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DNC rally with anti-abortion candidate fuels backlash

Heath Mellow, a Democrat operating for mayor of Omaha, is dealing with criticism from pro-choice activists. | AP Photo


The addition of an anti-abortion Nebraska mayoral candidate to a Democratic National Committee “unity tour” sparked blowback from the left on Thursday.

Democrat Heath Mello, a Bernie Sanders-backed candidate for mayor of Omaha, is scheduled to seem with Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the DNC’s new deputy chair, at a sold-out rally on Thursday.

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But Mello’s sponsorship of a 2009 state Senate invoice to require women be told of their proper to request a fetal ultrasound earlier than acquiring an abortion prompted a number one abortion-rights group to slam the DNC for elevating him.

“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue stated in a press release.

The widespread liberal web site Daily Kos additionally withdrew its endorsement of Mello on Thursday, citing his stance on the ultrasound invoice.

Planned Parenthood, nevertheless, declined to take goal on the DNC for aligning with Mello, even because it appeared to warn Democrats towards embracing restrictions on women’s health care.

“Let’s be clear: women’s health is central to the progressive motion,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund spokeswoman Erica Sackin said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood is a nonpartisan group. We will maintain any political get together, any candidate for public workplace, and any elected official accountable for not standing up for reproductive rights.”

Mello joins Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey as self-described anti-abortion Democrats who’re getting help from the get together this yr.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who won’t seem with Mello in Nebraska, launched a press release Thursday that reiterated the get together’s “support for every woman’s right to make their own choices about their reproductive health and to have access to safe abortion services.”

“Our job at the DNC is to help Democrats who have garnered support from voters in their community cross the finish line and win — from school board to Senate,” Perez stated. “The biggest threat to women’s reproductive rights is the relentless Republican attacks on women’s health care, including legal, accessible abortion services.”

A DNC spokesman stated that Perez has made help for state events a excessive precedence, including that Sanders aides and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb — who can also be set to seem with Sanders, Mello and Ellison on Thursday — requested that the Omaha occasion with Mello be added to the get together’s “unity tour” schedule.

The budding backlash over Mello comes as Sanders has infuriated different Democrats for not endorsing Georgia House Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff whereas touring with DNC leaders.

Hogue described Ossoff as “a reproductive freedom candidate who said his campaign was fueled by women. This makes the DNC’s actions even more puzzling and troubling.”

Kleeb declined to take difficulty with NARAL’s criticism.

“I understand and respect NARAL standing up for the issue their group is founded on,” Kleeb stated by e mail. “As Chair of the Democratic Party, I stand with Democrats who continue to ensure women’s reproductive rights are never restricted, and that life at all levels … is protected.”

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