Senate Democrats Push Radical Amendment Prohibiting Pro-Life Free Speech

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2014   |   1:40PM   |   Washington, DC

A leading pro-life group is sounding the alarm about a measure Senate Democrats are pushing that would place stringent limits on pro-life free speech when it comes to campaigns and elections.

The National Right to Life Committee today warned members of the U.S. Senate that it will “scorecard” the upcoming Senate roll call on a proposed constitutional amendment. The pro-life organization informs LifeNews that the amendment would allow Congress and each state legislature to restrict or prohibit virtually any type of communications to the public that might “influence elections.”

senateSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will seek Senate action on the measure on September 8. Fifty Democratic senators have so far expressed support for the measure.

The letter, signed by National Right to Life President Carol Tobias, Executive Director David N. O’Steen, and Legislative Director Douglas Johnson, referred to the proposal as “a radical assault on the Bill of Rights.”

It underscores how the amendment could allow states to prohibit pro-life groups from issuing scorecards letting pro-life voters know how their electde officials in Congress voted on key pro-life issues.

“The dispositive Senate roll call on S. J. Res. 19 will be included in NRLC’s scorecard of key roll call votes of the 113th Congress, with a vote in favor of the amendment accurately described as a vote to empower incumbent federal and state lawmakers to restrict and criminalize speech that is critical of their actions on crucial public policy issues, including abortion,” the letter advised.

The pro-life group’s letter goes on to say:

“. . . One can hardly conceive of language more sweeping than the phrase ‘to influence elections.’ On its face, it could encompass not only communications regarding the actions of individuals who hold or seek elective office – which would be bad enough – but also communications regarding politically charged public policy issues (i.e., issue advocacy). . . . There would be nothing to prevent Congress or a state legislature from crafting restrictions that effectively define one side of a public policy debate as the election-influencing side, and restricting communications to the public that advocate that particular viewpoint.”

The complete letter to the Senate may be viewed or downloaded at:

The vote follows a major decision by the Supreme Court upholding pro-life free speech rights.