Pro-Life Democrats Call on Party to Moderate Stance on Abortion

Liberal protesters in front of the offices of Rep. Dan Lipinski / Getty Images
August 14, 2020

A Democratic pro-life group wrote a letter Friday to the Democratic Party asking it to moderate its position on abortion in advance of next week's Democratic National Convention.

The letter asks the party to acknowledge "that Americans have differing and deeply held views on abortion" and calls upon the party "to avoid divisive policies, such as passing a law in Congress defining a right to abortion ('codifying Roe v. Wade') and introducing taxpayer-funded abortion ('repealing the Hyde Amendment')."

The group writes that it does not want to capitulate to the Republican Party on the issue of abortion, arguing that pro-life Democrats are a vital part of the party. The letter asks the party to readopt language from the 2000 Democratic platform, which acknowledged a diversity of opinion on abortion within the party.

The letter is signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards (La.), Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.), who lost his primary to a pro-abortion candidate, and Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), who is facing an uphill battle to reelection in a deep-red district after winning his primary.

Fifty-seven Democratic state legislators also signed the letter. A total of 105 former and current Democratic politicians signed their names. The organization said more lawmakers wanted to sign onto the letter "but could not do so because they fear the influence of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America in the party."

Polling has found that two out of three Americans support some form of legalized abortion, although a majority of poll respondents do not support either total legalization or total prohibition of the procedure. Sixty percent of respondents indicated they support some form of restriction on abortion, while significantly fewer respondents expressed a completely pro-choice or pro-life position.

Both presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) have endorsed repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion. They have also said they will end the Mexico City policy, which prohibits federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion referrals. Biden has also promised to codify abortion rights into law as president.