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Missouri Dems defy McCaskill, rescind amendment inviting to pro-life candidates to join Party

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Grace Carr, DCNF

Missouri’s Democratic party committee voted Saturday to remove a previously proposed amendment welcoming pro-life candidates into the party.

Dem. Claire McCaskill. Image screen grab.

“Abortion is a legal healthcare procedure, and as a party we must support access,” St. Louis alderwoman Annie Rice said, The Kansas City Star reported Monday. She also called the June amendment, which she helped draft, “a mistake.”

Following the amendment’s withdrawal, the party platform now affirms, “A woman’s right to choose and the right of every person to their own bodily autonomy and to be free from government intrusion in medical decisions, including a decision to carry a pregnancy to term, and oppose any efforts to limit access to reproductive health care.”

Saturday’s vote comes after party members introduced an amendment acknowledging that the party hosts an array of beliefs, including those about abortion. “We respect the conscience of each Missourian and recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, such as abortion. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength, and welcome into our ranks all Missourians who may hold differing positions on this issue,” the June amendment stated.

“Diversity has been a matter of strength in this party,” Joan Barry said Monday. Barry is a former Democratic state lawmaker who introduced the amendment in June. “I just felt that we needed to be sure pro-life Democrats are recognized as members of the party,” she said. Barry did not vote on the platform change Saturday.

“I don’t think the Missouri Democratic Party should shut its doors to those who feel differently,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill after Saturday’s vote. “It should be up to voters to decide who they want to represent them,” McCaskill said, despite her personal belief that women should be able to make health care choices as they see fit.

“Democrats needs to step up and fight for women, the base of the party, and their quick reversal on the disappointing vote to include anti-choice language in the party platform shows they’re ready to do that,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri executive director Alison Dreith, applauding the move.

Others are unhappy with the platform’s quick reversal. “At what point will the abortion-rights progressives be held accountable for prioritizing their single issue above the health and success of the Democratic Party?” Democrats for Life of America executive director Kristen Day said.

Democrats for Life of America is “the preeminent national organization for pro-life Democrats,” according to its website. The group has endorsed Sen. Joe Donnelly, Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Dan Lipikski and Rep. Collin Peterson.

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