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Pro-life Democrats say the party has gone too far on abortion and fear that legislative leaders pushing this week to expand abortion access nationwide could alienate voters during elections. difficult midterm elections.
Currently, there are only two ever-pro-life Democrats left in Congress — one in each chamber — because the National Democratic Party has taken the position that abortion is a essential health care. With the Supreme Court poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Senate Democrats will seek to codify abortion rights into federal law with a vote Wednesday that is doomed but will throw the basics of a midterm campaign.
But in a crowded Democratic primary election in Chicago to succeed incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush, a candidate is running on a pro-life platform that he hopes will propel him to Congress and force the Democratic Party to rethink its position on abortion.
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“My pro-life stance is a distinguishing factor that’s important in a 17-man race,” Democratic candidate Chris Butler told Fox News Digital. “If people want to vote for someone who is going to go to Congress and take the very unpopular position of abortion on demand until the ninth month of birth paid for by taxpayers’ money…they have the choice between 16 people.”
“That’s the thing with the Democratic primary, if you don’t subscribe to this extreme orthodoxy, then you only have one candidate.”
Butler, 37, is a pastor at the Chicago Embassy Church Network and said it was a “huge mistake” for the Democratic Party to position itself as pro-abortion, signaling to some people of faith that there is no has “no place” for them. Butler is backed by former Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, a longtime anti-abortion Democrat in Congress who was ousted from office by pro-choice challenger Marie Newman in 2020.
If he wins, Butler says his victory should “stir something up” nationally and help “the party see that Democrats need to make room for pro-life Democrats in the party.”
The bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., is putting to a vote on Wednesday is the Women’s Health Protection Act. He was criticized by pro-choice Sens Republicans. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as “too broad,” including rolling back state limits on abortion or even banning abortion based on sex.
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Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, called on the Democratic Party to actively push back against anti-abortion Democrats and “go off the rails” with extreme abortion legislation, including the Women’s Health Protection Act.
“It’s a huge mistake,” Day said of Schumer forcing a vote on the abortion bill. “He thinks he’s motivating his base, which he may be, but he already has that base. So who is he trying to reach? Because he’s alienating people like me by doubling down on this policy. extreme abortion goes further than deer. It’s like Roe on steroids. This basically eliminates all health and safety regulations across the country.”
Day fears the party is alienating some 20 million pro-life Democrats with its legislative agenda and official stance that “abortion is health care.” She calls this message “ridiculous”. Abortion, she says, “is the death penalty.”
The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September and only one Democrat voted against — moderate Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar — a sign that the pro-life Democratic caucus is on the verge of fading federally.
As a lifelong Catholic, Cuellar said he was pro-life and would not support “extreme” positions like late or partial abortion.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., announced on Tuesday that he would join Democrats in voting in favor of the bill guaranteeing abortion access nationwide, despite calling himself a “pro -life”. The announcement is notable as he is the son of prominent former pro-life Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, who is the namesake of the landmark 1992 Supreme Court case on abortion restrictions, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Day said the elder Casey was staunchly pro-life and criticized the senator’s stance on Tuesday. “His spine must be made of jelly,” she said.
For his part, Senator Casey said he was concerned about a number of states outright banning abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, as per the leaked draft notice. He is also troubled by Republicans in Congress who are calling for legislation to impose a six-week nationwide ban.
“I don’t support banning abortion,” Casey said Tuesday.
The Senate abortion bill marks a political line in the sand, but it is expected to fail Wednesday without the necessary 60 votes.
Republicans oppose the measure and they will likely get support from the only remaining pro-life Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said the vote was needed to show Americans “exactly where their elected representatives in Congress stand.”
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“Each senator will have to explain whether they are defending each person’s right to control their own body and their own future,” Warren said in a speech Tuesday. “Or whether they will stand idly by as women’s constitutional rights are brazenly suppressed.”
Butler, the Democratic candidate in Chicago, said there should be no litmus test on abortion for Democrats. He wants the Democratic pro-life caucus in Congress to grow beyond Cuellar and Manchin.
Pro-life Democrats who could be outstanding candidates are too afraid to run because “they know the party … would rather crush them on this one issue than see them provide leadership,” Butler said.
Fox News’ Caroline McKee and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.
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