Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is in lockstep with Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez when it comes to the pro-life movement.
Much like Perez has in the past, Sanders made clear over the weekend he sees no place in the Democratic Party for pro-life voters.
“I think being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat, if you’re asking me,” said Sanders, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
He made the comment during a candidate forum in New Hampshire on Saturday, when the emcee asked him if there is “such a thing as a pro-life Democrat in your vision of the party.”
“I may be wrong on this, I think, in the Senate probably 95% of the Democrats are pro-choice, you have a few who are not,” added Sanders, noting there’s likely an even higher percentage of pro-abortion Democrats in the House.
“That’s kind of what my view is,” he said. “I think by this time in history, I think, when we talk about what a Democrat is, I think being pro-choice is essentially, an essential part of that.”
Sanders’ position is hardly surprising. In fact, it’s not even outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party these days. In 2017, Perez said support for abortion among Democrats “is not negotiable.”
During a town hall event on Fox News last month, a pro-life Democratic voter cornered presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on the issue, telling the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, that she feels she has “no part” in her political party. Buttigieg toed the party line then, and soon after, during an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” refused to draw a line on abortion — even partial birth abortion — during an exchange with co-host Meghan McCain.
On Friday, both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both competing for the Democratic presidential nomination, said access to abortion should be codified by legislative action, ensuring its legality even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected abortion across the country.
“Three out of every four people believe right now that the rule of Roe v. Wade should be the law,” said Warren. “That means we should be pushing for a congressional solution as well. it is time to have a national law to protect the right of a woman’s choice.”
Biden, for his part, vowed to send a bill to Congress to federally legalize abortion. He also said there should be a “litmus test” for potential Supreme Court nominees to ensure they are pro-abortion before being confirmed to the bench.
Speaking to Faithwire last spring, Jacob Lupfer, lead strategist for a PAC working to draft a major pro-life Democratic presidential candidate, said the Democratic Party “should have a better message to pro-life Democrats than, ‘Sit down and shut up,’ which is all they’ve been saying for my whole life.”
“Not only has the party’s platform become extreme, but the party will not even acknowledge that [abortion] is an issue that good Democrats of good faith and good will can disagree about,” he said. “It’s like, ‘If you don’t support our view, then you’re anti-woman.’”