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Amid GOP Assault on Abortion Rights, DCCC-Backed Fundraiser for Anti-Choice Democrat Blasted as 'Demeaning to Women'

"At a time when we need every pro-choice voice we can get, this is reprehensible for a leader in the Democratic Party."

Rep. Daniel Lipinsk testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee March 20, 2007.

Rep. Daniel Lipinsk testifies during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee March 20, 2007. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A prominent House Democrat plans to host a fundraiser for one of her party's most strident anti-abortion voices at a time when a woman's right to choose is under attack, as his primary opponent nets grassroots endorsements from progressive groups. 

"At a time when Roe v Wade is under threat with the Alabama law, the last person the DCCC should be supporting is Lipinski who does not believe in constitutional reproductive rights. It's demeaning to women across this nation." — Rep. Ro Khanna 

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) is hosting a fundraiser for Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) Thursday, June 6, at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse in Chicago.

The event has three tiers of support—plates go for $1,000, $2,800, and $5,600—and the presence of Bustos, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is sure to send a message that the party is behind Lipinski. 

Read the invitation:

Meanwhile, Lipinski's opponent in next year's primary, Marie Newman, was endorsed Monday by a coalition of six major Democratic allied groups. 

Per The Chicago Sun-Times:

The Monday joint endorsement of Newman from EMILY's List, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America sends a strong signal to progressives in the 3rd Congressional District.

In a statement provided to the Sun-Times, Lipinski claimed the endorsements were part of a fringe conspiracy against his candidacy.

"These endorsements make clear that Marie Newman is again running a 'tea party of the left' campaign at the behest of national interest groups rather than focusing on taking care of the everyday concerns of people in the district as I have a track record of doing," said Lipinski.

Lipinski's anti-choice record came in for withering criticism from the Justice Democrats.  In an email sent Thursday, the progressive group ripped Lipinski for his record and attacked Bustos and the DCCC for their support of the right-wing Democrat. 

Dan Lipinski has single-handedly given bipartisan clout to the insanely hateful anti-choice movement. He's co-sponsored bills in Congress to rip government benefits away from women who seek to terminate their pregnancy, and has fought to instill fetal personhood — the same insanity that is now subjecting women who miscarry to potential manslaughter investigations in Georgia and Alabama. 

"How could the DCCC raise money to defend an anti-choice Democrat just days after Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion ban in modern history, and Missouri is just a few steps away from following their lead?" the letter asked.

Newman raised the same concern.

"The day after Alabama voted to restrict a woman's right to choose," Newman said in a tweet Wednesday, "it's shocking the DCCC is fervently supporting a representative who is anti-choice, anti-birth control, and anti-health care for all."

Despite the anti-abortion legislation and the nationwide push from the right to end access to reproductive care, it's not much of a surprise that Bustos would support Lipinski. Her tenure as head of the DCCC has been dominated by one major policy decision: that the DCCC will blacklist vendors that work with primary challengers to Democratic incumbents, cutting the upstart campaigns off from the expertise and professionalism that outside consultants, pollsters, volunteer coordinators, and other businesses that work with campaigns. 

Newman's campaign was one of the first to feel the crunch from the policy. In late April, as Common Dreams reported, Newman lost a number of vendors. 

"I've had four consultants leave the campaign," Newman said at the time. "We've now had two mail firms say that they couldn't work with us because of the DCCC issue, and then a [communications] group, a compliance group and several pollsters."

But Newman's campaign may well prove to be a test of the new policy and the level of commitment from the DCCC to its policy of incumbency protection. The Lipinski-Newman race isn't easily dismissed as a fringe candidate coming out of nowhere to play purity politics, as Newman's endorsements show. And the primary campaign is already receiving attention—and support—from prominent members of the House Democratic caucus. 

"At a time when Roe v Wade is under threat with the Alabama law, the last person the DCCC should be supporting is Lipinski who does not believe in constitutional reproductive rights," said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). "It's demeaning to women across this nation."

Rebecca Katz, the leader of New Deal Strategies, a consulting firm that was one of the founding members of the DCCC Blacklist coalition of firms that pledged to work with primary challengers in defiance of the DCCC rule, said on Twitter that Democrats should "think about what we need to be fighting for."

"At a time when we need every pro-choice voice we can get," said Katz, "this is reprehensible for a leader in the Democratic Party."

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