The morning after I narrowly lost my congressional seat in last week’s Illinois Democratic Primary, I decided to make a public statement and answer questions from the press. With the current wretched state of political discourse, I felt it important to be gracious in defeat.
One adviser said that I should focus on what our team accomplished for my constituents on transportation, the environment, jobs and quality of life. That was tempting; I am proud of our legacy. But a friend told me to be prepared for one question: “Looking back, would you have done anything different?” Abortion advocacy groups poured millions into my opponent’s campaign. If I had simply changed my position on abortion, there probably wouldn’t have been a contest. Abortion proponents wanted to hear me express regret about sticking with my pro-life beliefs.
So rather than wait for the question, I faced it head-on in my statement. I defended my pro-life position, which is rooted in both my Catholic faith and science. “I could never give up protecting the most vulnerable human beings in the world, simply to win an election,” I said. “My faith teaches, and the Democratic Party preaches, that we should serve everyone, especially the most vulnerable. To stand in solidarity with the vulnerable is to become vulnerable. But there is no higher calling for anyone.”
Politico’s Shia Kapos posed this question: “There are some pro-life Democrats, like Tim Kaine, who have found a way to come to terms with the fact that they do not believe in abortion but they also support a woman’s right to choose, so they have been able to kind of maneuver—there isn’t just black and white, there is some flexibility. Did Tim Kaine ever talk to you about that?”
I replied that if you believe life exists in the womb, you have to support policies that protect that life.
The Democratic Party prides itself on being the party of inclusion. Even with a pro-choice plank in the platform, we could concede that there’s a diversity of opinion on the issue, as we once did. That would make sense, since one-third of Democratic voters describe themselves as pro-life, and almost 6 in 10 support some abortion restrictions. But rather than acknowledging these voters’ viewpoint, party leaders and presidential candidates refuse to tolerate anyone who doesn’t support abortion on demand at any time, paid for by taxpayers.
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.
Mr. Lipinski, a Democrat, represents Illinois’s Third Congressional District.
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