When Democrats passed the most extreme party platform at their convention last summer, the abortion lobby cheered. Their takeover of the party was near completion. The president of NARAL, one of the top abortion groups in the country, spoke about her abortion at the convention and met thunderous applause. No pro-life Democrats spoke at the convention, which included no semblance of anything that could be construed as anti-abortion. Abortion had become the litmus test for Democrats.
After all, the party nominated Hillary Clinton, whose radical views on abortion—that abortion should be legal for any reason, at any point in pregnancy—resonated with a paltry 17 percent of millennials. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion vendor, supported Clinton in the primary and after she won the nomination. They boasted they would spend $30 million and have a bigger ground team than the campaign did. They also gave 99 percent of their donations to Democrats, not surprisingly.
This issue blew up last month when failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaigned for a mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska who has a record of voting anti-abortion. That’s a candidate for mayor, not a member of Congress or U.S. senator. NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, the same woman who shouted her abortion at the Democratic convention, immediately released a scathing statement: “The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women—one of the most critical constituencies for the party—of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid.”
What did this candidate, Heath Mello, do to anger the abortion lobby? Rewire, a liberal outlet, enlightened readers: “Mello is a sponsor of the final version of a 20-week abortion ban approved by the governor in 2010, and cast anti-choice votes in favor of requiring physicians to be physically present for an abortion in order toimpede access to telemedicine abortion care, and a law banning insurance plans in the state from covering abortions. He has previously been endorsed by anti-choice group Nebraska Right to Life.”
Mello Can’t Be a Democrat Because He Cares About Pain
The funny thing about this whole story is what Democrats are so angry with Mello about. He sponsored a 20-week abortion ban, which is when babies have scientifically been able to feel pain. Banning abortion at 20 weeks is popular among Americans, with nearly six in ten saying they favor such laws, including 49 percent of Democrats. According to the same Marist poll, 61 percent of Americans, including 39 percent of Clinton supporters, oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
A different Marist poll released last summer showed 78 percent of Americans believe that abortion facilities should be held to the same medical and safety standards as other outpatient facilities. Even 74 percent of “pro-choicers” agreed with this statement. The Pew Research Center found that 28 percent of all Democrats believe abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances—a not insignificant number.
This demonstrates the abortion industry’s complete lack of awareness of not only the national consciousness on basic abortion restrictions but a complete cutoff from the reality of what even Democrats and self-identified pro-choicers believe. NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and all their buddies who are pushing taxpayer-funded abortion to the general masses are clueless that their views are competing against a culture that is not okay with abortion at any time in the pregnancy for any reason, much less paid for by taxpayers.
Sure, they will sometimes to try use fluffy words like “access to healthcare,” “women’s healthcare,” “abortion care,” or “reproductive rights” to disguise their true intention, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they have spent years trying to take over the Democratic Party and say goodbye to pro-life Democrats—and they are succeeding.
Creating the Litmus Test
New Democrat National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez drew a line in the sand: “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state. At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country, we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice” (emphasis added).
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) countered Perez on a Sunday show, answering “Of course” to journalist Chuck Todd’s question if one could be a member of the Democratic Party and still hold anti-abortion views. She has since reiterated her position, perhaps realizing that alienating voters on this issue will be the death of her party.
Not satisfied with Pelosi’s answer perhaps, Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), a high-ranking Democratic senator, went on CNN’s “State of the Union” and basically said one can be personally pro-life as a Democrat but must support pro-choice policies in public, which more or less lines up with what Perez said: “When it comes to the policy position, I think we need to be clear and unequivocal. 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.”
This is where the Democratic Party is about to crumble. Millennials are more politically liberal in general, except on abortion. While the majority will identify as “pro-choice,” 53 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most (rape/incest/life of the mother) circumstances. The Boston Globe noted the huge polling swing on abortion from 1991-2010 among the younger generation:
Young Americans — voters under 30 — were once the most gung-ho in support of unfettered legal abortion. In 1991, fully 36 percent believed abortion should be legal under any circumstances. But by 2010, 18-to-29-year-olds had become more pro-life than their parents — only 24 percent still wanted to keep abortion legal in all cases. More than any other age cohort, in fact, young adults are now the most likely to think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
It’s more than polling. In 2012, outgoing NARAL president Nancy Keenan noted something she called the “intensity gap” among young pro-choicers and young pro-lifers, saying that young pro-lifers were much more intense in their views than their pro-choice counterparts. She wasn’t wrong. Students for Life of America surpassed the 1,000-group mark last year, and works with more than 1,150 student pro-life groups on middle, high school, and college campuses. Planned Parenthood boasts about 275 campus groups. SFLA outnumbers Planned Parenthood campus groups about four to one.
Embracing Abortion Has Hurt Democrats Electorally
Late last year, the president of Indiana and Kentucky Planned Parenthood saw the writing on the wall: “The biggest challenge reproduction rights advocates face is the generational gap.” If the abortion industry is looking to the Democratic Party and the next generation to continue their dirty work, it’s not going to happen.
The abortion industry has taken over the Democratic Party and is at least partly to blame for their loss in November. And it’s tragic they have allowed that to happen. Democrats believe in many worthy policies meant to care for humanity, but if someone is not pro-abortion, they are being told they have no place in that party.
There were once a dozen or so pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives, but when they sold out their votes on Obamacare in 2009, giving former House speaker Pelosi the votes she needed to pass the bill, all but one of these representatives were defeated the next election cycle. Also following the election, a pro-choice millennial took to Paste Magazine, a left-leaning outlet, with a commentary headlined, “In Order to Compete Nationally, Democrats Must Embrace Pro-Life Candidates.”
Unlike many other issues about which my generation has become vastly more left-wing than our parents or grandparents, abortion remains stuck in an even divide. While support for LGBT preferences has skyrocketed, while notions of environmental protection and income inequality and war and peace and race have moved front and center, creating a burgeoning progressive majority in demographic terms, the needle on abortion has not moved at all. Fifty-three percent of 18- to 34-year-olds identify as pro-choice, fewer than in 2001. There is some evidence that young people are even less accepting of abortion than their parents.
There’s a fantasy bubbling up on the Left that Clinton’s defeat marks an opportunity for a major realignment of the Democratic Party, a shift away from corporate-friendly attitudes and policies towards a true progressive vision. Sure, count me in. But the idea that candidates like Elizabeth Warren or Zephyr Teachout are going to sweep to victory in rural parts of the country with working-class voters by criticizing Wall Street and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a fantasy of the first order.
While many pro-life millennials don’t align themselves with the ideals of the Republican Party, they also have no interest in aligning themselves with the pro-abortion Democratic Party. This demographic is politically up for grabs, especially on abortion. They passionately care about women harmed by the abortion industry and protecting preborn babies, seeing abortion as the greatest human rights injustice of our time.
They aren’t going to go where they feel ostracized and abandoned. But they aren’t going to go someplace where, in their view, everyone isn’t treated equally. No place feels like home for these pro-life millennials. But right now it’s Democrats who are insisting pro-lifers will never be welcome.