When it comes to elected pro-life Democrats, most are long gone, but the few that remain are conspicuously silent.
From ending the Hyde Amendment, to legalizing abortion up until birth, to refusing to support legal protections for babies who survive botched abortions, 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have made clear that there is no longer room for compromise on this particular issue within the party.
But, even as 2020 Democrats propose the most far-reaching abortion rights agenda in American history, the remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress don’t appear to be putting up much of a fight. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Imprisoned Abortionist Gosnell Has Doubts About Spread Of Democrats’ Third-Trimester Abortion Laws)
As of 2019, there are currently six Democrats in Congress who identify as pro-life. They are: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Reps. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Ben McAdams of Utah, and Henry Cuellar of Texas.
The Daily Caller reached out to all of them for comment, but none replied as of press time.
The Senate tends to have significantly more power over abortion policy than the House due to its constitutional responsibility to confirm judges. With landmark cases such as Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey the law of the land, it will take a remade judiciary to once again allow states to restrict or ban abortion. In that regard, Manchin and Casey have not been much help to the pro-life cause.
Manchin and Casey have repeatedly voted against President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, while they supported most of President Barack Obama’s nominees. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) which weighs judicial nominees heavily in its score card have given Manchin and Casey high marks. In 2016, Manchin received a score of 100% from NARAL, followed by scores of 72%, and 45%. During his time in the Senate, Manchin has a relatively moderate record on abortion, but hardly one that demonstrates strongly-held pro-life beliefs.
Manchin has even said that he doesn’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
“I’m pro-life. But I know how that divides our country immediately and divides everyone,” Manchin said last year.
Manchin also refused to support an amendment to the West Virginia state constitution that would have made clear that there was no right to an abortion within the document.
Casey on the other hand has voted almost uniformly in line with supporters of abortion rights. Despite the legacy of his dad (former Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey), the younger Casey has immersed himself fully within the party, while retaining his nominally pro-life views. Casey has voted against nearly every one of Trump’s judicial nominees, and has posted scores of 100%, 100%, and 90% from NARAL over the past three years. Casey also supported the nominations of Justices Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, both of whom have become reliably pro-choice votes during their tenure on the bench.
Casey even appeared at a rally with Planned Parenthood, and repeatedly defended funding for the abortion giant, which terminates roughly 350,000 pregnancies every year. Casey has defended his cozy relationship with Planned Parenthood, saying it shouldn’t interfere with his reputation as a pro-life Democrat. (RELATED: ‘Pro-Life’ Sen. Bob Casey Rips Trump’s Planned Parenthood Move)
“I am a pro-life Democrat,” Casey wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed in 2017. “I believe we must do everything we can to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in this country, including increasing access to contraception and helping pregnant women before and after birth by supporting Medicaid, WIC and other critical programs.”
Peterson and Cuellar are veterans of Congress. Peterson has been in Congress for nearly three decades, and Cuellar has resided in the lower chamber for roughly 15 years. They both have repeatedly voted for bans on late-term abortion, and have marketed themselves as pro-life in their conservative districts. McAdams is a freshman Democrat, who recently defeated Republican Rep. Mia Love. It’s still early in McAdams’ tenure, but right now the young congressman has an A+ rating from Planned Parenthood.
Lipinski is perhaps the most outspoken pro-life Democrat in the country right now. The long-time Illinois congressman represents a changing district, and has the most liberal constituency of any pro-life Democrat. Still, Lipinski has stuck to his guns and remains a regular at the annual “March For Life,” which takes place every January to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
For his apostasy, Lipinski nearly lost his seat in 2018, defeating insurgent liberal Marie Newman, surviving by nearly 2,000 votes. In 2020, Newman is once again attempting to primary Lipinski, and this time the long-time congressman may not be so lucky. Big abortion is spending heavily to unseat Lipinski, and the Democratic party has virtually abandoned Lipinski. (RELATED: Pro-Life Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski Speaks At March For Life: ‘We Need To Change Hearts And Minds’)
Several prominent Democrats including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have endorsed Newman, and the party’s House campaign arm, Lipinski’s fellow Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos recently canceled a fundraiser for the embattled congressman.
If Newman is successful in her primary challenge (and the odds appear to be in her favor) it will send an unmistakable message to the few pro-life Democrats that remain: Conform or leave the party.