Nancy Pelosi, What Are You Even Doing?

[Content Note: War on agency.]

Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post: Pelosi: Democratic Candidates Should Not Be Forced to Toe Party Line on Abortion.
The Democratic Party should not impose support for abortion rights as a litmus test on its candidates, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday, because it needs a broad and inclusive agenda to win back the socially conservative voters who helped elect President Trump.

"This is the Democratic Party. This is not a rubber-stamp party," Pelosi said in an interview with Washington Post reporters.

"I grew up Nancy D'Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic," she added, referring to the fact that she is the daughter and sister of former mayors of that city. "Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I'm kicking them out of the Democratic Party?"

...Pelosi expressed doubt whether any hard-line antiabortion candidate could win a Democratic presidential primary. She also noted that the debate over abortion no longer boils down to whether a candidate is for or against the basic right to the procedure, but rather over whether and what types of limits should be imposed.

As a result, "within the Democrats, I don't think that you'll see too many candidates going out there and saying, 'I'm running as a pro-life candidate,'" she said. "It's how far are you willing to go on the issue — but let's not spend too much time" on the subject.

"It's kind of fading as an issue," she said. "It really is."

Pelosi pointed to Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) as a case study in how the Democrats tolerate diverse views. Casey describes himself as personally opposed to abortion, but he has also fought alongside other Democrats against efforts to withdraw federal funds from Planned Parenthood.

"Bob Casey — you know Bob Casey — would you like him not to be in our party?" Pelosi said.
Wow. Okay. There is a lot to unpack here.

First of all, Pelosi is conflating a couple of different issues in a way that I find rather dishonest.

1. Rank-and-file Democrats are not the same thing as Democrats who are running for or holding office. Of course no one is suggesting that rank-and-file Democrats be "kicked out" of the Democratic Party if they are anti-choice. The issue is Democratic office-holders, who are empowered to affect the laws governing reproductive rights.

2. Democratic office-holders or -seekers who are personally anti-choice but would neither sponsor nor vote for anti-choice measures, like Bob Casey (or Tim Kaine, or Joe Biden, et. al.) are not the same thing as Democratic office-holders or -seekers who would sponsor and/or vote for anti-choice measures, like Heath Mello, whose candidacy started this latest round of garbage about whether Democrats need to be pro-choice.

The implication that this is about a litmus test on the personal beliefs of Democratic voters is bullshit. It's a straw-argument. And I expect more from Pelosi.

Further, I don't know for whom Pelosi imagines abortion is "kind of fading as an issue," but it sure isn't any of the Democratic women I know. Abortion access is a crucial issue, a key economic issue for women, especially in red states where abortion access has been significantly eroded over the last decade.

Donald Trump just nominated a Supreme Court justice, subsequently confirmed, who could be the deciding vote on any case that threatens Roe v. Wade, and Pelosi thinks that abortion is "kind of fading as an issue"? Is she serious?

It's not fading for anti-choicers, and it certainly isn't fading for those of us on the frontlines fighting to retain access every day.

I find it incredible that the Democratic Party believes that abortion is a loser issue for them, after the Democratic nominee who was most outspoken about and most progressive on reproductive rights just won the popular vote by 3 million votes.

This is a revolting display of cowardice and abandonment of principle. Hillary Clinton stood up for reproductive rights, and the Democratic Party should be standing beside her. Instead, they're running away from her and toward a model in which abortion is negotiable.

I have a major problem with that.

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