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Should Anti-Choice Politicians Be Allowed To Run As Democrats?

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

Joe Manchin is the only anti-Choice Democrat left in the Senate-- he kicks ass

Yesterday, South Carolina’s Senate Medical Affairs Committee voted 7-3 to remove the exceptions for rape and incest from the state’s already reactionary anti-Choice legislation. And don’t think about South Carolina as relatives normal areas like Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and Columbia. Most of the state is far more socially primitive, where 14 year old girls are regularly raped by their fathers, uncles, brothers and grandpas— counties like Pickens, Saluda, Cherokee, Oconee, Anderson and Laurens, where men think of themselves as patriarchs and think of women as objects to pleasure themselves with. These counties have virtually nothing in common with 21st century Columbia or Charleston and many people have noted they they are more backward than the most remote areas of Afghanistan.

All 7 of the sociopaths who voted to take out the exceptions were Republican men. Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto said that the Senate Democrats “think by highlighting the fact a bunch of extreme, Republican men are trying to control women’s decisions in South Carolina— they need to own that. The governor needs to own that.”

The bill is likely to fail when the full Senate votes on it. But that isn’t the point. The point is that no Democrats voted for it. I wish I could say the same thing about every Democrat in every legislature. Right now there is only one anti-Choice member of the U.S. House, Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), who Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Hakeem Jeffries and the rest of the Democratic establishment propped up, helping him defeat a pro-Choice woman, Jennifer Cisneros. Big money also flooded into the northwest North Carolina seat where anti-Choice state Senator Don Davis been ardently pro-Choice Erica Smith. Davis will be a second anti-Choice Democrat in Congress next year. The Democratic establishment doesn’t care; at least they beat an independent-minded progressive.

Yesterday CNN published a report about anti-Choice Democrats in state legislatures across the country. Their conclusion is that “Republicans passing increasingly strict abortion bans around the country have been joined by scores of unlikely allies: Democrats. More than 140 Democrats from eight of the roughly dozen states with the most restrictive abortion laws voted in favor of the bans, and the vast majority of these state lawmakers were men. All but one of the laws would have passed with Republican votes alone, and a few were passed without a single vote from a Democratic lawmaker. Republican legislators almost always voted in favor of the restrictions, which experts say shows how the issue has been much more of a litmus test for Republican state lawmakers than it has for Democrats.”

The Democratic establishment doesn’t care about litmus tests any longer, as long as they can get away with it and lie to the public about hot button issues, putting the full onus on the GOP.

In Arkansas, four of the state's 29 Democrats voted in 2019 to pass the trigger ban that criminalized abortion under nearly all circumstances. They were all men. That same year, 14 male and five female Democrats in Kentucky voted for a similar state ban, representing nearly 40% of all Democrats in the state legislature at the time. And in Mississippi, nine male Democratic lawmakers voted in 2018 to pass the 15-week abortion ban that ultimately led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The laws received almost unanimous support from Republicans, except for a single no vote in Arkansas.
A 2022 bill strengthening Louisiana's trigger ban, meanwhile, was passed with the help of 10 male and two female Democratic lawmakers and signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. "I am pro-life and have never hidden from that fact," Edwards said in a statement in June, noting that he signed the bill despite his objection to the lack of exceptions for rape and incest victims. A spokesperson for Edwards told CNN that the governor intends to work with lawmakers to hopefully pass an exception for victims of rape and incest and noted that the bill he signed "sought to clarify" a ban passed in 2006 before he became governor.
Former Kentucky Democratic state representative and gubernatorial candidate Rocky Adkins said in a 2019 radio interview that in addition to his personal beliefs, his votes represent the views of his constituents in a "very conservative district." Bruce Maloch, who no longer serves in the state legislature, is one of the Arkansas Democrats who voted in favor of the state's trigger ban. He was described as a "a deer-hunting, abortion-opposing local Baptist deacon" in a 2020 local newspaper column lamenting the Republican attack ads against him. Maloch and Adkins did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.
Also in Kentucky, former state Rep. Joe Graviss told a local newspaper in 2020 that he had tried to emphasize his "pro-life" beliefs throughout his campaign for state Senate but still lost. Graviss declined to discuss his anti-abortion votes with CNN, saying the issue is a "very personal" one for him, but also said he is frustrated with how local Democrats are painted as being the same as national Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which is not always the case. "You have people putting up big signs in their fields on major parkways saying if you vote for a Democrat you're going to hell," he said. "You have pastors telling their congregations who to vote for and putting the list tacked on church front doors with damning repercussions if they don't vote that way."
In all, men represented more than 80% of the Democratic votes in state legislatures in favor of the bans.
CNN's analysis of state Democrats echoes how gender has played a role in Congress as well. An analysis of abortion-related voting in the House of Representatives between 1993 and 2018 published last year by two Georgetown researchers found that Democratic men were more likely to vote in favor of bills restricting abortion than their female counterparts, which the researchers attributed to how female Democrats are often elected in more liberal districts.
…Former Tennessee state Rep. John DeBerry, meanwhile, had served as a Democrat for more than 20 years but was stripped from the primary ballot by the state Democratic party in 2020. The move came after DeBerry, who later ran as an independent, was targeted by attack ads from the political arm of Planned Parenthood, and party representatives reportedly said at the time that his votes for anti-abortion and school voucher bills, among others, didn't align with the party's values.
"Life has mattered my entire career," he said in a 2020 interview with Christianity Today. "My principles have not changed, and I am not changing my principles because I have a D behind my name."
And back in Texas, longtime Democratic state Rep. Ryan Guillen announced in November 2021 he would be officially switching his affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Like Lucio in the Senate, Guillen had voted in favor of both the state's trigger ban and controversial six-week ban enforced through civil litigation. "Rep. Guillen has been a friend for many years," the state Republican Party chairman said in a statement. "I am proud to welcome him to the Republican Party." Guillen did not respond to requests for comment.
Days earlier, [anti-Choice Texas state Senator Eddie] Lucio had announced he would not seek reelection after more than 30 years in the state legislature. He told CNN he is proud that he rose "above partisan politics" during his time in office and proclaimed that he was never the extreme right's trusted vote, as critics said, but "God's trusted vote."
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