After almost five decades of struggle, culminating in the Dobbs victory, pro-life members of Congress should be emboldened to act and save countless lives. This is no time to relent. It is essential that they go on offense, and they must not let their confidence be shaken by the firestorm of pro-abortion fear and lies.
One of these lies is that abortion will immediately be banned nationwide if pro-life Republicans win majorities in the House and Senate. The pro-life movement does seek to make abortion illegal and unthinkable, but consensus won’t be built overnight without any regard for what the will of the people can sustain. Another fear opponents are spreading is that there will be no exceptions — not even to save the life of the mother, which every state law in effect contains and the pro-life movement at large supports.
Some of these lies play into a widespread misunderstanding on the Right that Roe’s reversal has “sent the abortion issue back to the states.” That is not accurate. As Justice Alito’s majority opinion made clear, policy will be decided by the people, speaking through their elected representatives, rather than unelected judges. While states are important, that necessarily includes Congress, the nation’s legislative body, as well as a future pro-life president.
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Pro-abortion Democrats lie not because they are unwilling to use legislative power for their ends but because they wish to distract the people from their radical agenda: abortion on demand for any reason up to the moment of birth, bankrolled by the taxpayers. Women (or their abusers) carrying out unsupervised chemical abortions at home using dangerous mail-order drugs bought and sold online. Fanning the flames of violence toward pregnancy centers across the country that vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood and that pro-choice voters overwhelmingly support. It is deeply unpopular and a political liability for them.
House GOP leader Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is one who understands. The historic class of pro-life women in Congress is an incredible asset to the movement, and she has provided a great example for the whole body to follow. “With deep respect for the role that states must now play in defining abortion law and care for women through their elected representatives and the legislative process,” Stefanik says, “federal legislators also acknowledge and understand our important role in building consensus for a national baseline standard to provide protections for life.”
What that looks like in the near future under a Republican-controlled Congress is debating legislation that puts the humanity of the unborn child front and center. As Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said in a heartfelt floor speech after Dobbs before calling out the Biden administration as the most pro-abortion administration in American history, “There are two people in this conversation … a child, 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a beating heart, and DNA that is uniquely different than the mom’s DNA or the dad’s DNA … They feel pain … At some point, our nation should look at basic science.” The debate will concern protections for unborn babies when their heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks, or by 15 weeks, when they are capable of feeling pain. A large national poll conducted after the Dobbs decision found that nearly half of voters support the former, and 72% support the latter. Only 10% of voters supported the Democrats’ position.
There is no change to our proven, winning strategy — only greater resolve. On the day the Dobbs decision came down, I wrote, “Every legislature in the land, in every single state and Congress, is now free to allow the will of the people to make its way into the law through our elected representatives. An entirely new pro-life movement begins today. We are ready to go on offense for life in every single one of those legislative bodies, in each statehouse and the White House …Federal as well as state lawmakers must commit to being consensus builders who advocate for the most ambitious protections possible.”
There is clear precedent for the role of Congress in providing federal protections for unborn children and mothers. It was done in the federal partial-birth abortion ban, and votes have been held in both chambers of Congress to limit painful late-term abortions halfway through pregnancy.
What is unacceptable is to leave millions of unborn children and mothers across half the country completely at the mercy of the abortion industry and its allies, while brutal abortions up to birth continue unchecked — keeping the U.S. in a club of extreme outliers with China and North Korea — and abortion tourism is encouraged simply because of blue-state politics.
In a new Dobbs era, it is the job of leaders to enact the strongest protections possible now and keep building a consensus until unborn children are safe and their mothers are supported all across this great land of ours. To achieve that, they must go on offense to expose the contrast between themselves and their opponents and educate people about the millions of lives at stake. We fully expect it from the standard-bearers of our movement. The voters expect it, and if the current crop of candidates does not prove equal to the task, then others will be found who will.
LifeNews Note: Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. This article originally appeared at the Washington Examiner.