WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee chairman has stirred up controversy, saying every Democrat should be pro-choice — or as many pro-life advocates put it: "pro-abortion."
According to Friday's Huffington Post, DNC Chairman Thomas Perez stated, "Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, a top pro-life advisor to President Donald Trump, fired back, "Never has it been so clear: on abortion, there is no room for dissent or exceptions among Democrats; only support for the party's radical platform, which calls for abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayer dollars.
Pro-Life Democrats Are No Longer Welcome
The National Right to Life's president also blasted the DNC chairman's abortion stance.
"Dating back to the ouster of Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey from their 1992 convention, Democrats have become increasingly intolerant of pro-life Americans within their own ranks. By forcing all Democrats to pledge fealty to the abortion industry's extreme agenda, Tom Perez has completed the party's transformation and sent the message the pro-life Democrats are no longer welcome in their party," stated NRL President Carol Tobias.
Indeed, Perez seems to be verbally assaulting more than a quarter of his own party's members.
Dannenfelser, head of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, pointed out, "According to Pew Research, 28 percent of Democrats believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases."
Fight Back, Jump Ship or Flip-flop?
"There are still a significant number of Democratic voters who reject the abortion industry's incessant call for unrestricted abortion on demand, and their party's embrace of that agenda," Tobias added.
Then Tobias took advantage of this moment to ask a particularly pointed political question.
"The question now remains," she said, "will high profile Democrats like Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who call themselves pro-life, stand up to their chairman and run as pro-life candidates without DNC support, join the pro-life Republican Party, or flip-flop on abortion and betray those pro-life voters who helped elect them?"
Not So Mellow about Mello
This controversy began when Perez blasted Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for Sanders' support of Democrat Heath Mello, running for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Mello had in the past opposed pro-abortion legislation in his state.
Perez on Friday said he, "fundamentally disagrees with Heath Mello's personal beliefs about women's reproductive health."
Demanding loyalty to the party's backing of abortion, Perez stated, "At a time when women's rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country, we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice."
Perez added, "Every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same because every woman should be able to make her own health choices, period."
SBA List's Dannenfelser pointed out under the glare of so much negative attention, "It is no surprise Heath Mello of Omaha has already walked back his pro-life position by saying that 'as mayor, I would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care.'"
Top Dems Still Say 'We're a Big Tent Party'
As for DNC Chairman Perez, he's taking fire from some of his own party's top leaders. The fervently pro-choice House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that Democrats can differ on abortion.
"I have served for many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive, my family would say 'aggressive,' position on supporting a woman's right to choose," she said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., seemed to agree, at least a little, with Pelosi.
On Monday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, he stated, "Look, we're a big tent party as Nancy Pelosi said. But we are — let's make no mistake about it — we're a pro-choice party. We're a strongly pro-choice party."