Progressive groups fire back after Democratic Party puts out the welcome mat for anti-choice liberals

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Progressive groups are fighting back by forming a coalition against Democratic leaders willing to fund anti-choice candidates in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. NARAL, Planned Parenthood and Democracy for America issued a statement of principles arguing that a woman’s right to choose is not up for debate in order to win votes from red-state Democrats. The growing debate exposes tension between the modern anti-choice movement, anti-choice Democrats and progressive groups that defend women’s reproductive rights.

In recent months, Democratic leaders have revised their stance on whether potential candidates must be pro-choice. On Monday in an interview with The Hill, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, stated that there would be no litmus test for anti-abortion candidates.

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” Lujan said.

In a May interview with the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also said there should be no party litmus test on abortion and that many Democrats aren’t necessarily pro-choice.

“I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland, in Little Italy, in a very devout Catholic family, fiercely patriotic, proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic,” Pelosi told the Washington Post. “Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?”

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also tested this revised stance by campaigning with Heath Mello, an Omaha mayoral candidate who opposes abortion rights.

However, the coalition is quick to point out that a woman’s right to choose is an important moral and economic issue.

“We recognize that over the last decade there has been a massive erosion of access to abortion and attacks on contraception and we cannot back away from this fight without abandoning people and undercutting core constituencies in our base,” says the coalition. This sentiment has been endorsed by Emily’s List, the Working Families Party, Ultraviolet, Demos, the American Federation of Teachers, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the Indivisible Project, Social Security Works and Daily Kos, which withdrew…

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