I believe that if Democrats—not any one Democrat, and certainly not just me—want to start winning races again, Luján’s statement that the DCCC would fund candidates who oppose abortion rights puts our country in danger, and makes it all the more likely that the Republicans will continue to defeat us in election after election.

This may seem surprising. After all, Luján’s assertion that there will be no “litmus test” for Democratic candidates who oppose abortion seems like the kind of big-tent cliché with which it is hard to disagree. “As we look at candidates across the country,” Luján said yesterday, “you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.” But we Democrats also need to stand firm on some basic principles, for a change. Like: Health care is a human right. And: The right to plan her own family is a cornerstone of a woman’s economic security. So yes, we realize that we live in a huge and diverse country, and that our party is huge and diverse as well. We can acknowledge that there are anti-abortion Democrats, just as there are pro-choice Republicans (including the state rep who represents my Houston district). While Luján’s position seems to embrace that reality, it actually does the opposite. For all the hand-wringing about what we Democrats can do to reach more voters, many Americans still see us as the “anti-Trump party.” That is true, and to our credit. But what they don’t see is Democrats taking firm stands in support of our values, and that’s the crux of the reason why we keep losing so many elections.

We’re still the party that was in favor of gay rights but—for far too long—wasn’t quite in favor of marriage equality. We’re the party that promotes racial equality, but helped bring about the mass incarceration of African Americans. We’re the party that denounces income inequality, but still snuggles up to Goldman Sachs at every possible opportunity. The base of the Democratic party has lost its tolerance for these numbing equivocations: We embrace values that might best be summed up as “treating people decently.” We believe in economic fairness; in racial and religious equality; in LGBT rights. We believe that all men—and women—are created equal. These aren’t controversial matters that we need to poll-test or focus-group. Wherever we derive these values, from our religious heritage or from our fidelity to the American heritage of freedom and justice for all, we shouldn’t constantly be negotiating them.

And we, women and men both, don’t believe that women’s fundamental rights should be nibbled away around the edges. We believe that abortion is healthcare, a fundamental human right that the majority of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, support, and that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed.

When the Democrats unveiled their “Better Deal” last week, they focused on economic policies related to job creation, wages, and income inequality. That’s all well and good, but they left abortion rights off the table, and what is abortion if not an economic issue? Women know this, especially poor ones. And, in the state of Texas, which has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, access to healthcare—and yes, to abortion—can be the difference between life and death.

 We recognize that different candidates have different beliefs, not just on abortion, but on a huge range of issues. Still, a statement from one of our most powerful party leaders serves as a proxy statement of our values. Wishy-washy equivocations—and not just on abortion, but on immigration, on civil rights, on income inequality—weaken all of us. I always think of an old saying: If voters are given the choice between a real Republican and a fake Republican, they’ll choose the real Republican every time.

I refuse to believe that most Americans (or even most Republicans) can look at today’s GOP and see their own values reflected in its erratic leader. But even though, as we Democrats are fond of repeating, our values are the values of the majority of Americans, Trump won because so many people stayed home. And why did they stay home? Because they didn’t really believe that we believed what we said we believed. And why should they, when we keep compromising and hedging?

Let’s not forget who the most reliable Democratic voters are—women of color, who are most likely to suffer the consequences of Democrats “compromising” on reproductive rights. Texas Latinas are twice as likely to be uninsured and lack healthcare access as white women in Texas, and nationwide, black women are four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women. And one more thing: Who has powered the resistance against Trump, and who will inevitably be the most motivated voters in the next election? Women. I was initially shocked to discover that my own resistance group, Daily Action, was 86 percent female, but it’s consistent with all the other data about the postelection landscape. We are the ones showing up and marching and placing calls and fighting to take back our country while our party heads fiddle.

It’s a truism to say that my state, Texas, isn’t a red state: It’s a nonvoting state. We consistently rank in the bottom five states in the country in voter turnout. Perhaps Texans, especially the Democrats among us, stay at home because they don’t have any clear sense of what we stand for. I have one idea of how to get more Democratic women to polling stations: Stand up for them. Let’s cut out the whimpering and stop reducing us to an “interest group.”

We are the base of the Democratic party, so let’s start talking about what happens in states like mine where reproductive rights have been attacked and eroded over and over and over again, and let’s start defending women’s rights to make their own decisions about their health and families. And let’s extend the principle of treating people decently—regardless of their sex, religion, race, or sexuality—and start talking to them like adults. It’s about time we had some of those in Washington.