Ahead of next week's convention, anti-abortion Democrats are lobbying their party to fix what they describe as an "extreme" deviation on the issue that could effectively surrender certain states to Republicans in November.
"We should not cede large swathes of the United States to the Republican Party," read a letter signed by Louisiana Gov. Johnathan Bel Edwards and dozens of other Democratic politicians.
The letter warns that the party's platform will alienate pro-life Democrats, and calls on the platform committee to reintroduce more moderate language from the party's 2000 platform.
"We support reintroducing the conscience language from 2000 into the 2020 platform, which acknowledges that Americans have differing and deeply held views on abortion," the group said.Included among the signatories was Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., who recently lost his primary to a Planned Parenthood-backed candidate. That race, and former Vice President Joe Biden's reversal on the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal dollars from being spent on abortions except in certain cases, has been painted as a bellwether for the party's purportedly growing insularity on the issue.
"The Hyde amendment has been necessary in building a more equal society," DFL board member Terrisa Bukovinac told Fox News. "It has saved more than 2 million people who are disproportionately black, indigenous and children of color and we will not allow our party to pretend that eliminating this crucial safeguard is progress. We demand equality and we’re not going to stand by and watch our Party allow this exploitation to continue simply because the industry is bankrolling their candidates political aspirations."
Earlier this year, the Daily Caller reported on how DemList, which typically builds an unofficial schedule for the convention, refused to include space for the “pro-life caucus. Day also told Fox News her group hasn't received a response to a letter it sent from more than 100 religious figures on the issue. It's unclear whether the individual signatories received their own responses.
Regardless, DFL executive director Kristen Day said she'll hold a virtual caucus anyway, and expects "hundreds" to attend as they broadcast live from Milwaukee.
"We have people on the ground now that will be promoting the pro-life voice within the Democratic Party. We have had unprecedented growth and it is really exciting," she told Fox News. She speculated that Lipinski’s loss in Illinois “lit a fire under people.”
A draft platform released by Politico showed the Democratic National Committee supporting taxpayer-funded abortions as well as a codification of the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade. According to Day, activists from throughout the country are expected to descend on the convention in protest of the party's advocacy. The demonstrations will be "daily" leading up to the convention on Monday, Bukovinac said.
Day and others predict that Democrats' positions would allow abortion until birth. Liberals have continually framed the issue as one surrounding fundamental human rights and racial equity when it comes to taxpayer funding of abortion. Meanwhile, Black anti-abortion activists have clashed with Planned Parenthood over claims abortion is comparable to genocide for their community. Still, Planned Parenthood has maintained that their position is popular with voters.
"Poll after poll shows that voters want champions for reproductive health — including the right to access a safe and legal abortion — in public office," Planned Parenthood said in July. "Politicians who want to take those rights away aren’t just pursuing bad policy, but a losing political strategy."
The Democratic National Convention did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Polling indicates that both sides could face pushback at the ballot box. Voters tend to support some limits on abortion, but not the all-or-nothing approach often advanced by each side. In May, for example, Gallup found that 50 percent of voters thought abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances, as opposed to any (29 percent) or none (20 percent). That ranking of preferences reflected Gallup’s historical data as well. And while a plurality say abortion is “immoral,” moderates (55 percent) tend to identify as "pro-choice."
It's unclear how the platform will effect turnout but Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have embraced codifying Roe and a repeal of Hyde. After Lipinski's loss, Day indicated that anti-abortion Democrats might just sit out future elections.
According to a June Gallup report, 24 percent Democrats consider themselves pro-life. And a Marist poll, conducted with the Knights of Columbus, from January showed 44 percent of Democrats said they were "more likely to vote for" candidates who would limit abortion to the first trimester.