Asked for comment on the meeting, the DNC did not explicitly address any of the requests. “Our party has always welcomed different opinions on several issues and Tom is committed to listening to all Democrats as we work to rebuild our party. Our party platform makes clear that Democrats trust women to make their own choices about their body and their health and Tom stand by this,” DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said.
“At a time when 13 Republican men are making decisions about women’s health care and women and families are under historic threat, we must come together and speak as loudly as ever to fight for dignity and justice for everyone,” Hinojosa added.
The meeting was set up at the request of Democrats for Life. A spokesman for Representative Lipinski confirmed that he attended Tuesday’s meeting.
An aide to Perez added that the DNC chair also met with more than 30 women leaders in May to “discuss the future of the Democratic party and working together to protect women’s reproductive health.”
Following the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Party’s stance on abortion has come under scrutiny and has been the subject of controversy and debate.
The Democratic Party’s current platform is unequivocal in its support for “safe and legal abortion.” In the wake of the election, however, party leaders have attempted to walk a fine line between affirming the official party platform and suggesting that there is still a place in the party for pro-life Democrats at a time when the party has been shut out of power in the White House, Congress and state legislatures across the country.
In April, Perez suggested that the Democratic Party should not “demand fealty on every issue,” including abortion. Not long after, however, NARAL Pro-Choice America criticized the DNC over its support for a Nebraska mayoral candidate who identified as “personally pro-life,” as “not only disappointing” but “politically stupid.”NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement that “if Democrats think the path forward following the 2016 election is to support candidates who substitute their own judgement and ideology for that of their female constituents, they have learned all the wrong lessons and are bound to lose.”
Following that backlash, Perez issued a statement that was widely viewed within the party as a litmus test on abortion. “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health” the chair said. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to the controversy in April by saying “of course” it’s possible to be pro-life and have the support of the Democratic Party. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said that the Democrats are a “big-tent party,” but, he added that Democrats are “let’s make no mistake about it, we’re a pro-choice party, a strongly pro-choice party.”