|Volume 37, Number 11-12 www.nrlc.org November/December 2010|
Plays Key Role
By David N. O'Steen, Ph.D., National Right to Life Executive Director
Post-election polling has shown that the National Right to Life Political Action Committee and pro-life issues played a major role in what happened at the polls this year and once again provided a margin sufficient to guarantee victory for pro-life candidates in many close races.
The National Right to Life PAC was extensively involved in 122 federal races nationwide, winning 84 of them with 9 still undecided as of the day following the election.
Our involvement and national reach was reflected in the post-election poll conducted by The Polling Company which found that 24% of voters recalled hearing or seeing advertising from, or receiving information from, National Right to Life.
The poll found that 22% said abortion affected their vote and that they voted for candidates who opposed abortion as opposed to only 8% who said abortion affected their vote and that they voted for candidates who favored abortion. This yields a 14% advantage for pro-life candidates over pro-abortion candidates.
This advantage was especially helpful to Republicans since every closely contested congressional race between a pro-life candidate and a pro-abortion candidate involved a pro-life Republican who faced a pro-abortion Democrat. A full 84% of those who said abortion affected their vote and voted pro-life said they voted for a Republican for U.S. House.
groups couldn't save them
Editor's note. The following analysis was submitted by NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson to and posted by blogger Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter on November 10, in response to a request for commentary on the November 2 elections.
The first two years of the Obama Administration have been a time of multiple setbacks for the pro-life cause at the federal level. Behind smokescreens of soft, deceptive rhetoric, the Administration has pushed an abortion-expansionist agenda on both domestic and overseas fronts, employing executive powers, nominations, and legislative attacks. The single greatest pro-life setback has been enactment of the massive restructuring law ("Obamacare").
The version originally advanced in 2009 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Henry Waxman, and other key House Democratic leaders, was loaded with abortion-expansive provisions--until the House corrected those problems by adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment on November 7, 2009. However, that pro-life victory was denounced by President Obama and by key Democratic congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who succeeded in winning Senate approval on Christmas Eve of a bill that contained even more abortion-expanding provisions than the original Pelosi-Waxman bill.
Lacking a single Republican supporter, for many weeks Pelosi was unable to win House approval of this bill--in substantial part because the pro-abortion provisions were recognized and explicitly condemned by a group of Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (Mi.).
This is not the place to chronicle the many public utterances and acts by members of that group, in which they recognized the gravity of the pro-abortion provisions contained in the Senate bill, or to recount their initial refusals (widely reported at the time) to bow to pressures from the President and Speaker Pelosi to support it. Typical were these statements: Rep. James Oberstar (D-Mn.): "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn't have the House abortion language in it." (CQ Today, Feb. 25, 2010). Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio): "I will not bend on the principle of federal funding on abortion. ... They are going to have to do it without me and without the other pro-life Democrats" (Cincinnati Enquirer, March 14, 2010).
From the President
NRLC CONTINUES TO BE THE “FLAGSHIP OF THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT”
By Wanda Franz, Ph.D.
That same day, I also met representatives of National Right to Life. They opposed any research that destroyed embryos. They pointed out that each tiny stem cell cluster had the potential to grow into a person. In fact, all of us had started our lives in this early state. As evidence, they pointed to a new program run by Nightlight Christian Adoptions. The agency secured permission from IVF participants to place their unused frozen embryos up for adoption. Loving mothers had the embryos implanted in them and carried the babies—known as snowflakes—to term. The message was unmistakable: Within every frozen embryo were the beginnings of a child. -- President George W. Bush, Decision Points, Crown Publishers, 2010), p. 115
The above paragraph is a quote from President Bush’s memoir on major decisions of his presidency. In the chapter from which this section is taken he discusses how he came to prohibit funding of new stem cell research that required the destruction of embryos.
The chapter shows that President Bush informed himself carefully on the serious moral issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research. NRLC’s down-to-earth explanation of the humanity of the embryo clearly moved him. There is another thing: NRLC is the only single-issue pro-life advocacy group mentioned in the whole book.
The point I want to make here is this: NRLC truly is the “flagship of the pro-life movement,” as the late Henry Hyde so eloquently said. Pro-life public servants know that they can get sound advice from NRLC’s staff. While some of NRLC’s work is behind the scenes, much of it is out in the public sphere. In any event, it is work carried on with great expertise and on a wide scale. And what does that work require? High-caliber strategists and experts at NRLC’s Washington office, active state chapters, and committed pro-life individuals everywhere—I mean you, dear pro-life reader. We need your support especially now! (I assume your check will be in the mail soon.)
What pro-life educational and political work can do was evident in the recent nationwide elections. How far did the work of National Right to Life and its state chapters reach?
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