By David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., National Right to Life Executive Director
A National Referendum on Abortion – that’s how Ernest Ohlhoff, National Right to Life’s Director of Outreach, described the 2016 election in a recent article published by Maryland Right to Life. He’s right–and post-election polling shows how the right to life side won.
Abortion has never before been such an integral part of a presidential campaign. President – elect Donald Trump, who was nothing if not forthright with the American people, made it clear that the Supreme Court was on the line for a generation and that he would appoint only pro-life justices. Hillary Clinton made it just as clear that she would appoint only justices who would uphold, and undoubtedly expand, abortion on demand paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Donald Trump gave 100% pro-life answers to National Right to Life’s questions, met with pro-life leaders of National Right to Life and made campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, a strong, well known pro-life advocate, a public face of his campaign. At the same time Hillary Clinton made seemingly countless appearances at Planned Parenthood events pledging over and over her fealty to their abortion agenda.
In the their third debate President – elect Trump made what were perhaps the strongest pro-life statements ever made by a candidate to a national audience and called out Hillary Clinton on her past Senate vote in favor of partial – birth abortion. Hillary Clinton countered by continuing to defend her support for legal partial birth abortion, undoubtedly thinking that was a winning ticket. How wrong she was.
A national poll of voters taken on election day, November 8, by the polling company Inc./Woman Trend found that essentially half of all voters (49%) said that abortion affected their vote. How did they vote – 31% said they voted for candidates who opposed abortion while only 18% said they voted for candidates who favored abortion – a 13% advantage for the pro-life side. When you think how close the vote was in Pennsylvania and other states which determined the election, it is clear that abortion made a clear difference in the election.
The poll results also clearly reflected the heavy involvement of National Right to Life and its political action committees, the National Right to Life PAC and the National Right to Life Victory Fund. Fully 29% of voters recalled hearing, seeing or receiving information from National Right to Life and 17% recalled hearing, seeing or receiving information from a state right to life group such as an NRLC affiliate.
National Right to Life and its political action committees mailed 3.3 million pieces of literature, made 5 million phone calls, sent 3 million e-mails and reached 9.2 million through social media, many of whom undoubtedly shared, reposted and retweeted National Right to Life’s information.
All in all National Right to Life’s PACs were actively involved in 58 federal campaigns, winning 48 (83%) of them.
Yes, there was a referendum on abortion on November 8. Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won – but unborn children won also.
Editor’s note. This appeared on page one of the December digital edition of National Right to Life News. You can read all the stories, analyses, editorials, and president’s column at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsDec2016.pdf.