An Illinois Democrat called out his own party after his pro-life stance prompted backlash and the cancellation of a fundraiser to support him.
Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the rare Democratic opponents of abortion, criticized the lack of tolerance by Democrats, citing it as a reason President Donald Trump scored an election victory in 2016, The New York Times reported.
Lipinski’s anti-abortion views sparked criticism from Planned Parenthood which was to be expected, but he was also targeted by his fellow Democrats and even his Illinois primary challenger. And with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair backing out of a fundraiser for him, Lipinski complained that “there are people in the party who are not tolerant.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, the head of the DCCC, did not explain the decision to cancel next month’s planned $1,000-per-person breakfast in Chicago, but “she left little doubt that her decision was driven by her party’s anger over the new abortion laws in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and elsewhere,” the Times reported.
“I’m proud to have a 100 percent pro-choice voting record and I’m deeply alarmed by the rapidly escalating attacks on women’s access to reproductive care in several states,” Bustos said in a statement, while she also reiterated support for “our big tent Democratic caucus.”
“This does not change how I will work as DCCC chair to protect our big-tent Democratic caucus,” she added, warning the party’s left-wing that “every dollar spent trying to defeat one of our Democratic incumbents is a dollar that we cannot spend defeating Republicans.”
Lipinski’s progressive pro-abortion primary challenger, Marie Newman, called Bustos’ support of her friend “shocking” earlier this month.
The day after Alabama voted to restrict a woman’s right to choose, it’s shocking the DCCC is fervently supporting a representative who is anti-choice, anti-birth control, and anti-health care for all. Chip in and support a candidate who trusts women ➡️ https://t.co/Dgxgl6OdxX https://t.co/dSbWTHf6b2
— Marie Newman (@Marie4Congress) May 15, 2019
“Being able to have control over your own body is a human right, and the Democratic platform is crystal clear about supporting people’s ability to access full sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion,” Kelley Robinson, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement praising the decision by Bustos.
Lipinski understood that Bustos was “in an incredibly difficult spot” but also pointed to the bigger issue in the party.
“That’s how we got President Trump. People felt like they weren’t welcome in the party,” the eighth-term legislator told The New York Times on Wednesday.
According to The Times:
They tried to oust Mr. Lipinski last year but fell short because of his enduring support from Chicago’s Democratic organization, an influx of money, and votes from Republicans and independents.
The son of former Representative William Lipinski, who bequeathed him the seat, Mr. Lipinski has long raised the ire of his party’s base, and not just because of abortion. He opposed the Affordable Care Act, refused to endorse President Barack Obama’s re-election and has been uneasy about gay rights (though in a sign that he is trying to position himself for re-election, Mr. Lipinski last week did support a sweeping measure protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans).
“Cheri had agreed to attend this fundraiser many months ago because of our friendship, but we both understand that her most important job right now is her work leading the DCCC,” Lipinski said in a statement, according to Roll Call. “We agree that it is in the best interest of House Democrats that she does not attend the event. I very much appreciate Cheri Bustos’ work at the DCCC and her steadfast support of me through the years.”
Newman praised the decision by Bustos, calling it “wonderful” that the party moved to “unify over shared values.”
It’s wonderful to watch our Democratic party unify over shared values. Yes, we’re a big tent party, but Rep. Lipinski does not represent the priorities of our community in #IL03 like bridging the income gap, healthcare for all & advancing workers & working families #NewDayInIL03 https://t.co/V4gDhc50Sn
— Marie Newman (@Marie4Congress) May 22, 2019
Newman lost to Lipinski in the 2018 primary by just two points.
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