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 Casey2020 Democrats put spotlight on disabilities issues Why Congress needs to bring back tax deduction for worker expenses Biden cements spot as 2020 front-runner 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) ManchinSenate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats 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 DonnellyK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Obama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 MORE (D-Ind.).

North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes 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 KaineOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info MORE of Virginia, did not respond to The Hill's questions. 

Kaine is under consideration to become Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery 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.