On Sunday, one of the last pro-life House Democrats said farewell to Congress after serving eight terms.
“I want to thank the people of Illinois’ Third District for giving me the honor and privilege to serve you and our nation for 16 years,” former congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) tweeted Jan. 3.
“America is not perfect, because humans can never be perfect. But we must pray and work every day that each of us and our nation better uphold the principle of equality, and that we better protect life and liberty every day for all, especially the most vulnerable,” he tweeted.
An eight-term Catholic House Democrat, Lipinski lost his March 2020 primary to new Congresswoman Marie Newman by fewer than 3,000 votes. He was known for being a reliable pro-life vote—one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in the House, with a “B” rating from the Susan B. Anthony List and one of only two sitting House Democrats endorsed by the group Democrats for Life of America in 2020.
Lipinski told CNA in November that Democrats would be committing a “terrible political mistake” by trying to enact taxpayer-funded abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment.
New House Appropriations chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) is pushing for the repeal of the policy, but it is unclear if a repeal of Hyde would have the necessary votes in the Senate. Two special Senate elections in Georgia Jan. 5 will determine the partisan balance in the chamber.
Lipinski also warned in November that the pro-life cause should not be concentrated in one political party.
“I really think there’s going to have to be a concerted effort by pro-life groups to try to get some Democrats elected to Congress. And that’s going to mean getting involved in Democratic primaries,” he told CNA.
On Dec. 8, Lipinski delivered a farewell speech on the House Floor, pointing to the problem of partisanship and legislative gridlock, while reflecting on his work to improve transportation and manufacturing, and thanking former staffers.
“I still believe that this is the greatest Nation in the history of the world,” he said, emphasizing that “we had better protect the life and liberty every day for every person, from the very first moment of life until natural death.”
Lipinski also warned of partisanship in a May interview with CNA, noting that “more and more people are making their political party their religion.”
He added, however, that “Catholics can show the way and, hopefully, bridge that divide in our world between the two polarized sides.”