Democrats' top candidates offer no option on abortion
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Democrats have plenty of choices for a presidential nominee in 2020 but not when it comes to the abortion issue.
As of March 4, 195 candidates had filed with the Federal Election Commission for the Democratic nomination for president, according to Ballotpedia. They are seeking to be the nominee of a party committed to abortion rights.
No maverick exists on the issue among a dozen leading, announced Democratic candidates. In fact, no competitor among that group who is serving in Congress or has done so in the past has cast a vote against abortion, according to the scorecards available from the National Right to Life Committee (NLRC).
Eight of these 12 candidates are so devoted to assuring a dead child is the result of every abortion attempt that they have opposed congressional legislation to protect a baby who survives the procedure. All six United States senators in the race voted Feb. 25 against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that would require health care for a child born alive during an abortion. Their "nay" votes left them and the other 38 Democratic members who joined them as apparent easy targets for the charge of supporting infanticide.
For the distinct minority of Democrats who describe themselves as pro-life, the party and its presidential candidates offer a bleak picture.
Among the leading, announced candidates, "I don't see any distinction," said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America (DFLA).
DFLA is left in this election cycle with hoping one or more candidates "will agree to alter the platform and say that pro-life Democrats are welcome in the party, because we recognize that none of them [who have announced] are going to take" a pro-life position, Day told Baptist Press in a phone interview.
"But from a pro-life Democrat perspective in the primary, [we can] pick the one that will at least say pro-life Democrats are welcome in the party," she said. "So I think that's the tactic that we're taking."
Several potential contenders have yet to announce whether they will run in 2020, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the 2004 nominee and former Secretary of State John Kerry. All support abortion rights.
Here, in alphabetical order, is a look at 12 leading candidates who have announced their campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination and their support for abortion rights:
The senator from New Jersey has a zero percent pro-life voting record since taking office in 2013, according to the NRLC. The former mayor of Newark voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in February.
The former San Antonio mayor and Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Obama seems to have said little in the public record on the issue but called for protecting the right to abortion in a January speech launching his campaign, the Austin American-Statesman reported. He opposed a Texas law to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The former Maryland congressman received a score of zero from the NRLC during his three terms in the House of Representatives (2013 to 2019). He voted in 2018 against the House version of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
The congresswoman from Hawaii has a zero percent rating from the NRLC while serving in the House since 2013. Last year, Gabbard opposed the House bill to provide health care to babies who survive abortions.
In spite of the dismal field, DFLA's Day says pro-life Democrats cannot give up.
"We can't have just one party advocating for this," she told BP. "We can't let the Democratic Party go..., because it's not going to help the pro-life movement."