Judy Chu: Members shouldn’t force religious beliefs about abortion into votes

Rep. Judy Chu said pro-life Democrats are welcome in the party, as long as they don’t vote based on their religious beliefs on abortion.

The California Democrat, who led the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House, cited Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. as a prime example of someone who can hold anti-abortion views within the party, while remaining with the party on the legislation.

“He has a personal religious belief on abortion, but he decided he was going to vote for this bill because he knows it should be a decision between a woman and her doctor. It’s a private decision, and Senator Casey shouldn’t make that decision for a woman, any more than Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. It should be a decision made by this woman and that’s what Senator Casey respects,” Ms Chu said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Ms. Chu’s comments follow Mr. Casey’s decision to back his abortion rights bill that would cement abortion access into federal law.

Mr Casey describes himself as a “pro-life Democrat”, but said he was seriously concerned by the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision which was released last week signaling the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Mr. Casey is one of a handful of anti-abortion Democrats who remain in office, along with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Mr. Manchin, however, is the only Democratic senator to break with the party in votes when it comes to restricting abortion rights.

In the House, Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas is the only Democrat with anti-abortion views.

Mr Cuellar faces far-left main challenger Jessica Cisneros, whose campaign is heavily shaped around her anti-abortion beliefs.