"In 389 out of 435 Congressional districts, a majority of voters support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks," they said. "When Democratic leaders support late-term abortion, they push many voters into the arms of the Republican Party. Many people holding pro-life views are single-issue voters."
The letter called on the party to reintroduce language into the platform recognizing a diversity of views on abortion and pledging that the consciences of all party members will be respected.
In the year 2000, the Democratic platform included such language in regards to abortion, saying, "We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party." As late as 2004, the platform called for abortion to be "safe, legal and rare."
By 2016, however, the conscience language had been dropped from the platform and the word "rare" was no longer used alongside repeated calls to make abortion "safe and legal."
Pro-life advocates both within and outside of the Democratic Party have objected to these changes, arguing that the party has become increasingly extreme on the issue.
Joe Biden's presumptive nomination as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, have prompted further concerns.
Last year, Biden shifted his position on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of Medicaid funds for most abortions. After voting for the original amendment in 1976 and supporting it for decades, Biden announced last summer that he opposed the Hyde Amendment. His change in position came amid criticism from other Democratic candidates, particularly Harris.
Harris has been prominent in pushing to limit the operations of pro-life groups.
As California attorney general, she drew criticism from the state Catholic conference by sponsoring a bill compelling pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise "free or low-cost" abortions to their clients. That law was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018.
While seeking the Democratic presidential nomination last year, Harris proposed a plan that would bar some states from changing their abortion laws without federal approval.
As a senator, she has also co-sponsored legislation to bar any government from imposing a wide variety of limitations on abortion.
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