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August 28, 2008

What it means to be a pro-life Democrat

Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois finds it very challenging to be a pro-life in a party that unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade. He is one of 17 Democrats given 100 percent pro-life rating by the National Right to Life Committee, and we spoke at a Democrats for Life reception earlier this evening.

What obstacles do you face as a pro-life Democrat?
It’s always a difficult issue for a pro-life Democrat, because the Democratic Party is not going to have a pro-life platform. It’s not going to happen. It’s very unfortunate, but I think it’s very important for the Democratic Party to have pro-life party. As some of my pro-life Democratic colleagues say, it’s no use preaching to the choir. You have to go out and evangelize. We just have to keep working on fellow Democrats. It’s a tough position to be in. I think the party from the top and leadership has been much more open to pro-life Democrats. Unfortunately, there are still some groups really trying to get rid of pro-life Democrats. I had a tough primary. I people come up to me and ask me, ‘what are you doing in the Democratic Party?’ The pro-choice groups gave funding to my opponent.

Why are you a Democrat?
I believe in so much of what the Democrats stand for, basically standing up for middle class families, for working people. I believe the government does have a role in some important areas of our society, helping to protect the environment, helping to protect workers, seniors. I think there are some places where they should be involved and I think it’s much better with the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party. But it’s not easy being a pro-life Democrat. So t’s not easy in the Democratic party. I have a lot of a pro-life constituents, too.

Why are you pro-life?
Because I believe life begins at conceptions. It comes from my faith as a Catholic. I don’t think it’s the only place that it comes from. Ever individual has to make a decision about when life began. Why draw a line somewhere else? We were all once an embryo. With the proper conditions, the natural conditions, I think an embryo becomes a child. That’s where we all started from, and that is where I think the line should be drawn. I think drawing lines in other places leaves room for where do we draw that line? I believe in the sanctity of life and it’s something I feel very strongly about.

I truly believe that the Democratic Party, especially now, has a better view of the future and where we should be going, but it’s not perfect. I’m willing to, when I think the Democratic Party is wrong, I’m willing to say it. I’m willing to speak up and willing vote for what I think is right.

What about Barack Obama?
I wish Barack Obama were pro-life. He’s not. I don’t have any expectation that in the future the Democrats are going to have a pro-life presidential candidate. Its disappointing to me, but I am a Democrat and will support the party.

Comments

The comments of Rep. Lipinski mirror my own feelings. The Democrats whole philosophy and outlook (in my opinion), with the very large exception of being pro-choice, meshes better with my Christian values than the Republicans. In my view, it is easier to change the Democrats views on abortion than change the Republican's views on sharing and caring about the environment and those less fortunate.
We need to remember the Republicans had several years where they controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency and did nothing about abortion. I think they have just used that one hot button issue to get votes and that needs to end.

From my perspective, it's far easier to be a "pro-life" Democrat than the tone of this interview suggests. For the 35 years that Republicans have been using Roe as a wedge issue, abortion remains the law of the land. So what have evangelicals and pro-life Catholics gotten for their unqualified support of "pro-life" candidates? An increasing disparity between rich and poor, a crisis of uninsured or under-insured Americans, an expansion of capital punishment, a weakening of civil liberties that protect people's right to practice religion, and preemptive warfare, among many other things about which Christians may understandably be concerned.

Instead of simply focusing on the two wedge issues--abortion and gay marriage--I would challenge you to ask Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery what exactly is un-Christian or unbiblical about the vast majority of issues and convictions on which pro-life Democrats agree with their party. It's a relevant question because it seems very likely that abortion will remain legal after four or eight years a McCain presidency. It also seems likely that more states will recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions. Besides, even if Roe is ruled unconstitutional by a Supreme Court filled with conservative justices--the dream of many evangelical Repbublican leaders--all that means is that abortion becomes a state rather than federal issue once again. I suspect that very few states would outlaw abortion.

Inasmuch as some pro-life Christians are questioning their unqualified support of Republicans, maybe it's because the trade-off for politicians saying the "right" words about something that won't change anyway is too great.

I was reading an article in Time Magazine yesterday on Barack Obama. The main feeling I was left with, after reading it, was, "Man, I wish this guy was pro-life!" Other than the abortion issue (which, to me, is THE issue), I think Barack Obama would be a wonderful president and bring about a lot of positive change in America. I can't relate to most of the demonizing of him. If he became pro-life, I'd vote for him over McCain hands down.

It's admirable that Rep. Lipinski is a "pro-life" democrat. I think the democrats definitely need to be evangelized just like the republicans do. However, I don't understand how he can remain pro-life while still "supporting the party" who's candidate voted not to protect children born alive after abortion??? I'm not saying he should switch over and vote for McCain, but Lipinski says he's pro-life AND Catholic. How then can he still support Obama???? Please Rep. Lipinski, put your Catholic principles and your pro-life principles ahead of your democratic principles!!! how can you evangelize the democrats by saying that you're Catholic and pro-life, but your faith and beliefs don't mean anything to you during an election year??

Rep. Lipinski cannot have his cake and eat it. If he votes for Obama he is voting for abortion. So he is not pro life. No Catholic in good conscience can vote for a pro abort. Out with this pro choice nonsense. Lets call abortion what it is. It is the destruction of the unborn child in the womb. It is against the Law of God. It breaks the Fifth Commandment. Voters have a choice between God's Law and Obama's law. Just remember we must all face our God.

"We need to remember the Republicans had several years where they controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency and did nothing about abortion. I think they have just used that one hot button issue to get votes and that needs to end." Have you not heard of Roe V. Wade? This has turned into a court, not a legislative issue. While they have failed miserably on other issues, the one thing they have done is end federal funding of abortion, appointed pro-life judges, and opposed embryonic stem cell research. Is that enough? Perhaps not, but to say they have done nothing ignores historical facts.

I feel like often I hear the accusation that Republicans don't care about the poor or the unfortunate, and that they're too focussed on abortion, and that Democrats care about the poor so Christians should start to migrate to them since "nothing is being done on Roe v. Wade." Of course, we all as Christians have to vote our conscience and we have to figure out what we value the most in our politicians. There is no "Christian" political party.

I take issue with the assumption that Republicans don't care about poverty or the poor. A lot of Republicans think that we need to give people a hand, not just a handout, to help them to be self-sufficient. I hate that I am accused of being heartless because I'm a Republican. Ironically study after study has shown that Republicans tend to be much more generous givers to charity than Democrats.

I am a big supporter of Obama, even though I am very pro-life. This is because the values of the Democratic party--care for the poor, health care for all, etc.--are the things that actually work to reduce abortions.I wish more Democrats would profess a pro-life stance, but I'd rather see action in preserving life (not just in utero, but in terms of war and poverty as well) than lip-service from Republicans who believe in the sanctity of life but focus instead on war and wealthy business owners.

The ignorance of true Republicanism displayed here is astounding. Contrary to Democratic talking points, Republicans are not earth-destroying, war-mongering creeps who only care about the rich and forget about the poor. For example, Democrats preach handouts while Republicans preach handups. Which is better? Redistribution of wealth or teaching someone a skill that will help them achieve prosperity? A thoughtful examination of Republican values, like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, will reveal to anyone that they are much more in line with Scripture than Democratic values of more taxes, more spending and more government.

To vote for a pro choice candidate simply because you've rationalized that it won't make any difference since nothing has changed in past 8 years with a republican in office doesn't make sense to me. Either you are for abortion or against it. One day you will stand before God and you will be accountable for your vote. As a christian I believe that abortion is wrong in God's eyes. While one president alone probably won't have the power to eliminate abortion we need to continue to elect presidents that have vowed to appoint conservative justices. And yes, then it would be a state issue and each state will have to decide. But lets get there first. If we elect Obama, based on his recent comments "above my paygrade", I don't believe we have the assurance that he will appoint the justices we need to rid this country of abortion.

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 3:11

Obama has pledged to siggn into law the freedo of choice act, making it all but impossible for states to limit abortion. He argued and voted against a live borth abortion ban.

How can anyone justify voting for someone who actively votes to increase abortion. PS. Abortion has declined under Bush and hopefully will continue to decline due to his judicial appointments. Do you actually beleive Obama is going to do the same?

Though I am quite frustrated with Obama's extreme pro-choice position, I do think there is hope for reducing abortions in the Democratic party becoming more open to pro-life members and the Republican party showing more concern for caring for women's needs. These changes would help the two parties collaborate more on the issue rather than dividing them.

Neither party reflects Christian values, but both adhere to different forms of naturalism. Both parties believe in religious indifferentism and freedoms to promote evil as the equal of good. Conservatives are simply liberals that are a step behind.

There is no hope in an Obama or McCain, but only when we repent and use Christ as our model and guide will this country turn around.

Softball interview. How about this: Please tell me how you can support someone whose election will result in more and more aborted babies? How can you support a candidate whose own voting record includes denying care to an unwanted baby already born? Are there any reporters at CT prepared to ask tough questions?

I am a pro-life independent who will be voting for Barack Obama on November 4th. I've voted Republican in the past because of their pro-life stance. In the first 6 years of Bush's Presidency, the Republicans did nothing to stop or curtail abortion. Why would I vote based on a canidates pro-life position again? I don't see any incentive for the Republican party to advance the pro-life agenda. They would put their voting base in grave jeopardy. People would have to look at other issues like, the economy, foreign policy, etc. I don't think the Republicans would be quite so appealing if that were the case.

"How about this: Please tell me how you can support someone whose election will result in more and more aborted babies? How can you support a candidate whose own voting record includes denying care to an unwanted baby already born? Are there any reporters at CT prepared to ask tough questions?"

I can answer that. I am pro-life Christian and a Democrat. I cannot vote Republican because:

1. I am pro-life, but not only for the unborn. George Bush's wars have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan. I do not believe any life is lessor than another. 80,000 civilians (women and children) in Iraq alone -- for a war of choice that has served the world nothing but harm. They call it "collateral damage". I believe that Republicans (incl John McCain) will continue to resort to wars of choice too swiftly and with no remorse -- Democrats will not (I hope).
2. Roe v Wade is law. The President cannot change it. Whether McCain or Obama is president will not lesson the number of abortions in this country. Unfortunate, but fact.
3. Climate change will kill millions in developing countries. Republican's do not believe in climate change. Democrats do.
4. The number one killer of God's children in the US is firearms. As heinous as abortion is, I cannot understand why Republicans fight for unfettered access to guns of any kind for everyone. Democrats are for gun control, and as a Christan so am I.
4. Many Republicans view on abortion is more bent on imposing their conservative religious dogma on society instead of just stopping abortion. I want to stop all abortions, but I don't want my children being taught religion in school. (Our children are taught religious values at home and at our church home, and I am vehemently against letting any public employee have any right to impart their religious views on my kids at public school on tax payers expense or any other expense -- whether such views coincide with mine or not.)
5. Republican's nominate judicial activists just as often or even more so than Democrats. Republican judges legislate from the bench against regulating Wall Street, against climate control, in favor of government intrusion in our privacy, for gun rights, etc.

I agree with Democratic Party values -- including freedom of religion and life & death issues -- on just about every topic but abortion. Yes it's a big disagreement and I wrestle with it often. But I strongly disagree with Republican life and death values (because they are non-Christian in my view) on just about every topic but one -- abortion. I believe I can better move politics toward righteousness by working to change my party's platform on abortion than by having to change the Republican's platform on pretty much everything else.

Absolute nonsense!
Obama is the most ANTI-LIFE candidate in history, except perhaps Sanger herself! He voted AGAINST the BAIPA 4 TIMES! How can anyone POSSIBLY say they are pro-life and support him? You are a hypocrite and a disgrace to call yourself pro-life and support him. And for all the 'pro-choice' Catholics - oxymoron - even the POPE HIMSELF calls the Democratic Party the Death Party! They care more about protecting the End of Life for a Criminal (Death Penalty opposition), than the Beginning of Life (in love with abortion) for an innocent baby! It's so twisted as not to be believable.

As a pro-life Democrat, I vote Democrat on the local level whenever a qualified pro-life Democrat is running for office, but unfortunately I have never been able to vote for my party for the office of U.S. president.

I see allot of good things in the democratic party. Unfortunately, as a christian I see some not so good things. And there is more things in the democratic party then just abortion that go against Christianity. Abortion is the big one though.

We can't forget that the democrats are against things that christianity and the Bible stands for like: against the ten commandments in public, against prayer in school, for gay marriage, for gay rights, and against the death penalty and a few other things.

When you add it all up folks, the republican party is the closest you are going to get to christian morals. Even the first republican president was against slavery. Today it's no longer slavery but abortin and all the things I mentioned above. Untill all of that changes, vote republican.

Please stop the "You have to vote for staunchly pro-life candidates if you're pro-life" retoric republicans. People have been doing that, yet abortions have gone up under Bush. Fancy that? You want to protect life with laws, yet oppose common sense measures to reduce abortions like contraception and sex education.

And please, there is no "christian party". Stop with that garbage.

You can not be pro life and vote for those who support abortion. Its impossible and you are fooling yourself and others into believing that you are.
If you were really pro life then you would stand firm against it and not waiver in that support.
Democrats who say they are pro life and vote their party are weak and simple minded with no real commitment to the life issue. How many babies lives will it take before you decide to really be pro life. You can't fool me.

When will people start realizing that you do not vote for one issue? You vote for the PERSON and you also vote placing your trust in them that they will carry out what they said they were going to do!

I believe you can be pro-life and Democrat. Just like you can be atheist, Republican, and pro-choice (I've met quite a few of people who identify themselves as such). I am not a party vote personally. I vote for the person. I wish my state would have more pro-life Democrats because I would probably vote for them.

Did it ever occur to anyone that the Democratic party's original platform on abortion was pro-life? It wasn't until extreme leftists throughout the 60's and 70's began a takeover and turned the party into what it is now.

Then there is the whole rhetoric about what is pro-life and what isn't. According to a Gallup poll, the majority of Americans would rather see abortion restricted but kept legal. Many people are willing to allow abortion to be legal for cases of rape and threat to the mother's life but if you play the game you need to be ready for the consequences of consensual sex. In reality, very few people are wholly pro-life (wanting to outright ban abortion and not allow for special circumstances) but I would say that many pro-life Democrats would rather see people taking more responsibility for their actions and allow abortion to remain legal under certain situations.