By Carol Tobias
Editor’s note. This column, by NRLC President Carol Tobias, appears on page three of the October digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the issue cover to cover and share with friends using your social media contacts.
I had big dreams when this year started. We were going to change or repeal Obamacare with its many abortion-expanding provisions, and we were going to remove federal taxpayer subsidies for the more than 1,000 insurance plans that cover elective abortion.
We were also going to block the roughly half a billion federal-taxpayer dollars Planned Parenthood receives annually through Medicaid and various other programs.
That hasn’t happened and many pro-lifers are understandably disappointed. After all, we wanted to overturn in less than a year what had taken the Obama Administration years to put into place.
But pro-lifers are nothing if not resilient. Working with congressional pro-life leadership, we will diligently continue to undo the damage inflicted on unborn babies by eight years of President Obama. That also includes huge assists from the administration of President Trump.
Although Obamacare is still the law of the land, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken a major step toward enforcing a portion of the law ignored and unenforced by the Obama administration.
HHS has announced that qualified health plan issuers must segregate collected premiums to pay for abortion coverage; that enrollees be informed if abortions are covered by a health plan; and that HHS will fully enforce these requirements as a step toward ensuring that federal tax dollars are not used to subsidize coverage for elective abortion.
Before leaving office, President Obama issued a regulation to prevent states from redirecting Title X funds away from providers deemed unsuitable, such as Planned Parenthood. The House and the Senate employed the Congressional Review Act and voted to nullify these regulations, thereby restoring authority to the states to direct Title X funds to providers they deem suitable. President Trump signed that bill into law in April.
In addition, we started off 2017 with President Trump not only re-issuing the Mexico City Policy, gutted by President Obama, but expanding it into the new “Promoting Life in Global Health Assistance.” This initiative will apply pro-life conditions to a broad range of health-related U.S. foreign aid.
The Mexico City Policy required that, in order to be eligible for certain types of foreign aid, a private organization must sign a contract promising not to perform abortions, not to lobby to overturn pro-life laws in other countries, or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning. The new Assistance policy greatly expands the array of overseas health programs that are now covered by pro-life policy.
Right-to-Lifers applauded a momentous move by the Senate, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to require only a simple majority to confirm a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. As you are aware, Senate Democrats were using the filibuster to prevent a confirmation vote on Neil Gorsuch to the Court. By changing the rules, the Senate is now able to confirm a judge to any federal court by a majority vote, rather than the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.
One of our top priorities remains enactment of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. That legislation has passed the House of Representatives and has been introduced into the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham.
There is no question that passage in the Senate will be difficult. I encourage all pro-lifers to contact their senators, even the staunchly pro-abortion senators, letting them know there is strong support for the bill among their constituents.
Thirty-three states have senate races next year. Every voter in those states should know which candidates support the killing of unborn babies who have developed to the point of being able to feel pain during an abortion. Are incumbent senators, or challengers to the incumbents, supporting the radical position of the abortion industry that says there should be no limits whatsoever on abortion?
You can help to make sure that information becomes public knowledge. Ask the candidates where they stand on the issue, and do it in a public setting, like at a forum where the candidate takes questions from the audience. If candidates are being interviewed on a radio show and listeners are able to call in to ask questions, get out your phone, dial the station, and ask that question.
If you have built a friendly relationship with a local reporter who covers campaigns, ask them to bring up the topic in an interview. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a federal bill awaiting action in the Senate. How would the senator, or other candidate, vote on the bill?
We can’t let candidates slip by with some mumbo-jumbo about “reproductive rights” or being “pro-choice.” We need to know exactly where the candidates stand and how they will vote on specific legislation if elected.
Babies’ lives are on the line. That’s why we won’t give up. That’s why we will keep on keeping on. The babies deserve no less.