Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt
The Democratic party, determined to win back the majority in the House of Representatives at any cost, is throwing its support behind anti-choice candidates. That’s a huge mistake. Reproductive justice is at the heart of women’s health, welfare, safety, and economic security.
This week Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview that, in order to pick up 24 more seats in the House, Democrats would fund candidates who oppose abortion rights.This marks a painful pivot from the 2016 party platform, which spelled out “that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.”
That platform was driven by smart policy, and smart politics–because it recognizes that progressive abortion policy is central to achieving economic justice. That’s why women, and all progressives, should decry this new posturing–which has Democratic leaders trying to appeal to a mythical group of moderates, by shrugging off reproductive rights as a fringe issue. The truth is this: they’ll never achieve any of their progressive goals, economic or otherwise, if abortion rights get pushed out of the picture.
Most important of all: Democrats can’t risk women’s lives to play this political game. This is even more urgent for marginalized individuals. Women of color, young people, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are hit hardest when abortion access is gutted–and that would almost certainly be the case if the Democrats throw their support behind anti-choice candidates.
I’m calling on grassroots activists across the country to march into their Congressional Democratic offices and make their voices heard, and to to work at the local Democratic party level–as individuals, or with their NOW chapters. NOW has been a proud fighter for abortion rights and reproductive justice for over 50 years. The Democratic party cannot and should not take us for granted. Party leaders must think again, and get it right this time.
M.E. Ficarra , firstname.lastname@example.org , 951-547-1241