If not for Edwards in Louisiana and Illinois congressman Dan Lipinski, the phrase “pro-life Democrat” might as well not exist, at least when speaking of politicians. And pro-abortion-rights politicians like those competing for the Democratic presidential nomination haven’t needed to advocate litmus tests in order to bring that about. If anything, those politicians have taken the positions they do because of external pressure from progressive activists and abortion-rights groups that fund the Democratic party and campaign on its behalf.
Consider what happened last month after Hawaii representative and Democratic hopeful Tulsi Gabbard repeated the once-common phrase that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” This remark spawned a number of think pieces about how she was harkening back to a bygone era of the Democratic party, and a number of prominent abortion-rights activists insisted that using the word “rare” is stigmatizing to women who choose to have an abortion.
In terms of policy, too, the Democratic party has abandoned any notion of a gray area, including the idea that both parties can agree on reducing the demand for abortion. Instead, the party’s official platform advocates disposing of the Hyde amendment so that the federal government can directly underwrite abortion procedures with taxpayer dollars. Even Joe Biden, who once vigorously supported Hyde and calls himself “personally pro-life,” has embraced the position that abortion should be publicly funded.