Missouri Dems strip measure that welcomed anti-abortion candidates

Missouri Dems strip measure that welcomed anti-abortion candidates

Missouri Democrats over the weekend reversed course and stripped out a provision in their party platform that was aimed at welcoming anti-abortion candidates in the party.

The Missouri Democrats' central committee voted unanimously on Saturday to remove the amendment, added in June, that was aimed at attracting anti-abortion candidates and replaced it instead with language confirming a pro-abortion rights position, The Kansas City Star reports.

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“A woman’s right to choose and the right of every person to their own bodily autonomy and to be free from government intrusion in medical decisions, including a decision to carry a pregnancy to term, and oppose any efforts to limit access to reproductive health care,” the new amendment reads.

The previous amendment added in June had not affirmed anti-abortion views, but offered room for candidates within the party to hold such a position.

“We respect the conscience of each Missourian and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion,” the amendment read. “We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Missourians who may hold differing positions on this issue.”

Critics of that amendment lauded the platform’s most recent change, The Kansas City Star reported.

“We made a mistake,” said Annie Rice, who tried unsuccessfully to block the amendment in June. “Abortion is a legal healthcare procedure, and as a party we must support access.”

Joan Barry, a former Democratic state lawmaker who introduced the amendment in June, defended her move, saying that “diversity has been a matter of strength” for the Democrats.

“Some people in the electorate don’t believe that you can be pro-life and be a Democrat. But that’s not true. We are Democrats,” Barry said. “And I’ll do everything I can to help the party this fall.”

Kristen Day, the executive director of the Virginia-based Democrats for Life of America, expressed concerns that the platform’s changes will cost Democrats in Missouri votes in November's midterm elections.

“At what point will the abortion-rights progressives be held accountable for prioritizing their single issue above the health and success of the Democratic Party?” Day said in a statement.