Warren Won't Say Whether Pro-Life Dems Welcome in Party

November 20, 2019

During Wednesday's Democratic presidential primary debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) refused to say whether pro-life Democrats are welcome in the party.

Debate moderator Rachel Maddow asked Warren if there is room in the party for self-professed pro-lifers, such as the recently reelected Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards.

"I believe that abortion rights are human rights," Warren said. "I believe that they are also economic rights. And protecting the right of a woman to be able to make decisions about her own body is fundamentally what we do and what we stand for as a Democratic Party."

Maddow followed up and pressed Warren to give a specific answer.

"Senator Warren, I'm going to push you on this a little bit for a specific answer to the question. Governor John Bel Edwards in Louisiana is an anti-abortion governor who has signed abortion restrictions in Louisiana. Is there room for him in the Democratic Party with those politics?" Maddow asked.

"I have made clear what I think the Democratic Party stands for," Warren answered. "I'm not here to try to drive anyone out of this party. I'm not here to try to build fences. But I am here to say this is what I will fight for as president of the United States. The women of America can count on that."

The place of pro-lifers has provoked intense internal dispute within the Democratic Party. Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez declared in 2017 that support for abortion rights is "nonnegotiable," contradicting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who said just days before that "of course" the party has room for pro-lifers. Most recently, the issue flared again as the Democratic Attorneys General Association announced that it will only endorse candidates who publicly support "reproductive rights and access to abortion."