The platform Democratic convention delegates will adopt in Philadelphia later this month will be more pro-choice than ever before, ceding even less to Americans who oppose abortion rights or have moral concerns about the procedure.
Upon learning that the Platform Committee called for eliminating the Hyde Amendment, a legislative procedure that generally prohibits Medicaid from funding elective abortions, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said, “That’s crazy.” Manchin cited the fact that most Democrats in West Virginia disagree with federal funding for abortions, as do most Americans.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) wrote a letter to the DNC Platform Committee urging it to reconsider a policy that many Democratic lawmakers have long supported. Casey praised the Affordable Care Act, which has similar language to the Hyde Amendment and also provides significant support for adoption and pregnancy assistance. The Pennsylvania Democrat reiterated his strong support for access to artificial contraceptives through employment-based health insurance plans.
Democrats, most notably the Clintons, used to say they wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.” But mainstream Democratic Party discourse is increasingly hostile to opposition to or limits on legal abortion. It is unclear whether Secretary Clinton still wants to make abortion rare. She provides significant political support with little or no qualification to organizations and ideologies that believe abortion is a moral good, and one upon which female liberation and empowerment is fundamentally based.
While Americans’ abortion attitudes remain muddled, both parties are expected to outdo their already extreme abortion planks with ever more polarized language in 2016.
Having watched the 2016 Republican nominating contest from the beginning, it’s staggering to imagine how different the public debate about abortion rights would be playing out with Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio as the GOP standard bearer rather than Donald Trump, who is vetting a pro-choice Democrat for the vice presidential nomination.