Pro-Life Democrat Dan Lipinski Defeats Abortion Lobby Candidate in Illinois Primary

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., campaigns for re-election in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District at a commuter train station in Berwyn, Ill., Monday, Jan. 14, 2008. Those challenging Lipinski portray him as too conservative and a pal of Republicans _ as well as a by-product of nepotism because his father, the …
AP/Brian Kersey

Rep. Dan Lipinski – one of the last pro-life Democrats in Congress – beat out the abortion lobby’s little-known primary challenger in a tight race that came to represent the abortion industry’s coup of the soul of a party that claims to welcome “diversity,” but apparently not when it comes to abortion.

Lipinski, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and the lead co-sponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, supported House Republicans’ efforts to investigate Planned Parenthood following the release of videos that led to allegations the group had harvested the body parts of aborted babies for profit. He narrowly beat out Marie Newman, a pro-abortion, pro-gun control business owner who runs an anti-bullying organization.

Newman was endorsed by Lipinski’s longstanding House colleagues Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Guitierrez – both liberal Democrats from Illinois who said Lipinski was a dinosaur from the old Democratic Party.

“I assure you that this district is overwhelmingly pro-choice,” Schakowsky said, according to the Washington Post.

“The nation has moved forward,” said Gutierrez about Lipinski. “He would be all right in Congress in 1996.”

Abortion lobbyists NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Emily’s List, joined LGBT activists the Human Rights Campaign, SEIU, and MoveOn to spend more than $1 million on an ad campaign to oust Lipinski.

However, national pro-life organization the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) launched a six-figure get-out-the-vote effort for Lipinski that reached more than 23,000 voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

“We are thrilled with Congressman Lipinski’s victory over Marie Newman and the abortion industry which is increasingly pushing the Democratic Party left on abortion,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “This is a win not only for Rep. Lipinski and the pro-life movement, but for the majority of Americans who support common ground pro-life policies like limiting abortion after five months.”

Dannenfelser points to multiple national polls that have found as many as 51 percent of Democrats support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection legislation, which would limit abortion after five months of pregnancy. Support for the measure is strong among traditional Democratic voter groups and especially high among millennials (78 percent), African-Americans (70 percent), and Hispanics (57 percent).

SBA List sent out a team of 70 canvassers, including SBA List staff and students from nearby universities, who visited 17,000 pro-life Democrat households in the Illinois district in the final days of the race. The campaign also included direct mail and digital ads.

“Dan Lipinski is a pro-life hero of legendary courage and integrity,” Dannenfelser added. “He’s not just a pro-life vote in Congress. He is a leader on this issue and, in 2010, he stood firm against Obamacare’s expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion even under intense pressure from party leaders to give in. It was an honor and a privilege for our team to support him and we look forward to continuing to work with him in Congress.”

SBA List notes that, among Democratic primary voters targeted by its group in the district, 64 percent said they oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, and 58 percent committed to voting for Lipinski, with 8 percent voting for Newman or pulling the GOP ballot.

The national pro-life group is already on the ground in four 2018 Senate battleground states, with plans to expand by reaching out to low-turnout pro-life voters as well as Democratic women and Hispanics to educate them on their Senator’s record on life.

Newman received endorsements as well from New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and feminist Gloria Steinem.

Planned Parenthood portrayed Lipinski as a pawn of the Trump administration.

“Dan Lipinski has rubber stamped the Trump-Pence agenda to undermine women’s control over their own lives and bodies,” said Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, according to WindyCityMedia Group. “Lipinski has voted time and time again to block his constituents from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing at Planned Parenthood, and wants to make abortion illegal.”

In her book What Happened, failed presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Democrats who personally oppose abortion must vote for abortion rights and pro-abortion legislation.

“[W]hen personal views on abortion become public actions – votes on legislation or judges or funding that erode women’s rights – that’s a different matter,” Clinton wrote. “We have to remain a big tent, but a big tent is only as strong as the poles that hold it up.”

In April 2017, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez announced that pro-life candidates are not welcome in his party.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said, as the HuffPost reported. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Following Perez’s statement, Robert David Sullivan observed at the Jesuit magazine America, “Abortion is proving that the Democratic Party can outdo Republicans in self-destruction.”

“Abortion is now the single issue defining the Democrats, and Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, is the de facto head of the party,” the author continued. “This gives the Republicans a major advantage in holding off electoral losses if the Trump administration continues to founder.”

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been hailed by national pro-life advocates as the “most pro-life president in modern history.”

In the general election, Lipinski will run against Republican candidate Arthur Jones, a self-proclaimed Nazi and Holocaust denier, as CBS reports.

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