Missouri Party Chairman Closes Door on Pro-Life Democrats Eliminates Inclusive “Big Tent” Language Approved By Platform Committee

There is an important election coming up that will determine the balance of the U.S. Senate and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. The election could also determine whether or not there will be impeachment efforts to rid the White House of Donald Trump.  Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is in a very close battle, and all Democrats would like to see her continue her tenure in the U.S. Senate.

Missouri Party Chairman Stephen Webber thinks that the best way to support Senator McCaskill and other Democrats in Missouri is to create an unnecessary battle over abortion.

A few weeks ago, there was a meeting to amend the Missouri Democratic Party platform. A vote took place, and the amendment was accepted. The Missouri Democratic Party then said that they welcome Whole Life Democrats in the party.  The “conscience language” to include pro-life Democrats did not dilute the abortion-rights plank in the Democratic Party platform.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that the acceptance, along with the compromise language, lasted. Party Chairman Webber held a meeting this morning to strip the inclusive language from the platform because nothing says “We we want your vote” more than overturning a fair process of debate and approval. It is very unusual to remove language unilaterally after a platform has been ratified. It makes you wonder about the kind of pressure supposedly “progressive” groups exerted and why. They know that this removal will cause chaos.

For decades, the party has worked to silence whole-life voters who support human life from conception until natural death. And the results are not good.

Democrats have not had control of the Missouri State House since 2002 and of the Missouri State Senate since 2000.  Democrats hold ten of 44 seats in the State Senate, and Democrats hold 45 of 200 seats in the State House. Democrats hold two of eight U.S. Congressional seats. Missouri Democrats have a difficult time winning seats outside the urban cores. If I were the Party chairman, I would try to decipher what was going wrong and try to unite the party, not highlight the divisive issue of abortion by reversing a moderate amendment that says we are a big-tent party.

At what point will the abortion-rights progressives be held accountable for prioritizing their single issue above the health and success of the Democratic Party?

The amendment passed a few weeks ago when former Missouri State Representative Joan Barry decided that Whole Life Democrats should not have to hide their pro-life position or keep quiet any longer. Joan didn’t ask for much.  She put forth a reasonable amendment that merely made a point of recognizing that while some Democrats do not agree with the party position on abortion, they should be treated with respect and included in the party.

The amendment reads:

 “We respect the conscience of each Missourian and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion.

We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Missourians who may hold different positions on this issue.”

Very similar language was included in the national Democratic Party platform in 1996 by Congressman Tony Hall (D-OH) and other Whole Life Democrats. It is neither new nor combative. It neither addresses nor attacks the position of Democrats who support abortion rights. The language suggests that the Democratic Party has an official position on abortion, but that the party does not want to lose the votes of Democrats who may disagree on that one position.

The actions of the party chairman send the message that pro-life Missourians are unwelcome in the party. If that is his intention, then he should state it clearly and explicitly in an official statement.

Missouri pro-life Democrats are real Democrats who support labor and helped to defeat the right-to-work proposition this week. They support health care, a living wage, and a host of other issues on which all Democrats agree. We want to be in this party, and we will wait for a clear statement from Chairman Webber on where we stand.

Pro-life Democrats have stayed in the shadows and have been taken for granted long enough.  We must be recognized and heard. Right now, we are hearing that current leaders of the Democratic Party do not want us and we should look elsewhere.