A major dispute arose this week when Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan noted that there would be no “litmus test” for Democrats running in the 2018 elections. Specifically, he opened the door to supporting anti-abortion Democrats in that contest in which Democrats must win 24 seats to gain a majority in the House of Representatives. In fact, that’s not a new stance from the DCCC.
But Lujan’s remarks sparked considerable anger from reproductive rights activists and their allies for throwing women under the bus. And this, while across the nation, Planned Parenthood is under attack and state after state is passing new restrictions on abortion, 41 of them this year alone, hundreds in the past six years.
Consequently, an ad hoc coalition of progressives has issued a statement, endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, challenging the DCCC’s approach. (You can read the entire statement below.)
On Monday, when Lujan
his comments in an interview with The Hill, my colleague Laura Clawson wrote:
No litmus tests? Are we talking about the Democratic Party allowing people the wiggle room to say they’re personally opposed to abortion but don’t support laws taking control over their own bodies out of women’s hands? Or are we talking about the Democratic Party giving money to people who’d vote for a bill forcing women to have medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds? There’s kind of a difference there.
Quite a difference. A number of prominent Democrats, former Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, are personally opposed to abortion, but they do not support laws that keep women from getting abortions or make it more expensive, time-consuming, and otherwise troublesome to do so. They would pass any litmus test. The point is not personal belief.
There are, however, scores of Democrats in state legislatures, who have not only voted for, but sometimes co-sponsored or even drafted draconian anti-abortion laws. One is Julie Bartling.