Pressure mounts for DNC chair resignation after abortion comments

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 8, 2016 at 11:57 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Progressive and pro-choice groups are calling for the resignation of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after she criticized young women for becoming complacent about abortion rights.

Wasserman Schultz, in an interview with The New York Times, suggested women born after the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark abortion ruling have allowed the political fight to fade.

Asked if she sees a "difference between young women and women our age in their excitement about Hillary Clinton? Is there a generational divide?" the Florida Democrat responded, "Here's what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided."

Hours after the interview was published, Wasserman Schultz clarified her statement:

"We need women of every generation -- mine included -- to stand up and speak out, and that is the main message I sought to convey in that interview," she said. "For many in my generation who lived the majority of our lives with the right to make our own health care choices, there wasn't a sense of urgency after Roe v. Wade settled our right to a safe and legal abortion. Since then, opponents worked aggressively to chip away at women's reproductive freedom and they have awakened a sleeping giant in the millennials leading the fight in defense of the progress we've made."

Despite the clarification, her comments brought swift reaction from abortion rights groups using the hashtag #DearDebbie to respond.

The group CREDO Action launched an online campaign for her resignation with a petition signed by 19,662 people Friday morning, just short of the 25,000 signature goal. CREDO Action describes itself as a social change organization raising funds for the likes of Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union and Doctors Without Borders.

"Our friends at National Nurses United recently called for Wasserman Schultz to resign over the 'latest blatant effort by the Democratic National Committee to rig the primary process,' and we at CREDO Action agree. After four years, there is no longer any doubt that Wasserman Schultz must go," the organization said.

Wasserman Schultz is already facing pressure from RootsAction, a progressive group that has collected thousands of signatures calling for her resignation from the DNC post after she suspended voter data access to the Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., presidential campaign. The DNC restored access only after the Sanders' campaign filed a federal lawsuit.

Liberals have also accused Wasserman Schultz of favoring Hillary Clinton's bid for president by limiting the number of Democratic debates and scheduling them for weekends and holidays.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she continues to have confidence in Wasserman Schultz.

"Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a very valued member of the House of Representatives," Pelosi said. "She has all the stamina and enthusiasm for the job that she has, and I believe she has the confidence of the president and will of the nominee of our party, and that's where our decisions are made."

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