Illinois pro-life Democrat after primary loss: “no higher calling” than standing with the vulnerable

Member of Congress Dan Lipinski, representing Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District, was defeated in his party’s primary on March 18. What makes this notable is that Lipinski is a pro-life Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and has served his district since 2005. The abortion advocate who beat him did so by only a narrow margin, but that was all she needed. Lipinski will serve out his term and then hand over the reins in January.

What Lipinski said after his loss ought to be remembered. There’s much to reflect upon, and it’s not just for Democrats.

There was one issue that loomed especially large in this campaign, the fact that I am pro-life. I was pilloried in millions of dollars of TV ads and mailers. I was shunned by many of my colleagues and other Democratic Party members and operators because of my pro-life stance. The pressure in the Democratic Party on the life issue has never been as great as it is now. Over the years I’ve watched many other politicians succumb to pressure and change their position on this issue. I have always said that I would never give up being pro-life and standing up for babies in the womb. Judy and I, and tens of millions of Catholics hold and live this belief. But it is not just based on religious belief, it is based on science which shows us that life begins at conception. Knowing this, I could never give up protecting the most vulnerable human beings in the world, simply to win an election. 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.

Rep. Lipinski at March 18 news conference, quoted in National Review Online.

Parental notification: repeal vs. litigation

Jill Stanek is reporting that the Illinois Supreme Court today upheld an Illinois parental notification law passed in 1995. Yes, 1995. The plaintiffs may of course appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, if their apparently-deep pockets haven’t been emptied yet. It’s not a particularly strict law, but evidently even a whiff of parental notification is enough to justify eighteen years of litigation. Who paid for all that lawyering, anyway? Plaintiffs are listed as “The Hope Clinic for Women Ltd., et al.” I suspect the financing came from somewhere among the et al .

Does this mean anything for New Hampshire’s parental notification law? Not directly, of course. It’s interesting, however, that the Illinois law was apparently not repealed since 1995, which would have brought litigation to a halt. Pro-life elected officials make a difference, you see.

I speculated repeatedly last year that repeal of New Hampshire’s law would be a priority for the state’s abortion providers, now that Gov. Hassan is in office and there is a Democratic House majority. The Senate’s 13-11 Republican majority is unlikely to block repeal; Republican Senators Stiles and Odell voted against passage of the law. I was wrong about repeal being taken up this year, but I still believe it will come up before the 2014 election. The General Court reconvenes in January. Repeal is cheaper and quicker than litigation. I don’t see the Illinois experience being repeated in the Granite State.