Abortion, not winning, is top Democratic priority, Lipinski says

Lipinski Getty 1 Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee March 20, 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Democratic Party's extreme support of abortion will damage its chances at the ballot box this fall, one outgoing pro-life Democratic congressman says.

"The Democratic Party asserts that its highest priority right now is to defeat President Trump. The party's treatment of pro-life voters belies that claim," Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) wrote on Wednesday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Lipinski is a Catholic eight-term congressman representing Illinois' third congressional district in Chicago's southwest and suburbs. He is recognized as one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress, and lost his primary election to pro-abortion challenger Marie Newman on March 17.

In his Wednesday op-ed "No Compromise on Life," Lipinski wrote that "rather than acknowledging" that one-third of Democratic voters identify as pro-life, "party leaders and presidential candidates refuse to tolerate anyone who doesn't support abortion on demand at any time, paid for by taxpayers."

His primary opponent, Newman, was supported by national pro-abortion groups including the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Planned Parenthood, and EMILY's List. The groups were part of a coalition that announced a $1.4 million investment in the race late in February, highlighting among other things Lipinski's pro-life record.

He broke with party leadership on key pro-life votes, including his vote against the Affordable Care Act in 2010 in part because of its abortion funding. He supported "pain-capable" 20-week abortion bans, bills stripping Planned Parenthood of federal funding, and mandating that babies surviving abortions receive medical care.

In his speech on March 18 that unofficially conceded the race to Newman- not every precinct had been officially counted at that time-Lipinski said that abortion was a primary issue in the race, but that he could not compromise his principles on the life issue to win the election.

"There was one issue that loomed especially large in this campaign, the fact that I am pro-life," he said.

"Over the years I've watched many other politicians succumb to pressure and change their position on this issue," he noted, adding that "I could never give up protecting the most vulnerable human beings in the world, simply to win an election."

Every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate supports taxpayer-funded abortion. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) said there was no more room in the party for pro-lifers, while former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and former congressman Beto O'Rourke said that abortion up until the point of birth should be up to the mother and not the state to decide.

"My faith teaches-and the Democratic Party preaches-that we should serve everyone, especially the most vulnerable," Lipinski said on March 18.

"To stand in solidarity with the vulnerable is to become vulnerable. There is no higher calling for anyone. But politicians don't like to be vulnerable."

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