Blog Post

Pro Life Gains Expected Across US

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist As the effects of the 2010 election continue to unfold, pro-life groups are becoming increasingly  confident that they will have many opportunities to advance the pro-life agenda in the years ahead. A new report by Politico has found that massive pro-life gains in statehouses across the country, coupled with a few promising new legal strategies, may see a boon in legislation favorable to life and traditional family values in the coming two years. “We did see, as a result of the election, a significant change in the composition of statehouses,” said Donna Crane, policy director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, to Politico. “Our state affiliates are definitely expecting to be in for the fight of their lives.” And for good reason. The number of anti-abortion governors rose from 21 to 29 in the past election and the number of states that now have a pro-life governor coupled with a pro-life legislature  jumped from 10 to 15. These new numbers inspired a state strategy conference last month by the National Right to Life Committee in which members decided to focus on pushing three model laws that have seen the most success in recent years. The first is a late-term abortion ban that rests on the premise that the fetus can experience pain after 20 weeks gestation. Nebraska passed the first such law in April of this year, which forced notorious late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart to move his practice from Omaha to Maryland. Thus far, there has been no challenge to the law, even though the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights claims they intend to fight it and are just waiting for the right case with which to launch a challenge. Another successful law that pro-lifers plan to advance into other states is one that requires an ultrasound to be shown to the patient prior to an abortion. This requirement has proven to be very successful in convincing mothers not to abort their children. A similar bill was passed in Oklahoma. Advocates for life also plan to continue to introduce legislation that will bar insurance coverage of abortion in the health insurance exchanges set to be erected in 2014. Several states have already passed similar legislation.   Another big plus for the pro-life side is the selection of Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) to chair the powerful Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee next year. Pitts is a well-known pro-life legislator who co-authored Rep. Bart Stupak's strong abortion restrictions that nearly capsized ObamaCare.  “Americans don’t want their tax dollars funding abortions,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, which lobbied aggressively for Pitts’s subcommittee chairmanship. “We saw that during the health care debate, and I think we see a lot of ways to move forward on that issue in the next Congress,” she told Politico. On the federal level, pro lifers plan to push for a permanent Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion-related activities and must currently be renewed yearly. They are also keeping an eye on legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) that would defund Planned Parenthood. Pro-abortion groups say it would be a mistake for conservative lawmakers to take their eye off the main issues of unemployment and the deficit to focus on social issues, but there are enough seasoned pro-life legislators coming into power in the next few years who are more than capable of doing two things at once. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®