BETHESDA, Maryland, January 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, one of only three House Democrats to turn against the health care bill based on its abortion funding, said that it was “extremely difficult” to contradict the party bosses, and that many of his own party now want him gone because of the strength of his pro-life conviction.
“It was very difficult for me, what I went through with the health care bill. But there was never any question for me what I was going to do. I was not going to support a bill that provided taxpayer funding of abortion,” Lipinski told a crowd of youth at the 2011 Students for Life of America’s (SFLA) National Conference in Bethesda Sunday night.
In March of last year, Lipinski joined Marion Berry of Arkansas and Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts as the only Democrats to change their vote from “yes” to “no” over the lack of Hyde-like restrictions barring taxpayer funding of abortion. Berry and Lipinski also supported a motion to recommit the bill back to the Senate with the Stupak ban included.
Some pro-life Democrats, who had resisted supporting the bill until the eleventh hour, claimed that President Obama’s Executive Order placing Hyde-amendment restrictions on the bill provided adequate protection. However, like Lipinski, top pro-life groups disagreed and continued to vehemently oppose the bill. The division became so acerbic that one Democrat who ultimately supported the bill, Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio, launched a defamation lawsuit backed by Democrats for Life against the Susan B. Anthony List for accusing him of voting for taxpayer-funding abortion.
The position of pro-life groups received further confirmation last week, when former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said that he came up with the Executive Order idea in order to break pro-life resistance to the bill while “allow[ing] the Stupak Amendment not to exist by law.”
Lipinski told the audience of about 1,800 youth that “the most important thing is don’t lose hope, because there’s always things that are discouraging along the way.” “On the health care bill, it was extremely difficult for me to go against the president, go against the party leadership in the House, to say no, I cannot support this bill if it funds abortion,” he said.
The lawmaker also noted that his pro-life views have put him at odds with Democrat forces, who he predicted would work hard to remove him from the primary in the next election. “There are people especially in the Democrat party who don’t want me to be there,” said Lipinski. “They don’t want any pro-life voices in the Democratic party.”
“But … from when I was first elected, I always said, I’m going to be pro-life no matter what. I will give up being a member of Congress before I will ever give up being pro-life.”
While he says he “never purposely sought to become one of the faces of the pro-life movement in Congress,” the congressman said, “you never know what is going to come your way.” “I’m very happy that God has put me in this place,” said Lipinski, who is a Catholic.
As a final note, Lipinski exhorted the young pro-life crowd not to succumb to the vitriolic spirit of politics as usual.
“When you’re in politics, there’s a lot of bad blood that comes about. I disagree very strongly with my colleagues who want no restrictions on abortion … but it’s critical that we always show that we do this out of love,” he said. “This is what the pro-life movement is about, is love.”