Keep On Keeping On

by Carol Tobias,
National Right to Life President

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

Yesterday, the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, was a day of mixed emotions, a great high and a deep disappointment.

Marches, rallies, and memorial services were held across the nation to remember the 57 million unborn children who have been lost to abortion, along with prayers, thoughts, and concern for the mothers of those children. In the nation’s capital alone, the numbers were surely in the hundreds of thousands.

Yesterday was a day of joy as we celebrated the gift of LIFE. We rejoice as we see so many young people getting involved and taking a stand for life; saying they will be a voice for the voiceless; and promising they will not let this battle end.

Yesterday was also the day we were expecting the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Unfortunately, a small number of members of the House reneged on previous commitments and launched a campaign that sidetracked the bill, for now.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act was a major priority for NRLC. We are pleased the House passed that bill.

If you watch House proceedings on C-SPAN, you may not notice that members use electronic voting cards to cast their vote for or against a measure. In a National Journal article about the “dispute” over the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a reporter related this quote from an unnamed congresswoman who had helped sidetrack the bill: “I think the leadership genuinely feels bad about this… I hope that that will translate into listening to people who have voting cards instead of listening to people who don’t have voting cards.”

This congresswoman hopes that House leadership will listen to her and other members of Congress, not the voters who put them all there.

One of the most famous speeches in American history was President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Lincoln memorably concluded that our government was “of the people, by the people, for the people.” I wish I knew who this congresswoman was so I could send her a copy of the speech.

Another surprising aspect was the claim by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) – who gave numerous media interviews attacking the bill — that passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act could hurt the Republican Party with millennials (i.e., persons age 18 to 29 or so) – a claim that some journalists apparently found plausible and amplified.

Yet a November 2014 Quinnipiac University Poll asked:

“As you may know, in 2013 the House of Representatives approved legislation that would ban virtually all abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape and incest that are reported to authorities. Would you support or oppose such legislation?”

Sixty percent of all respondents supported the legislation, compared to 33% opposed. Among those ages 18-29, there was 57% support for the legislation, with 38% opposed. In what other poll would a 19% advantage be considered a disadvantage?

This incident reminds us that politics is a messy business. But it’s also a necessary one if we are going to protect unborn babies. We remember what happened, we hold elected officials accountable, and we keep on keeping on.

I urge you to contact your representative in Congress– let them know you are disappointed in what happened, and ask that they vote to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

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