Democrats for Life: Some PR firms fear ‘backlash’ for working with pro-life candidates

Pro_Life_Democrats_Aaron_of_LA_Photography_Shutterstock.jpg Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Aug. 17, 2020: Pro-life democrats Credit: Aaron of L.A. Photography/Shutterstock

Pro-life Democratic political candidates have encountered resistance from some public relations firms not willing to work with them, one pro-life Democratic leader says. 


"Our voice is being silenced, and we need more people speaking up," Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, told CNA in an interview last week.


"When you're a pro-life Democrat candidate, some of the firms don't want to work with you because they fear the backlash of working with a pro-life candidate," Day said. 


Public relations firms can provide critical support in the middle of bruising election campaigns, Day saud. 


"We've heard this time and time again from some of our pro-life Democratic candidates as they're trying to find somebody to do their mailing, their political strategy, when they want to run some polls," she said. 


Day said some firms have even discouraged Democarts from embracing pro-life positions publicly. 


"They think that you can't win," Day said. "We need people who will understand they're not going to change their position." 


Some national Democratic organizations have either not recognized pro-life voters in the party, or have used support for abortion as a litmus test for candidates. The 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Committee platforms stated the party's "unequivocal" support for legal abortion for "every woman," and called for taxpayer-funded abortion. The 2020 Democratic National Convention did not allow Democrats for Life to caucus as an official part of the convention.


In 2019, the Democratic Attorneys General Association announced it would only back candidates for office who support legal abortion and who "publicly commit to protecting reproductive rights."

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Day has also claimed in the past that her group is not featured on Act Blue, a major online fundraising site for Democratic candidates and groups.


Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), long recognized as a reliable pro-life vote in the House, said he faced a deluge of outside money that helped unseat him in his 2020 primary. Citing "tremendous headwinds," Lipinski said he "was pilloried in millions of dollars of TV ads and mailers" because of his position on abortion.


Day told CNA that Democrats for Life is working to compile a list of Democrat-aligned public relations and consulting firms willing to work with their candidates.


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"So we started reaching out to firms that we know have worked with Democratic candidates in the past, trying to create this kind of go-to list for candidates, to make it easier for them," Day said. 


"If you're running as a pro-life Democrat, you really need the right strategy, and it's important to match people with people who will understand who they are and why they're running." 


Day said the move is part of Democrats for Life's push to encourage more pro-life Democrats to run for public office. 


"We are getting a lot of interest and I'm looking forward to what's to come. Hopefully we'll be able to help some of these pro-life Democrats win," she said.