A Democratic congressman publicly trashed one of his fellow Democrats recently, telling the Washington Examiner that the lawmaker's pro-life stance is comparable to racial segregation.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D., Ill.) is in the midst of a fierce primary fight after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee failed to uphold its promise to publicly back him. The seven-term congressman opposes abortion, making him one of only two remaining pro-life Democrats in the House.
Several of Lipinski's House colleagues have taken the rare step of endorsing his primary opponent, Marie Newman.
"I don't think we can support someone who does not believe in the legal right to reproductive choice," Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) told the Examiner.
Khanna went on to compare Lipinski to "someone who might support racial segregation," the paper reported, and rejected the argument that Democrats should accept candidates who take stances contrary to the party line simply to win certain races.
"It's too important an issue to consider the electoral politics," he said. "Would we put up a candidate in a swing district who believed in the Muslim ban, and say, ‘Well, that’s just the politics of the region?' Absolutely not."
"This is a question of what does the party stand for? Do we believe that a women's right to choose is a fundamental human right that should be a core principle of this party?" he asked. "I believe it should."
In a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, Khanna disputed the Washington Examiner‘s characterization of their conversation, saying he "didn't say" the remarks about segregation.
"I respect the personal beliefs of those who are pro-life," he said. "But as a matter of law, I believe we must recognize a woman's reproductive right as a constitutional right. These rights are like civil rights and human rights. So I do believe that while Democrats should be a big tent party in respecting many different personal views on abortion, we should have a core principle of not compromising on women's legal rights."
UPDATED 9:15 P.M.: This story was updated to include a statement from Khanna disputing the Examiner‘s characterization of his comments. The headline was also slightly altered to reflect that the allegation that he compared Lipinski's pro-life stance to segregation is disputed.