DNC Chair Shuns Pro-Life Democrats as Supreme Court Reconsiders Roe

Over a quarter of Democrats nationwide oppose abortion

December 1, 2021

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee won't meet with pro-life Democrats as the Supreme Court considers whether to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Democrats for Life of America told the Washington Free Beacon it has requested meetings with DNC chairman Jaime Harrison more than a dozen times since March but has yet to receive a response. The group has never been denied a meeting with a DNC chair in the two decades since its founding. These meetings consist of discussions with local pro-life legislators on how to win elections across the country.

This DNC's shift comes as Democrats grow increasingly radical on abortion. House Democrats in September passed a bill that would codify Roe and overturn pro-life laws across the country, which was opposed by a single member of the party, Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas). In July, House Democrats passed a spending bill that repealed the Hyde amendment, which prevents federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortion. Neither is expected to pass in the Senate due to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (W. Va.), the Senate's lone pro-life Democrat.

Kristen Day, Democrats for Life's executive director, said that after multiple followups she secured a Zoom meeting with DNC deputy director Roger Lau. Lau told her he would work on a meeting with Harrison but never reached back. Day said the group's meetings with recently elected DNC chairs help keep the party from adopting too-extreme positions on abortion that cost Democrats elections in moderate and red districts.

"Local legislators have a good perspective on how to win in these areas," she told the Free Beacon. Harrison "is unwilling to listen, not even have a conversation. It's pretty crazy."

Democrats for Life on Tuesday held a rally outside DNC headquarters to demand a meeting with Harrison. Kim Duffy, director of operations at the DNC, walked outside to speak with the group and said she would look into a potential meeting in the future. The DNC did not respond to a request for comment.

More than one in four Democrats identity as pro-life, according to Gallup. Less than half of Democrats believe that abortion past the first trimester should be legal.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which centers on Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. The justices could chip away or overturn Roe in their ruling. Some Democrats have issued dire warnings about the case, with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) saying there could be a "revolution" if the Court overturns Roe.

Former representative Dan Lipinski (Ill.), a pro-life Democrat, in 2020 lost his primary after abortion groups spent millions against his campaign. Mayra Rodríguez, a former Planned Parenthood director turned whistleblower who spoke at the pro-life rally, said the growing influence of the abortion lobby is a leading factor in the Democratic Party's radical turn on the issue.

"As an employee, I knew that if a candidate didn't actually protect and work for Planned Parenthood, they would have no chance in the Democratic Party," Rodríguez told the Free Beacon.

Lipinski isn't the only Democrat whose campaign was targeted because of his pro-life views. Aaron Oliver, a local candidate in New Jersey, weeks before the election lost his endorsement from a top progressive group in his district when the group learned of his pro-life views. His campaign was unsuccessful.

Oliver said his party's extreme approach to abortion played a role in its underperformance in this November's elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

"We want the purging [of pro-life Democrats] to stop," Oliver told the Free Beacon. "We saw the effects this past election—it's hurting us politically."