ThinkProgress: Reproductive rights activists say the Democratic Party is throwing them under the bus
Repro rights are fundamental human rights. Any party that doesn't accept that doesn't represent all people.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said Monday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will not withhold funding from candidates who are anti-abortion rights, a move that is drawing the ire of reproductive justice and abortion activists.
“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján, the DCCC chairman, said in an interview with The Hill. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”
Other high-profile Democrats have taken similar stances on abortion. In April, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) campaigned for an anti-choice mayoral candidate in Nebraska and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez met with anti-abortion Democrats in May.
Candice Russell, a WeTestify abortion storytelling fellow with the National Network of Abortion Funds, said she felt betrayed by Luján’s comments Monday — especially because she said she distinctly remembers the party sending fundraising emails after the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court decision striking down abortion restrictions in Texas.
“You don’t get to ask me for money and turn around and spit in my face,” Russell said. “To think that abortion access isn’t inextricably tied to every single thing the Democratic Party says it stands for is foolish.”
In a statement to ThinkProgress, a DCCC spokesperson emphasized that the organization is “a political committee charged with winning House races, and not in the business of pushing or deciding policy.”
“The DCCC is working to beat House Republicans in an expanded battlefield in 2018, and we do prioritize finding candidates who are authentic, fit a wide variety of districts and connect with those voters,” DCCC Communications Director Meredith Kelly added.
As the the party tries to regain populist ground lost to President Donald Trump, leaders like Luján, Sanders, and Perez have framed abortion and other social issues as separate from economic issues.