Lipinski told WORLD he doesn’t believe “party leadership understands how detrimental it is to the party to be pushing out people who are pro-life. … I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘I used to be a Democrat, but I’m pro-life and decided I couldn’t be a Democrat anymore.”
Attempts to enforce a pro-abortion party line on Democratic legislators have not worked as well at the state level. After toppling her pro-abortion incumbent to earn a seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 2016, Vella-Wilkinson drew the ire of the state’s pro-abortion groups.
After her first year in the House, a group of progressives told her they would mount a door-to-door campaign against her to make voters in her district aware of her “anti-woman” views. She told them to go ahead. After knocking on 24 doors, they gave up.
“Two people weren’t home, but the 22 told them, ‘Of course we know she’s pro-life, that’s why I voted for her!’” Vella-Wilkinson said. The group had deployed their campaign in the center of Vella-Wilkinson’s parish, people at her church later told her.
Vella-Wilkinson has continued to be open about her views. Earlier this year, she found herself arguing with her colleagues against the most major abortion expansion bill in the state since 1993. “I didn’t want an extreme abortion bill in my state, so I supported the Republicans wholeheartedly,” she said.
The House passed the bill by a 44-30 vote, a relatively slim margin for the state’s deeply blue General Assembly. (There are nine Republicans in the 75-member House of Representatives, and only five in the 38-member Senate.) However, the bill later died in a Senate committee after four Democrats sided with one Republican to reject it 5-4.
After the vote, the committee members faced a horde of angry pro-abortion protesters. Sen. Harold Metts, a Democrat and Baptist deacon who voted against the bill, had to be escorted out of the Capitol by security. One woman began cursing at him as he made his way to the elevator, and even threatened to come find him at his church. He alerted security at his church, though she did not follow through with her threat.