Why progressives fight for Roe (and why we’re blessed with an entire Democratic field who will too)
By: Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director
Over the last 43 years, the fight to protect Roe v. Wade and access to safe and legal abortion has become a core policy position of the Democratic Party and standing up for abortion rights has become a requirement for anyone who wants to call themselves a progressive.
The centrality of abortion rights to the Democratic Party isn’t some blind ideological position — it’s deeply rooted in what it means to be a progressive. You can’t say you care about battling income inequality if you want to deny all women, rich and poor, basic human autonomy. You can’t say you’re willing to stand up to powerful interests, if you won’t stand up and confront those using religion, one of the most powerful institutions in human history, to stop women from being able to decide how to live their lives. You can’t say you’ll take on racial injustice, when you don’t speak out against right-wing legislation that is being used to forcibly limit healthcare options that are helping communities of color the most.
Democracy for America members only endorse candidates with a rock-solid commitment to protecting abortion rights. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our progressive allies when the right attacks abortion rights because we know that we can’t combat income inequality, take our government back from the corporate interests who control it, or actually deal with our nation’s long history of structural racism without standing up for all women’s rights to abortion services. Simply put, DFA fights to protect abortion rights, not only because it’s necessary, but because protecting a woman’s right to choose and working to expand access to legal and safe abortion services is core to progressive values and fighting for progressive change.
As progressives, we’re blessed with an entire Democratic field steadfastly committed to protecting abortion rights, a fact that, fortunately, I think every progressive organization supporting an individual candidate recognizes.
For example, we know that Bernie Sanders has a life-long record of standing up for abortion rights, including against the Hyde Amendment which currently bans federal funds from being spent on abortion services. Even more than that, throughout his life Bernie Sanders has fearlessly called out some of the most powerful players in our political process — whether they are from the big banks, the military industrial complex, or the health insurance industry — and stood up with a steel spine when they’ve fired back. And that’s precisely what we’ll need to confront opponents of Roe and expand the access of all Americans to abortion services.
While our top two Democratic candidates may differ in other areas, it’s a tremendous victory for progressives that both are rock-solid in their commitment to protecting abortion rights and have the guts it will take to stand up and defend those rights against virulent opposition. Regardless of which candidate you’re supporting in this year’s primary, a champion for abortion rights will win the Democratic nomination and that’s something every single progressive should celebrate as we continue our defense of Roe v. Wade forty-three years after it became the law of the land.