Anti-abortion Democrats fire back
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Anti-abortion Democrats are firing back at members of their party’s platform committee for supporting language that would call for repealing a law preventing the use of federal funds for abortion.

The language inserted in the Reproductive Health section of the Democratic Party’s draft platform for the first time calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a pillar of the anti-abortion-rights movement.

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Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyCongress should build upon the ABLE Act, giving more Americans with disabilities access to financial tools Senate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds MORE Jr., a Democrat from Pennsylvania who opposes abortion, was concerned enough about the change to write a letter to the platform committee urging members to reconsider.

“This is a consensus-based policy that has, for many years, prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortion,” Casey wrote in a letter sent Friday to the platform committee and obtained by The Hill. 

He said the Hyde Amendment recognizes “that many Americans remain morally opposed to abortion, and do not wish to see their tax dollars go to pay for abortion.”

The Hyde Amendment bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions for Medicaid recipients except in cases of rape, incest or when pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. 

Another anti-abortion Democrat, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Morrisey accuses Manchin of 'lying' to Trump, attacks ‘liberal’ record MORE (W.Va.), has also criticized the proposed change.

“That's crazy,” Manchin told the Weekly Standard. “It's something that I know most of the Democrats in West Virginia and most West Virginians would not agree with. I don't either.”

The Hyde Amendment is attached annually to spending bills, and it has received bipartisan support since 1976 despite vocal opposition from a growing number of Democrats who say the law punishes poor women who want to exercise their right to have an abortion.

Representatives for two other prominent anti-abortion Democratic senators confirmed to The Hill on Monday that they were opposed to their party platform's proposal to repeal the Hyde Amendment. 

“Senator Donnelly has long supported and continues to support the Hyde Amendment, and as a pro-life Senator believes all life is sacred,” said Sarah Rothschild, spokeswoman for Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Fed chief lays out risks of trade war Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee MORE (D-Ind.).

North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Bipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate MORE is another Democrat who disagrees with the proposed platform language.

“Senator Heitkamp has always been someone who puts the priorities of North Dakotans before any sort of political platform. She has long said she believes reproductive decisions should be left to a woman, her family, and her doctor,” said a spokeswoman. 

“She also supports the Hyde amendment and a state’s right to mandate parental consent for minors or restrict partial birth abortions, except when medically necessary to protect the life of the woman.”

The office of another anti-abortion Democratic senator, Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Election Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race Green Day's 'American Idiot' climbs UK charts ahead of Trump visit MORE of Virginia, did not respond to The Hill's questions. 

Kaine is under consideration to become Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE's vice presidential pick, and some within the party view his personal opposition to abortion as a barrier to that.

Earlier on Monday, the Susan B. Anthony List, a socially conservative group, issued a statement challenging anti-abortion Democrats to oppose the Hyde-related language in the platform. 

The group's president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, will give a speech at Washington's National Press Club on Wednesday which will include an attack on “Democrat abortion extremism.”

“The 2016 platform is dramatically out of step with the position previously taken by several Democratic senators, including Tim Kaine, currently being considered as Hillary Clinton's running mate,” Dannenfelser said.