AZ Democrats: Supporting Anti-Abortion Candidates is 'Politically Stupid' for Party

After suffering from a devastating presidential loss, the Democratic party is trying to switch things up. Last week it released its new slogan: "A Better Deal."

That deal apparently isn't great for women, though, according to Arizona Democrats.

In an interview with The Hill, Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico said the party will be open to supporting and funding candidates who oppose abortion rights.

Alexis Tameron, State Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, released a statement Tuesday calling this announcement "not only short-sighted, it is politically stupid."

By casting a wider net, the party hopes to regain the House majority in 2018 by winning in more conservative districts, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman said Monday.

A full team effort would be needed to score the 24 seats needed to win back the majority, but Arizona Democrats say this is not how their team plays.

"We believe abortion should remain safe, legal, and rare," Tamerson said in the statement. "However, Party leaders should not yield on women’s reproductive rights to those who oppose or seek to overturn all abortion rights as a strategy to win elections."

Tamerson wrote that Arizona Democrats' support for Planned Parenthood, Emily's List, and NARAL is unwavering despite the national party's flub. In response, Planned Parenthood Arizona's vice president of public affairs, Jodi Liggett, thanked Arizona Democrats and joined in the condemning of the 'no litmus' decision in a statement to the New Times.

"Planned Parenthood respects the right of all people to make personal choices in accordance with their beliefs and values," Liggett said. "Policymakers must be mindful that they make laws for everyone, not just themselves."

The Hill reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders agree with the 'no litmus test' for candidates.

The senators' defense: There’s room for different opinions.

Tameron said that while the Democrats should not exclude someone based on anti-abortion beliefs, defending the right to choose is non-negotiable for the party.

"At a time when millions of Americans are looking for alternatives to President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress, Democratic Party leaders cannot abandon our values or blur the line on policy priorities and/or how we would govern differently," Tamerson said in the statement. "This position is not a 'Better Deal' for many of us."

Access to abortion has become a huge voting issue and, in turn, a pillar in the Democratic Party — until recently. The "Better Deal" policy rollout last week focused heavily on economic issues but left out abortion rights.

Liggett pointed out the ill timing of this proposal after women's health advocates celebrated the successful takedown of the "repeal and reform" health care legislation last week.

"To have this stunning victory followed — the very next working day — with the DCCC’s pronouncement that protecting women’s right to control their own bodies is somehow optional, especially when politically expedient, was a slap in the face to all of us," she said.

She offered a stern reminder that millions of women across the country wrote, called, and marched to oppose the Trump administration's policies and suggested that folding to conservatism would not be wise for the party.

"They would do well to reconsider," Liggett said. "Women are watching."
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Lindsay Moore