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No Room for Pro-Lifers in Democratic Party, Sanders Says: Abortion Rights Are 'Essential'

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Published Feb 10, 2020
No Room for Pro-Lifers in Democratic Party, Sanders Says: Abortion Rights Are 'Essential'

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suggested Saturday there is no room for pro-lifers in the Democratic Party, calling the pro-choice position a “central part” of being a Democrat.    

Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont who is running for the Democratic nomination, was asked in a forum, “Is there such a thing as a pro-life Democrat in your vision of the party?”

“I think being pro-choice,” Sanders responded, “is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat. … In the Senate, probably 95 percent of the Democrats are pro-choice. You have a few who are not in the House [but it] may be even a higher percentage.”

He added, “By this time in history, I think when we talk about what a Democrat is, I think being pro-choice is ... a central part of that.”

Sanders made the comments in an “Our Rights, Our Courts” forum sponsored by several abortion rights groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The previous day, Sanders pledged to nominate only justices who support abortion rights if he is elected president.

“I will never nominate any person to the Supreme Court or the federal courts in general who is not 100 percent pro-Roe v. Wade,” he said at an ABC Democratic debate Friday night. “Number two, we have to codify Roe v. Wade into legislation.”

Sander's later reiterated his stance on Twitter writing, "We have got to codify Roe v. Wade into law and significantly expand funding for Planned Parenthood."

Former Vice President Joseph Biden also pledged to codify Roe into law. He was asked if he would have a “litmus test” on justices he nominates. 

“It’s a woman’s right to do that. Period,” Biden said. “And if you call that a litmus test, it’s a litmus test.” 

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) also supported a pro-Roe law.

“It is time to have a national law to protect the right of a woman’s choice,” she said at the debate.


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.