Progressive groups urge Democrats to reject anti-abortion candidates

Progressive groups urge Democrats to reject anti-abortion candidates
© Francis Rivera

Leading progressive groups issued a "statement of principles" Wednesday urging the Democratic Party to embrace abortion rights and to reject "pro-life" Democratic candidates in 2018. 

The statement comes after Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) told The Hill the party wouldn't withhold financial support from Democratic candidates that oppose abortion rights. 

"Democrats will fail to retake power in 2018 if we allow ourselves to be forced into a false choice between a populist progressive agenda and reproductive justice," Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America (DFA), said in a statement. 
"Abortion rights are inextricably tied to the fight against economic and racial inequity, full stop, and until all leaders of our party fully understand that we're going to keep losing."
The statement of principles was signed by 11 groups, led by DFA and NARAL Pro-Choice America. It states that the party must field candidates who support abortion rights or lose elections.  

"As progressives, we know we cannot have a real conversation about economic security that does not include the ability to decide if, when, and how to raise a family; that being able to plan a pregnancy has a powerful effect on educational attainment, career trajectory, and chance to define our own destinies," the statement of principles reads.

"As progressives, we stand united in understanding that policies that limit access to abortion and force medically unnecessary procedures are oppressive to women, especially low-income women and women of color."

The question over whether Democrats should support anti-abortion candidates has become a hot topic this year, with Luján, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (N.Y.) arguing against litmus tests.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján told The Hill. “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.”

But Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said earlier this year every Democrat should support "a woman's right to make her own choice about her body and health."