The Last Pro-Life Democrat

Congressman Daniel Lipinski arrives at the Chicago Ridge Metra commuter train station before campaigning for re-election in Chicago Ridge, Ill., January 25, 2018. (Kamil Krzacznski/Reuters)
Soon every Democrat in Congress will favor legal abortion.

Funny that we are still fighting over Governor Casey — Robert Casey Sr. of Pennsylvania — and his role at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

Casey was a moderate, anti-abortion Democrat, something that already was a dying breed back in those days. He wanted to address the convention, and he was denied the opportunity to do so — something that was unusual for the governor of a big state. It was understood by practically everybody at the time — by people on both sides of the abortion debate — that this was an exercise in enforcement on the part of the convention, which was co-chaired that year by one of the most progressive governors in the country, Ann Richards of Texas, whose daughter would go on to enjoy a lucrative career in the abortion industry. The Democrats were in no mood to hear from a pro-lifer, especially if he intended to actually speak about the question of abortion. This was the uncontroversial view of the case in 1992.

But since then, there has been a concerted effort by certain parties on the left to rewrite that history. The Democrats like to think of themselves as open, big-hearted people who welcome debate and disagreement, except when they think you should be put in jail for having the wrong views about an issue. And so the facts that everybody understood in 1992 have been recast as a totalitarian “big lie” foisted upon (the tiny slice of) the American public (that pays attention to that sort of thing) by those who wish to smear the Left. Kevin Drum, a lefty in good standing, revisited the public record in 2005 and concluded that “Casey was denied a speaking slot because he wanted to give a pro-life speech, not simply because Casey himself was pro-life.” That seems to me a reasonable interpretation of the record. Drum adds: “I don’t think there’s any evidence at all that simply being pro-life prevents you from speaking at Democratic conventions, either in 1992 or any other year.” That is no longer quite his view: “There’s no question the Democratic Party is less tolerant of pro-lifers now than it was in 2005,” he says.

Dan Lipinski surely agrees with him. The moderate, anti-abortion Democrat from Chicago has just been turned out by his party, with a left-wing primary challenger backed by abortion money sending him into retirement. In the early 2000s, Democrats for Life had more than 40 members of Congress among its members. Lipinski is, in practice, the last of them, though Democrats have been known to define “for life” with elasticity sufficient to accommodate Senator Bobby Casey Jr. and his 100 percent NARAL rating. Senator Bernie Sanders has declared that the pro-abortion position is “essential” to being a Democrat. Senator Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both supported Lipinski’s opponent.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, who made a very good living as the conscience of the Democratic Party, was devoutly pro-life until the political winds shifted. He used to speak of being “born out of wedlock and against the advice that my mother received from her doctor.” Even Hillary Rodham Clinton until the day before yesterday acknowledged that an abortion is morally different from an appendectomy, repeating her husband’s famous formulation holding that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” The Reverend Jackson had a change of heart. As the Washington Post put it, he concluded that “moral positions shouldn’t be imposed on public policy.” I wonder why he thinks it is that fraud is illegal, or why we have a Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was nothing if not a moral measure.

Democrats are a funny bunch when it comes to their hopscotch libertarianism: Putting an unborn child to death? Sure — all about choice. Install a wheelchair ramp with a 5.1-degree slope instead of a 4.8-degree slope? They will literally make a federal case out of it. For the Democrats, deciding what sex you are is a choose-your-own-adventure story, but use the wrong pronoun and it’s a hate crime. (It isn’t only the United Kingdom’s health-care system they envy.) Marijuana, yes; vaping, no. Etc. One begins to suspect that they are not taking this individual-autonomy thing all that seriously.

Abortion is a manifestation of the superstitious American character. As a scientific matter, there is no question about what happens in an abortion: A living individual human organism is put to death at an early stage of development. No amount of metaphysical hand-waving about “personhood” is going to change that. And that is why they must have uniformity and moral homogeneity: Not only is there no room for Dan Lipinski, but Americans at large must be coerced into participating in abortion by paying for it out of public funds. Alcoholics always secretly (or not so secretly) hate the one guy at the party who doesn’t drink, because they feel rebuked by him. It is safer when everybody is participating, and there is no judgment when we all have blood on our hands. Governor Casey could not be permitted to speak because the Democrats could not permit themselves to hear.

Every cult has its rituals and its sacred things, and Eros, too, is a jealous god.

You didn’t think this was about politics, did you?

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