Can there ever be room for a pro-lifer in the Democratic Party?

By Dave Andrusko

Vermont Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders

I’m not sure even a best-selling author of fiction could match this plot . U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders ran for President and gave Hillary Clinton all she could handle, even though before and after the presidential election Sanders affirmed that he is NOT a Democrat but an Independent Socialist.

So he’s in Omaha last Thursday “as part of a ‘Come Together, Fight Back, Vote Democrats’ national tour aimed at promoting Democratic candidates in local races this year,” according to Roseann Moring of the World-Herald.

In his best stump speech manner, Sanders touts Heath Mello (a former member of the legislature) as part of the Democratic Party of the future. (“Mello is running against incumbent Mayor Jean Stothert, a Republican, in what is officially a nonpartisan race,” Moring reports.)

No sooner can you say “come together, fight back” Unity Tour against those wicked Republicans than NARAL goes ballistic. Turns out that in 2009 while in the legislature, Mello co-sponsored a bill “that gives a woman seeking an abortion the option to see an ultrasound, if one is done,” Moring explains.

“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” said NARAL President Ilyse Hogue in a statement. The Daily Kos quickly follows suit on Thursday, withdrawing its support for Mello.

DNC chair Tom Perez

DNC chair Tom Perez

On Friday, DNC chair Tom Perez “became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose,” the Huffington Post proudly announced.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”

This after Perez initially had said, “Our job at the DNC is to help Democrats who have garnered support from voters in their community cross the finish line and win ― from school board to Senate.”

Then, the plot thickens. They don’t come more militantly pro-abortion than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) Meet the Press Host Chuck Todd brings up Perez’s condemnation yesterday to which Pelosi says, “Why don’t you interview Tom Perez? You’re interviewing me.”

Todd tries again. “Let me ask you this. But can you be a Democrat and [receive] the support of the Democratic Party if you’re pro-life?” Pelosi responds

“Of course. I have served many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive – my family would say aggressive – position on promoting a woman’s right to choose.”

Of course the candidates who really ought to be interviewed are those one or two Democratic Senators who profess to be “anti-abortion.”

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