion, he responded:
“It has been hard…I’m prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing [and] non-God-fearing people that have a different view,” Biden said. He continued, “Abortion is always wrong…But I’m not prepared to impose doctrine that I’m prepared to accept on the rest of [the country].” (See the exchange, which begins at the 13:30 mark, in the full interview embedded at the bottom of this post.)
Fr. Malone also asked Mr. Biden if there was room for people who are pro-life in the Democratic party. The Vice President responded resolutely: “Absolutely. Absolutely, positively. And that’s been my position for as long as I’ve been engaged.”
That may (or may not) have been Biden’s position, but it’s clearly no longer the position of the Democratic Party. And now there is no avoiding that reality for pro-life voters.