by Kelvey Vander Hart
In a stunning reversal of an inclusive platform amendment, the Missouri Democratic Party has decided that pro-life Democrats are not welcome after all.
Pro-lifers across the country lauded Missouri Democrats when a platform amendment that was inclusive of pro-life opinion was passed. The amendment, approved in July, read:
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. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength, and welcome into our ranks all Missourians who may hold differing positions on this issue.
The amendment received much outcry — so much so that the platform committee met again and voted out the amendment less than a month after its passage. Platform language on abortion now reads:
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.
Stephen Webber, chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, defended the new platform language, stating, “Democrats will continue to fight defend the full spectrum of women’s reproductive rights ensured in Roe v. Wade, including the right to safely end a pregnancy, to safely carry a pregnancy to term, and the right to raise your family in a safe and healthy environment.”
Many liberal activists quickly took to Twitter to applaud the reversal. However, others are concerned with what impact this decision will have on the health of the party.
Democratic state Representative Stacey Newman has estimated that there are at least a dozen pro-life Democrats in the Missouri state legislature. Indicators also point to a voting bloc of registered Democrats across the state who oppose abortion.
In response to this action by the Missouri Democratic Party, Democrats for Life of America stated, “Pro-life Democrats have stayed in the shadows and have been taken for granted long enough. We must be recognized and heard. Right now, we are hearing that current leaders of the Democratic Party do not want us and we should look elsewhere.”
Photo credit: Jordan Uhl via Flickr, CC BY 2.0