10 pivotal “What Ifs?” for 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Elsewhere today, Andrew Bair offers an insightful Top 16 pro-life moments of 2016. Please take a few minutes to read his highlight reel and pass it along to pro-life contacts.

Looking back at a year that someday will be appreciated for just how momentous it truly has been, I have a slightly different take. I’d like to offer 10 “what-ifs.” All are important, and are in no particular order, except for #1 and #10.

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence talk with factory workers at the Carrier factory in Indianapolis

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence talk with factory workers at the Carrier factory in Indianapolis

#1. What if the pro-abortion movement’s ultimate dream presidential candidate–Hillary Clinton–had accomplished what all the “experts” said in October was already a done-deal: been elected the 45th President? I cannot emphasize enough what a bullet–maybe the better metaphor is curettage–unborn babies missed when pro-life Donald Trump won 306 electoral votes.

It’s not just that Clinton would have nominated jurists whose dedication to creating a new rationale/defense for abortion would have been unlimited–and that Trump has promised to nominate only pro-life jurists. The future composition of the Supreme Court is hugely important but is not the only consideration.

There is funding the abortion behemoth. The Hyde Amendment has cut off most federal funds. Clinton made ending the 40-year-old policy a top priority, Trump made its preservation one of his key promises to pro-lifers.

There are all the pro-life actions Trump can take to positively change the environment, starting with repeal of such Obama staples as Obama’s order to fund private organizations that perform and promote abortions overseas.

And “personnel is policy.” Trump’s choice for Attorney General is pro-life Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al.). Whomever is the absolute opposite of Sen. Sessions is the person Clinton would have chosen. And, as NRL News Today, has written, President-elect Trump is filling his cabinet (and other positions) with pro-lifers with proven records.

Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway

#2. What if veteran pro-life pollster and strategist Kellyanne Conway had not assumed the position of Trump’s campaign manager in August? Granted, you can overstate the importance of anyone beyond the candidates themselves. But in the case of Mrs. Conway, it would be difficult to exaggerate her contributions to a campaign that needed her strong sense of where the electorate was at, her strategic advice about how to talk to key segments of the Trump coalition, and her unflinching advocacy for the right to life of unborn children.

#3. What if the Supreme Court had not thrown out Texas’ commonsensical clinic regulation in its disastrous Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision? In his dissent, Justice Thomas cut to the chase in his opening sentence: “Today the Court strikes down two state statutory provisions in all of their applications, at the behest of abortion clinics and doctors.” Thomas then immediately quoted from the late Justice Scalia’s dissent in Stenberg v. Carhart: That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency “to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.”

Pro-Lifers at the Supreme CourtPro-abortionists whine that not enough attention was paid to abortion in the 2016 campaign, which is about as far off the mark as you can get (not to mention the utterly false assumption that the more abortion gets talked about, the better is for the Abortion Industry). Thanks to the High Court’s decision, the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the proper conclusion of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that it ought to be the next president who nominates Scalia’s successor, everyone who follows the abortion issue knew the stakes couldn’t be higher in 2016.

Lena Dunham

#4. What if the “entertainment” industry had not done everything in its power to coarsen the culture, to attempt to sand off all ethical considerations from the decision to abort unborn children? Short-term, they celebrate the grotesque cheerleading of morally stunted individuals such as Lena Dunham, Amy Brenneman, and Olivia Pope. Longer-term, the impact will be to awaken those in the middle–people whose consciences are asleep–to the wretchedness of the ploy to “normalize” the execution of unborn children.

Melissa Ohden (right) and Lisa Andrusko, NRLC Yearbook Editor, at the 2013 National Right to Life Convention

#5. What if we didn’t have abortion survivors such as Melissa Ohden whose testimony is a living rebuke to the abortion machine? When she speaks around the world, the audience extends to her a special attentiveness in humble recognition that she is a miracle. In some ways almost equally miraculous is her sympathy and understanding for her birth mother. Melissa’s life is the living embodiment of the power of forgiveness.

#6. What if pro-life legislators were made of lesser stuff? They could have been intimidated, or at least utterly discouraged, by an unresponsive judiciary up to and including the United States Supreme Court. Instead they pass pro-life law after pro-life law, creatively testing the outer boundaries of what the current High Court will accept and laying the foundation for the day when a majority of the justices are women and men who understand that we are not in 1973–that time has not stood still.

Nikki and her daughter, Alexis, are headed to Washington, D.C. to tell their story this January.Photo Courtesy: Options Pregnancy Clinic, Branson (Mo.)

Nikki and her daughter, Alexis, are headed to Washington, D.C. to tell their story this January.Photo Courtesy: Options Pregnancy Clinic, Branson (Mo.)

#7. What if the women helping movement meekly accepted blatant infringements of their 1st Amendment rights and grew weak-kneed at the ongoing attempt of friends of the Abortion Industry to shut down the alternative to Planned Parenthood? Instead they fight against these unfair assaults, already winning in some states and vigorously contesting the latest attacks.

#8. What if the electorate was so foolish as to believe the bile and the vitriol and the cattiness that is the sum and substance of most media portraits of pro-life candidates for office at every level of government? Fortunately, they don’t. Partly this is because most people’s everyday experience of pro-lifers is so vastly different from the media caricature. Partly because the credibility of the major media, alas, has sunk to castrophically low levels.

#9. What if there hadn’t been a 5% decline in abortions–and an accompanying drop in abortion rates and ratios–reported by the CDC for 2013? I understand that pro-abortionists took credit for the drop and would blame pro-lifers if the numbers had stabilized or gone up, but that misses the larger point. We are talking about approximately 50,000 fewer dead babies. We are talking about the product of decades of patient pro-life education, legislation, and political activity. We are talking about far, far fewer dead children than would have been the case if pro-abortionists controlled state legislatures. Finally, we are talking about the result of grassroots’ advocacy which has reduced the annual death toll from 1,600,000 in 1990 to just over 1,000,000 in 2013.


#10. What if we didn’t have National Right to Life to counter pro-abortion claptrap; to take on–and defeat–the political arms of the Abortion Industry with their access to almost limitless amounts of money; to propose legislation at the state and federal level that consistently moves us in the direction of a culture which the unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life? I understand that I work for NRLC but I wouldn’t if I were not totally convinced National Right to Life is our Movement’s greatest asset.

These are my 10 “what-ifs.” My eleventh–which goes without saying–is what if we didn’t have people just like those reading NRL News Today?