FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Media contact: D.J. Jordan
100 Faith Leaders Call for Democratic Party Platform Reforms Regarding Abortion
Christian Pastors and Professors Urge Joe Biden, Democrats To Make Platform
More Welcoming To Pro-Life and Moderate Voters
WASHINGTON, DC, July 24, 2020 - A diverse coalition of religious leaders, clergy, and theologians today sent a letter calling on the Democratic Party to moderate its platform’s position on abortion. Specifically, the religious leaders urge the Party Platform Committee to remove extreme abortion policies, which will make it more inclusive towards pro-life voters and moderate voters of faith. Click here to read the letter.
In particular, the group condemns the 2016 platform’s support for taxpayer-funded abortion, a policy opposed by 60% of voters. Also, the 2016 platform policy on the repeal of the Hyde Amendment made it the most radically pro-abortion platform in history. Unlike previous Democratic Party platforms, it included no language on diversity of conscience around abortion or language committing to making abortion rare.
The DNC’s Platform Drafting Committee will shortly release a proposed 2020 Platform, which will be formally approved at the DNC Convention in Milwaukee, held from August 17 to August 20. It may include, for the first time ever, a commitment to codifying Roe v. Wade, as recommended by the Biden-Sanders Unity Taskforce.
The Joe Biden campaign recently announced its outreach to religious voters, and the campaign hired a new leader to run its “Believers for Biden” outreach. Voters of faith, however, are overwhelmingly opposed to policies like late-term abortion, which Joe Biden has not explicitly denounced. 78% of voters who say religion is “very important” to them support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. In addition, this letter from faith leaders comes just days after Planned Parenthood of Greater New York disavowed its founder Margaret Sanger over her racist legacy.
“This letter demonstrates the strength of opposition to Joe Biden’s beliefs about abortion, especially from Democratic voters of color and religious voters,” said Executive Director of DFLA, Kristen Day, said. “The Democratic Party should seek to include these voters, rather than pushing them into the arms of the Republican Party. An extreme approach to abortion is playing right into the hands of Donald Trump’s destructive agenda. We call on the Democratic Party to moderate its platform and show a real sign of openness to pro-life voters.”
The coalition includes more than 100 religious leaders, including major figures with distinguished records in social justice work and civil rights:
- Sr. Anita Louise Lowe, OSB: Sr. Lowe, as Prioress, leads one of the largest communities of Benedictine women in the US. The ministries of her community include working with immigrants, the addicted, and the homeless.
- Minister John DeBerry, Central Church of Christ: Mr. DeBerry serves in the Tennessee State Legislature, as a Democrat, and also pastors Central Church of Christ in Memphis, TN.
- Bishop Talbert W. Swan II: Bishop Swan is Assistant General Secretary at the Church of God in Christ, the nation’s largest African American denomination. He is President of the Greater Springfield NAACP and has been heavily involved in criminal justice reform efforts.
- Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero: Rev. Salguero is President of the National Latino Evangelical Association, and has fought President Trump on protecting DACA recipients. He was a member of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
- Pastor Rich Nathan: Pastor Nathan leads Vineyard Columbus, an Ohio megachurch; in his ministry, he has been a forceful voice for immigration reform.
- Bishop John Stowe: As Episcopal President of Pax Christi USA, Bishop Stowe is one of the most prominent advocates of social justice and inclusivity in the American Catholic Church.
- Sr. Norma Pimentel: As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sr. Pimentel has led the response to the border crisis. A Sister with the Missionaries of Jesus, she has been recognized by Pope Francis for her work.
- Shane Claiborne: A leading figure in the New Monasticism movement, Claiborne is one of America’s most prominent voices for progressive Christianity.
About Democrats for Life
DFLA is the leading voice for the one in three Democrats who identify as pro-life. DFLA promotes a Pro-Life for the Whole Life philosophy and works to end violence against human life in all its forms without discrimination. Its Executive Director, Kristen Day, previously served as Chief of Staff to pro-life Michigan Democrat Jim Barcia.