In a move that could split the party, pro-abortion progressives, led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), are mobilizing to rid Democrats of the last few remaining pro-lifers in their ranks.
According to Politico, Gillibrand, along with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, NARAL, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the Human Rights Campaign, have formed an unofficial coalition to drive more conservative Democrats, like Rep. Dan Lipinksi of Illinois out of office, in favor of hardline, pro-abortion politicians who vote in lock-step with the more progressive wing of the party.
Lipinksi is fighting for his political life. After voting to defund Planned Parenthood and a 20-week abortion ban in Congress, he drew the ire of Gillibrand's posse, and is up against an onslaught of ads, backed by millions in spending, from members of his own leadership coalition, decrying him as a threat to reproductive rights.
NARAL purchased television spots in Lipinski's Chicago home district, asking “Who is Dan working for? It sure isn't us," and is advertising for volunteers and "grassroots organizers" to knock doors in support of Lipinski's opponent, Marie Newman (who is, no surprise, an abortion advocate).
Lipinski says he considers himself a moderate, if not a true progressive (he supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, whom he says he agrees with on economic issues). Lipinski also notes that there are more conservative Democrats in Congress, but believes he's being targeted, not for his lack of economic bona fides, but because he opposes the progressive sacrament of abortion.
"There are Democrats who are a lot more conservative than I am on issues. I wish there were more moderate Democrats,” Lipinski said in an interview with Politico. “I'm pro-life. I make no bones about that. Always have been."
The great pro-lifer purge from the Democratic party began just after Hillary Clinton's loss. Convinced that a more progressive, hard-left platform that doubles down on the identity politics that doomed Clinton's campaign was the answer to their election woes, some progressive Democrats proposed demanding elected officials ascribe to all aspects of the party's platform, including the call for abortion on demand. At the time, even Bernie Sanders opposed the effort, claiming that Democrats were not required to swear to a single set of ideals as a requirement of party membership.
It's a losing game. For starters, it alienates much of the Democrats' religious base (or what's left of it), but more importantly, the Democrats who've won in 2017 focused on a message of economic populism not dissimilar to President Donald Trump's, and kept their feelings about social issues like abortion on the back-burner.