The Corner

Politics & Policy

Can Democratic Politicians Still Be Pro-Life?

Dan Lipinski (campaign image via Facebook)

Tomorrow’s rally at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., will feature at least a little bit of bipartisanship, thanks to Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski.

Less than one year ago, Lipinski faced an intense primary challenge from a progressive candidate, Marie Newman, in Illinois’ third congressional district. Her desire to unseat him stemmed almost entirely from one thing: His opposition to abortion. A Blue Dog Democrat, Lipinski has been pro-life his entire career — and unlike the vast majority of his Democratic colleagues who claim to be “personally pro-life,” he votes like he means it.

He is one of just a tiny handful of Democratic politicians left in Washington willing to vote for legislation such as the popular Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, or the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which requires that physicians provide medical care to infants born alive after a botched abortion procedure.

This drew the attention of abortion-rights lobbying groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, both of which backed Newman’s campaign. She also received vocal support from progressive politicians such as Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) and socialist Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

Lipinski survived the primary, but only narrowly — by a margin of fewer than 3,000 votes. Despite Newman’s challenge and the powerful left-wing interest groups teamed against him, the Democratic representative refused to soften his pro-life position even a bit.

Although his willingness to vote against abortion attracted progressive opposition in the first place, Lipinski likely owed his eventual win in large part to his pro-life supporters. Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life lobbying group, organized a last-minute get-out-the-vote effort in the third congressional district, recruiting local students to knock on doors and talk to voters about the differences between Lipinski and Newman’s stances on abortion.

Now, almost exactly ten months after he pulled off that narrow win, he’ll be speaking at the March for Life. At a time when the Democratic party becomes increasingly radical on abortion — going so far as to embrace a platform that opposes the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer money from directly funding abortion procedures — that small display of bipartisan collaboration for the pro-life cause is something to be celebrated.

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