Demo­crat says is­sue not ‘lit­mus test’ for party

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

The chair­man of the House Democrats’ cam­paign arm is in hot wa­ter with pro-choice ad­vo­cates for say­ing Demo­cratic can­di­dates for of­fice do not have to sup­port abor­tion rights.

In an in­ter­view with The Hill pub­lished on Mon­day, Rep. Ben Ray Lu­jan of New Mex­ico said abor­tion is not a “lit­mus test” for af­fil­i­a­tion with the party.

“There is not a lit­mus test for Demo­cratic can­di­dates,” said Mr. Lu­jan, who is chair­man of the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee. “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.”

He said Democrats need a “broad coali­tion” to pick up the 24 seats re­quired to take back the House in 2018.

The re­mark irked rank-and-file Democrats and pro-choice ac­tivists alike.

Howard Dean, who headed the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee from 2005 to 2009, de­nounced the cam­paign com­mit­tee’s stance in a tweet on Mon­day.

“I’m afraid I’ll be with hold­ing sup­port for the DCCC if this is true,” Mr. Dean said.

Laura Moser, a Demo­cratic can­di­date for Congress in Texas’ 7th District, said “women’s rights are no more ne­go­tiable to Democrats than racial equal­ity or LGBT rights.”

Renee Bracey Smith, a board mem­ber at NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica, called out Mr. Lu­jan by name.

“I had an abor­tion. I’d love to chat with you about why my health­care ac­cess is up for de­bate to win elec­tions,” Ms. Sher­man tweeted. “Let’s talk.”

“What bet­ter strat­egy than to be­tray their base and reaf­firm that women’s ba­sic rights are ne­go­tiable and dis­pos­able,” chimed in prom­i­nent pro­gres­sive au­thor Jill Filipovic.

How much weight to give abor­tion has been a ma­jor source of con­tention among Democrats in the wake of the gen­eral elec­tion.

The party en­dorsed its most rad­i­cal stance on abor­tion in 2016, ad­ding to its plat­form for the first time a com­mit­ment to re­peal­ing the Hyde Amend­ment, which bars tax­payer fund­ing for abor­tion.

But some in the party have blamed its losses, in­clud­ing dwin­dling rep­re­sen­ta­tion in state leg­is­la­tures and gov­er­nor’s man­sions, on mak­ing so­cial rather than eco­nomic is­sues para­mount.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.