Pro-life former congressman: Catholics in politics need to be ‘different’

Lipinski Former congressman Dan Lipinski/ EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

A Catholic former Democratic congressman said that President Biden’s pro-abortion policies flout what it means to live as a Catholic in public life.

“Catholics should be different. We shouldn’t just be Democrats, Republicans, and follow the party line,” said former congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), in an interview that aired on Thursday night on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

“Catholics really have an obligation and an understanding of what the dignity of the individual means,” he added. “We need to live that out in public life if we are in office, or we’re just a citizen and we’re voting. We need to follow that.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not what we usually see, on either side of the aisle,” he said.

Lipinski spoke on the 100-day mark of Biden’s presidency. A former eight-term congressman from Illinois’ third district, Lipinski was known as the last reliable pro-life vote among House Democrats. He lost his 2020 primary to now-Congresswoman Marie Newman, who is Catholic and pro-abortion.

During Biden’s first 100 days in office, he began by issuing a statement in support of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide; Biden made the statement on Jan. 22, the 48th anniversary of Roe.

Several days later, the president repealed the Mexico City Policy, allowing for U.S. global health assistance to go to pro-abortion groups.

Under Biden’s presidency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in the process of repealing rules to allowg abortion providers to receive Title X family planning funding. The administration’s proposal would also require that Title X funding recipients to provide abortion counseling upon request.

Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is rolling back regulations of the abortion pill regimen, allowing for it to be prescribed and dispensed remotely during the pandemic.

Biden’s record on abortion “is what we expected,” Lipinski said on Thursday. “It’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing, nonetheless.”

Biden has also pledged to repeal the Hyde Amendment, allowing for taxpayer-funded abortion. The decades-old policy – which bars funding of elective abortions in congressional appropriations – was not included in the recent American Rescue Plan, a nearly-$2 trillion COVID relief bill that Biden signed into law.

Some House Democrats are pushing for Biden’s budget request to Congress to not include the Hyde Amendment, giving the green light for Congress to not include the policy in appropriations bills for the 2022 fiscal year.

“We need to save the Hyde Amendment,” Lipinski said, adding that he is encouraging Catholics to contact their member of Congress in support of the policy.

If Congress passes funding bills without the policy included, “I’m hoping that it doesn’t even get to the President’s desk,” he said; if it does, he said he hopes that BIden has “second thoughts” and vetoes the legislation.

Biden has also pledged to sign the Equality Act, legislation which passed the House and is currently in the Senate. The bill would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected legal classes in federal civil rights law.

Critics of the legislation, including the U.S. bishops’ conference, say it would codify transgender ideology in law, threaten the privacy of women, and force many people and organizations to support same-sex marriage and transgender ideology against their consciences.

Lipinski did vote for a version of the Equality Act in 2019, saying at the time that he opposed discrimination and would work to resolve religious freedom concerns in the legislation.

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He did offer some praise for President Biden’s rhetoric in office, pointing to Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

“I have some hope there, because this is something that Republicans have been talking about, and I’m glad to see that. We need to do more to help families with children,” he said of Biden’s promoting the American Families Policy during the address. Biden’s $1.8 trillion proposal includes investments in a comprehensive paid leave program and child care, and an expansion of the child tax credit.

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