In June, leaders of the Missouri Democratic Party added an amendment to their party’s platform welcoming Democratic pro-life candidates.
The language of the amendment was pulled from the Virginia-based Democrats for Life of America website:
“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.”
However, after facing backlash over the decision, Missouri Democrats unanimously voted on Saturday to remove the amendment.
“We made a mistake,” Annie Rice, an alderwoman who worked to stop the addition of the amendment back in June. “Abortion is a legal healthcare procedure, and as a party we must support access.”
The amendment was removed over the weekend and replaced with language to reflect the party’s pro-choice values once again:
“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.”
Even so, Joan Barry, the former Democratic lawmaker who introduced the original amendment, stands behind her argument for a more diverse party platform.
“Diversity has been a matter of strength in this party,” Barry explained.
“I just felt that we needed to be sure pro-life Democrats are recognized as members of the party. Some people in the electorate don’t believe that you can be pro-life and be a Democrat. But that’s not true. We are Democrats. And I’ll do everything I can to help the party this fall.”
According to the Kansas City Star, Rachel Sweet, the regional director of public policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, believe the removal of the amendment is a step in the right direction.
”Democrats across the state have let their party leaders know that a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is non-negotiable,” she said. “With access to safe, legal abortion on the line nationally, this fight is more important than ever before.”
Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life of America, is disappointed with the change.
In a statement, Day explained the June amendment “made a point of recognizing that while some Democrats do not agree with the party position on abortion, they should be treated with respect and included in the party.”
“At what point will the abortion-rights progressives be held accountable for prioritizing their single issue above the health and success of the Democratic Party?” she asked in her statement.
“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.”
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