The Democrats’ Abortion Problem

How their refusal to moderate on the issue will cost them in November

On March 17, 2020, veteran Congressman Daniel W. Lipinski lost his bid for re-election to a ninth term by a margin of fewer than 3,000 votes. He was unseated in the Democratic primary for his suburban Chicago district by Marie Newman, a darling of the party’s rising hard-left faction. Newman, who narrowly lost to Lipinski two years earlier, was backed by the pro-abortion groups Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List, as well as by progressive superstar Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Cory Booker (NJ), Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY). Newman’s upset win could be largely attributed to the Democratic Party’s sudden shift toward the radical left and the unusual amount of high-profile endorsements she received for a challenger. However, there was another major factor that led to Lipinski’s defeat: he is pro-life.

Leah Greenberg, the Co-Executive Director of Indivisible, another left-wing group that threw its support behind Newman, said that the businesswoman’s narrow plurality win had “big implications for what it means to be a Democrat in the Trump era.” Greenberg continued stating that the “voters in Illinois’ 3rd District have sent a clear message: there is no room in the Democratic Party for…anti-choice and anti-healthcare conservatives.” Contrary to Greenberg’s characterization, Lipinski is far from “conservative.” He voted with his party nine times out of ten, including to impeach President Trump. He backed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in 2016. His Congressional record has earned him a 91% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, a whopping 7% from the NRA and 10% and 20% ratings, respectively, from FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, groups that rank members of Congress on how conservative they are.

Greenberg therefore was implying that if a person is pro-life, he or she must be right-wing. This assertion is not only obviously wrong, it is straight-up dumb. One can hold progressive views on virtually every issue and still believe that unborn children have a right to live. As a pro-life moderate myself, I find it baffling that the leadership on the left, who is supposed to stand for equality and justice for all, especially the marginalized and oppressed, completely dehumanizes the most innocent human beings. For example, Planned Parenthood, a major Democratic donor, was caught harvesting and selling parts of aborted babies, a disgusting and reprehensible operation which Vice-Presidential nominee Kamala Harris herself attempted to help cover up. The Democratic leadership has taken a “litmus test approach,” meaning that one must fully support abortion without exceptions to be considered a true “Democrat.” This is the same supposedly “moderate” party leadership that blackballed Lipinski, while endorsing openly anti-Semitic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for re-election.

Aside from the departing Lipinski, the only truly anti-abortion members of the Democratic Congressional caucus are and Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX), who barely survived his own primary challenge this year, and Rep. Collin Peterson (MN), who represents a district that Trump won by 30 points. Sen. Bob Casey (PA), Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), and Rep. Ben McAdams (UT) also identify as “pro-life,” but their voting records are mixed at best. There were dozens of pro-life Democrats in Congress twenty years ago, and in a couple of years, this number likely will be zero.

Kristen Day, the Executive Director of Democrats for Life America asked former Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) at a town hall if he would support moderating the Democratic platform on abortion. After all, as currently written it supports forcing taxpayers to fund abortions on demand, up until birth. In a long, meandering response, Buttigieg effectively told Day, a lifelong Democrat and former Congressional Chief of Staff, that she was not welcome in team blue anymore, due to her being pro-life. When confronted with the question of whether or not her party was becoming exclusively pro-abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that there were pro-life people in her extended family. “You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic party?” she quipped. Well, it’s sure looking like it.

The roughly 20 million pro-life Democrats like Ms. Day are now stuck at a crossroads. This is not to mention pro-life independent voters like me, who may lean liberal on a multitude of issues but absolutely can’t get ourselves to vote for a party that has passed laws, like the one in my state, making it legal to kill babies born alive.

This couldn’t have happened at a more unfortunate time for the Democrats. The Supreme Court vacancy left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has propelled the abortion debate back to the forefront of American political discussion, in an election year to boot. Ginsburg was a staunch activist for legal abortion and now President Trump has the unique opportunity to replace her with a pro-life judge, and every indication is that he will most certainly nominate a steadfast defender of life. Also, Trump has stated that he will nominate a woman, which to me is beautifully ironic as the left has framed abortion as a “women’s rights” issue.

 If Trump’s pick is confirmed, it would give the Court a historic 6-3 conservative majority who might finally strike down or modify the interpretation of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, allowing more states to pass laws protecting the unborn. Right now, it is unknown if Trump would be able to get his pick approved by the Senate in the next month and a half before the election. If not, the vote in November would prove crucial to the status of legal abortion for the foreseeable future.

For an undecided pro-life voter, the choice between the two tickets is clear – and I say this as someone who is personally not a fan of Trump at all. The Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and the Kamala Harris is their most pro-abortion ticket ever. The duo is even the first to support getting rid of the incredibly popular and longstanding Hyde Amendment, which would allow abortions funded through our federal tax dollars. Given that the Supreme Court is hanging in the balance, 70% Americans oppose abortion on demand without any restrictions, and pro-life single-issue voters greatly outnumber their pro-abortion counterparts, the Democrats’ strategy of alienating millions of American voters for the sake of ideological purity will almost certainly doom them this year.

November 3 will be here before we know it. Yes, Biden is leading in the polls right now, but so was Hillary Clinton at this point four years ago – and we all know what happened. The Democrats’ luck is running out. Abortion has already been a loser for them, and the Supreme Court vacancy has made it an exponentially more important issue this cycle. It will only be when President Trump is sworn in for a second term, the party will realize they made a grave mistake embracing extremism, while they should have stuck to the big tent approach that worked well in the past. They soon will realize that they should have listened to Kristen Day and moderated their platform to at least allow a diversity of thought on the abortion issue. They will be desperately trying to win back the millions of once-reliable Democratic votes they have lost. They will be looking to people like Dan Lipinski to right the ship – even though they hung him out to dry.

It all goes full circle in the end.


Further reading