Commentary Law and Policy

Meet the HR3 Ten: Daniel Lipinski, Daddy’s Boy

Sarah Jaffe

Meet Daniel Lipinski!  He represents the 3rd Congressional district in Illinois, and has since 2005. He was preceded in that seat by...Bill Lipinski. Yes, that's his dad. Yay, nepotism!

Ten Democrats cosponsored H.R.3, even with language redefining rape; four of those ten also apparently don’t care if pregnant women die. Sarah Jaffe takes a closer look at all ten, find all posted to date here.

Meet Daniel Lipinski!  He represents the 3rd Congressional district in Illinois, and has since 2005. He was preceded in that seat by…Bill Lipinski. Yes, that’s his dad. Yay, nepotism!

It gets better. David Bernstein in Chicago magazine calls the story of Lipinski the younger’s ascension “a classic Chicago move.”

He writes: 

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His father, William Lipinski, had held the Third Congressional District seat since 1983, but after winning the 2004 primary election William withdrew and then urged Democratic Party leaders to slate Daniel—living in Tennessee at the time—virtually assuring his son’s victory against token Republican opposition.

So his dad not only stepped aside to give his son the seat–he literally won the primary FOR him and then gave him the election. Those of you who’ve lived in a one-party machine city know that when Democrats control all the levers of power, the primaries are the real contest, bloody and vicious as any Democrat vs. Republican contest. But incumbents have a huge advantage that perhaps the son of the incumbent, apparently living in Tennessee, might not have had. 

Bernstein notes also that Lipinski was an aide to infamous Gov. Rod Blagojevich, when Blago was a congressman, and notes that Lipinski the elder was a key early backer of Blago’s run for the governorship. No word on what they think of Blago’s run for reality TV. 

Lipinski is such a gem that he not only cosponsors H.R. 3 but also H.R. 358, the “Let Women Die If Saving Them Might Harm a Theoretical Hair on a Fetus’s Underdeveloped Head” act, and of course H.R. 217, the Pence “Defund Healthcare Providers That Actually Help Prevent Abortions Act” and my favorite Orwellian-named “Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2011” (No, that one’s the REAL name.) He was also the only Illinois Democrat to oppose health care reform, though at least he had the sense not to join the GOP attempt to repeal it. 

You can also count Lipinski in with the Congresspeople who live closer to the Canadian border than the Mexican and yet are very concerned with building a border fence on our southern border. 

Lipinski’s top donors are in construction and real estate, and unions. Not really the folks who are insisting that abortion policy be a top priority. The Weglarz company is his top supporter, and their website calls them a “local real estate development and investment business,” not a “making sure women don’t have abortions even if it kills them” business. He’s gotten $41,400 from them as well as $40,500 from Scheck Industries

Recently, Lipinski joined Republicans in voting to roll back mercury emissions limits and other air pollution protections. The Chicagoist notes:

This might not be the most political site in Chicago’s blogosphere, but we like breathing. And given the entrenched problems this region already has, we would hope that Illinois’ Congressional delegation wouldn’t go out of their way to make it worse…sadly, so far this year, it hasn’t worked out that way.

The National Journal calls Lipinski the 200th most conservative member of Congress, more conservative than 55% of Congress on “social” issues (and than 57% on “foreign” issues, which I suppose includes immigration). 

On economic issues (other than health care, which Dean Baker repeatedly reminds us is the actual problem for our long-term economic health as a country), Lipinski is actually all right, supporting bills to invest in American manufacturing and opposing “free trade” with zero worker protections. But he apparently doesn’t see the connection between organizations like Planned Parenthood, which provide health care for low-income working people, and overall economic health. 

But wait–as the labor movement is seeing a resurgence thanks to teachers protesting outside in a Wisconsin winter against Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to bust their unions and cut their funding, what is an economically-progressive Democrat doing supporting a bill for vouchers for private schools? “School choice” is code, of course, for giving more public funds to private, mostly non-union, schools. And Daniel Lipinski is the only House Democrat who cosponsors Speaker John “It’s a legal product, leave me alone” Boehner’s bill

Of course, Lipinski is a Catholic–that’s why he’s so fiercely opposed to abortion, and it’s also probably why he supports school vouchers, which also pump public funds into religious schools. One of only three pieces of legislation he’s introduced this Congress is a resolution “supporting the contributions of Catholic schools.” 

Lipinski’s opposition to abortion also leads him to oppose stem cell research; Don C. Reed wrote

Lipinski also authored what I consider a highly deceptive bill, the “Patients First Act”, H.R. 2807. His legislation was developed with the cooperation of the Family Research Council, arguably the most powerful Religious Right lobbying organization in the country, and was also approved by the George Bush White House.

About as “pro-patient” as a cobra in a hospital bed, the Lipinski effort would have permanently stacked the deck against embryonic stem cell research, “prioritizing” National Institutes of Health grants in favor of adult stem cell research.

Reed notes that in addition to blocking efforts to find new cures for diseases, the “Anti-Science Society” are adding to the national debt and opposing new jobs by cutting off research that might cure chronic diseases. Lipinski is the only Democrat he singles out for being a member of the “A.S.S.”

But Lipinski does cosponsor a resolution that “reaffirms `In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States and supports and encourages the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”

Lipinski has a Ph.D. in political science from Duke and worked as a professor at Notre Dame and then the University of Tennessee, where he was working when he started his campaign for Congress in Illinois. 

Also, Daniel Lipinski is Defiantly Anti Punk.

It’s been a long time since someone not named Lipinski has held the 3rd district’s seat, so it can be slightly hard to judge whether being ultra-hardline on abortion is truly necessary in an area in which the Democrats pretty much have a lock on the seat. Anne Elizabeth Moore, who lives in Chicago (though not in Lipinski’s district) notes “If there’s a part of Chicagoland where being antichoice might go totally unnoticed in a politician, that’s probably the part.”

Still, in comparison with someone like Dan Boren, it would appear that Lipinski is one of the least indebted to an antichoice base in his district. But once again–once you get a machine politician into a seat, it’s incredibly hard to get them out unless they want to get out. 

So you can ask Daniel Lipinski why it’s so important to take away healthcare from low-income people, stop research and of course, restrict our rights to a safe and legal abortion at his website, or at the address below: 

1717 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5701
Fax: (202) 225-1012

And as usual, you can ask the DCCC why it likes antichoice Dems like Daniel Lipinski better than it likes women.

430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: (202) 863-1500

While you’re at it, you can ask them why they’re only asking for $100,000 for “the DCCC’s Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund.”  Antichoice Dems are worth $3.4 million and women’s health is worth $100,000?

Meet the rest of the HR3 Ten here

News Politics

Anti-Choice Democrats: ‘Open The Big Tent’ for Us

Christine Grimaldi & Ally Boguhn

“Make room for pro-life Democrats and invite pro-life, progressive independents back to the party to focus on the right to parent and ways to help women in crisis or unplanned pregnancies have more choices than abortion,” the group said in a report unveiled to allies at the event, including Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegates and the press.

Democrats for Life of America gathered Wednesday in Philadelphia during the party’s convention to honor Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for his anti-choice viewpoints, and to strategize ways to incorporate their policies into the party.

The group attributed Democratic losses at the state and federal level to the party’s increasing embrace of pro-choice politics. The best way for Democrats to reclaim seats in state houses, governors’ offices, and the U.S. Congress, they charged, is to “open the big tent” to candidates who oppose legal abortion care.

“Make room for pro-life Democrats and invite pro-life, progressive independents back to the party to focus on the right to parent and ways to help women in crisis or unplanned pregnancies have more choices than abortion,” the group said in a report unveiled to allies at the event, including Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegates and the press.

Democrats for Life of America members repeatedly attempted to distance themselves from Republicans, reiterating their support for policies such as Medicaid expansion and paid maternity leave, which they believe could convince people to carry their pregnancies to term.

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Their strategy, however, could have been lifted directly from conservatives’ anti-choice playbook.

The group relies, in part, on data from Marist, a group associated with anti-choice polling, to suggest that many in the party side with them on abortion rights. Executive Director Kristen Day could not explain to Rewire why the group supports a 20-week abortion ban, while Janet Robert, president of the group’s board of directors, trotted out scientifically false claims about fetal pain

Day told Rewire that she is working with pro-choice Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, both from New York, on paid maternity leave. Day said she met with DeLauro the day before the group’s event.

Day identifies with Democrats despite a platform that for the first time embraces the repeal of restrictions for federal funding of abortion care. 

“Those are my people,” she said.

Day claimed to have been “kicked out of the pro-life movement” for supporting the Affordable Care Act. She said Democrats for Life of America is “not opposed to contraception,” though the group filed an amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court cases on contraception. 

Democrats for Life of America says it has important allies in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Sens. Joe Donnelly (IN), Joe Manchin (WV), and Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL), along with former Rep. Bart Stupak (MI), serve on the group’s board of advisors, according to literature distributed at the convention.

Another alleged ally, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), came up during Edwards’ speech. Edwards said he had discussed the award, named for Casey’s father, former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey, the defendant in the landmark Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which opened up a flood of state-level abortions restrictions as long as those anti-choice policies did not represent an “undue burden.”

“Last night I happened to have the opportunity to speak to Sen. Bob Casey, and I told him … I was in Philadelphia, receiving this award today named after his father,” Edwards said.

The Louisiana governor added that though it may not seem it, there are many more anti-choice Democrats like the two of them who aren’t comfortable coming forward about their views.

“I’m telling you there are many more people out there like us than you might imagine,” Edwards said. “But sometimes it’s easier for those folks who feel like we do on these issues to remain silent because they’re not going to  be questioned, and they’re not going to be receiving any criticism.”

During his speech, Edwards touted the way he has put his views as an anti-choice Democrat into practice in his home state. “I am a proud Democrat, and I am also very proudly pro-life,” Edwards told the small gathering.

Citing his support for Medicaid expansion in Louisiana—which went into effect July 1—Edwards claimed he had run on an otherwise “progressive” platform except for when it came to abortion rights, adding that his policies demonstrate that “there is a difference between being anti-abortion and being pro-life.”

Edwards later made clear that he was disappointed with news that Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock, whose organization works to elect pro-choice women to office, was being considered to fill the position of party chair in light of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation.

“It wouldn’t” help elect anti-choice politicians to office, said Edwards when asked about it by a reporter. “I don’t want to be overly critical, I don’t know the person, I just know that the signal that would send to the country—and to Democrats such as myself—would just be another step in the opposite direction of being a big tent party [on abortion].” 

Edwards made no secret of his anti-choice viewpoints during his run for governor in 2015. While on the campaign trail, he released a 30-second ad highlighting his wife’s decision not to terminate her pregnancy after a doctor told the couple their daughter would have spina bifida.

He received a 100 percent rating from anti-choice organization Louisiana Right to Life while running for governor, based off a scorecard asking him questions such as, “Do you support the reversal of Roe v. Wade?”

Though the Democratic Party platform and nominee have voiced the party’s support for abortion rights, Edwards has forged ahead with signing numerous pieces of anti-choice legislation into law, including a ban on the commonly used dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure, and an extension of the state’s abortion care waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours.

News Politics

NARAL President Tells Her Abortion Story at the Democratic National Convention

Ally Boguhn

Though reproductive rights and health have been discussed by both Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while on the campaign trail, Democrats have come under fire for failing to ask about abortion care during the party’s debates.

Read more of our coverage of the Democratic National Convention here.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the story of her abortion on the stage of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.

“Texas women are tough. We approach challenges with clear eyes and full hearts. To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust, and the chance to chart our own path,” Hogue told the crowd on the third night of the party’s convention. “I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time.”

“I made the decision that was best for me — to have an abortion — and to get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community,” she continued. “Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.”

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Hogue noted that her experience is similar to those of women nationwide.

“About one in three American women have abortions by the age of 45, and the majority are mothers just trying to take care of the families they already have,” she said. “You see, it’s not as simple as bad girls get abortions and good girls have families. We are the same women at different times in our lives — each making decisions that are the best for us.”

As reported by Yahoo News, “Asked if she was the first to have spoken at a Democratic National Convention about having had an abortion for reasons other than a medical crisis, Hogue replied, ‘As far as I know.'”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards on Tuesday night was the first speaker at the DNC in Philadelphia to say the word “abortion” on stage, according to Vox’s Emily Crockett. 

Richards’ use of the word abortion was deliberate, and saying the word helps address the stigma that surrounds it, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Vice President of Communication Mary Alice Carter said in an interview with ThinkProgress. 

“When we talk about reproductive health, we talk about the full range of reproductive health, and that includes access to abortion. So we’re very deliberate in saying we stand up for a woman’s right to access an abortion,” Carter said.

“There is so much stigma around abortion and so many people that sit in shame and don’t talk about their abortion, and so it’s very important to have the head of Planned Parenthood say ‘abortion,’ it’s very important for any woman who’s had an abortion to say ‘abortion,’ and it’s important for us to start sharing those stories and start bringing it out of the shadows and recognizing that it’s a normal experience,” she added.

Though reproductive rights and health have been discussed by both Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while on the campaign trail, Democrats have come under fire for failing to ask about abortion care during the party’s debates. In April, Clinton called out moderators for failing to ask “about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care” over the course of eight debates—though she did not use the term abortion in her condemnation.