For decades, the pro-abortion wing of the Democratic Party has tried to show pro-life Democrats the door. In Tuesday’s primary they finally succeeded in driving out one of the last pro-life Democrats in Congress, Dan Lipinski, who has served the 3rd Congressional District of Illinois for 15 years. It’s a devastating loss for his district, for the citizens of Illinois who have seen state-level Democratic lawmakers push an increasingly radical abortion agenda, and for pro-life advocates across the nation.
Mr. Lipinski’s legacy on life is one of uncommon integrity and courage, bucking the sad trend of Democrat leaders vying for the abortion lobby’s favor. As co-chair of the bipartisan House Pro-Life Caucus, Lipinski is not merely a reliable vote for life, but a champion.
In 2010 when “Blue Dog” Democrats in the House of Representatives caved to party pressure to pass Obamacare, the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion since Roe v. Wade, Mr. Lipinski bravely stood alone in refusing to compromise pro-life principles. Earlier this month he was one of only three House Democrats to vote in favor of language that would have protected babies born alive in failed abortions.
For this reason, Susan B. Anthony List and Women Speak Out PAC went all in to support Mr. Lipinski and defend against pro-abortion challenger Marie Newman in his last two primaries. In 2018, our team of 70 canvassers — including SBA List staff and students from nearby universities — visited 17,000 pro-life Democrat households in the 3rd District in the final days of the race. These voters helped deliver victory for Mr. Lipinski by a margin of about 1,600 votes.
This year we built upon those efforts with a campaign of digital ads, phone calls, and voter contact mail to turn out pro-life Democrats for Lipinski once again. His was a hard-fought race. Unfortunately, these efforts were not enough. The pro-choice lobby spent $1 million on TV ads alone to unseat Mr. Lipinski. Turnout then hit near-record lows amid uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Local outlets reported missing equipment and personnel at some polling places, and a heated public dispute broke out between Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago officials who wanted to postpone the election. It is heartbreaking to think about how many Illinoisans may have lost the critical opportunity to vote for a champion of life.
The expulsion of a pro-life hero like Mr. Lipinski from Congress is an ominous sign for pro-life Democrats and all who long to see both major parties hold a principled stance in favor of life. It is further proof Democratic Party leadership has been thoroughly taken over by abortion extremists, to the point that Democratic candidates for president declare that debate is over and pro-life Democrats do not even merit a voice within their party.
Joe Biden, the presumed nominee, now completely disavows his past support for the Hyde Amendment and promises to force taxpayers to pay for unlimited abortions.
Even so, it would be a huge mistake for the Democrats to interpret Mr. Lipinski’s defeat as the blueprint for a national strategy. Abortion extremism is deeply unpopular and divisive. Just in the 3rd District, nearly 46,000 voters cast ballots for Mr. Lipinski. Polling by Women Speak Out PAC this month found that 75 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in the district support protections for babies who survive abortions.
Forty-four percent support limits on abortion after the first trimester, and 45 percent oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. Nationally, more than half of Democrats support limiting painful late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy, with particularly strong support among traditional Democratic voter groups, including millennials (78 percent), African Americans (70 percent), and Hispanics (57 percent).
The bright spot of the night was the advancement of three strong pro-life women endorsed by SBA List Candidate Fund — Jeanne Ives in the 6th District, Mary Miller in the 15th, and Esther Joy King in the 17th – in the Republican primaries. Their wins reveal how stark the contrast between the two parties has grown.
President Trump and the pro-life Senate majority have done everything in their power to protect unborn children and their mothers, stop taxpayer funding of abortion, and fill the courts with outstanding constitutionalist judges. Meanwhile Mr. Biden and every other top Democrat stands in lock step with the extreme abortion lobby, backing abortion on demand through birth, funded by taxpayers, and even infanticide.
Clarity like this is a gift to the American people. For the overwhelming majority of Americans who support compassionate protections for unborn children and their mothers, the choice is very simple: President Trump is on their side. Now, pro-life voters rejected by the Democratic Party have another reason to appreciate the president’s consistent pro-life leadership. The party of Joe Biden does not speak to them or for them.
The loss of Mr. Lipinski raises the stakes of the coming elections and only increases our resolve to defeat abortion extremists this November. SBA List will work tirelessly in key battleground states through Election Day, reaching out to pro-life Democrats and Independents, as well as our base to ensure that every one of their voices is heard. Extremist Democrats should take no comfort in winning this skirmish. With the pro-life movement fully engaged, life will ultimately triumph.
• Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. Jill Stanek resides in the Chicago area and is Susan B. Anthony List’s national campaign chair.