By Carol Tobias, President
The Republican presidential primary is underway. The first GOP debate is over; the second one is scheduled for Wednesday, September 27. The first debate showed there is no singular answer as to how to handle abortion at the federal level. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Following the Dobbs v Jackson decision, many different groups have proposed many potential solutions and suggestions.
In the early years of the pro-life movement, following the devastating Supreme Court decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton, there was strong disagreement as to how to proceed. Pro-life people found it incomprehensible that the Court would show such utter disregard for innocent preborn children.
The immediate, and natural, response was to work for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to restore full legal protection to unborn children. However, many in the movement thought the possibility of amending the constitution was much more likely to succeed if the amendment returned decision-making ability to Congress and the individual states jointly, with the most baby-protective law being preeminent.
There was strong disagreement over which path to follow. It wasn’t until 1983 that the U.S. Senate finally voted on the Hatch-Eagleton amendment to the constitution, which would have returned abortion law to the states and Congress. Two-thirds of the Senate needed to approve the amendment in order to continue the process but only 49 senators supported the effort, with 50 opposing.
Much like the years following 1973, we are in a new era. After all, it’s not often that the Supreme Court reverses itself after almost 50 years of precedence. It wasn’t surprising that candidates at the Republican debate had different answers.
They come from different states and have different experiences. They differ on how to interpret the Constitution.
But NONE of the Republican candidates accept the premise that abortion is, as abortion advocates posit, a woman’s “right.” NONE of the candidates argued that killing unborn children should be considered necessary “health care.”
Several of the candidates did contrast their position with President Joe Biden and his fellow pro-abortion Democrats who support unlimited abortion up to the moment of birth.
After the debate, former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, “No one supports abortion up to birth.” She was ridiculed by thousands on X (Twitter) who gave examples of Democrats and abortion advocates saying there should be NO limits on abortion. Others asked what limits she, or abortion activists, would support. Not surprisingly—Psaki didn’t answer those questions.
While there was much discussion about the different answers given by the presidential candidates, Law Professor Mary Ziegler, who frequently researches and writes on abortion, honed in on an important matter that wasn’t asked by the moderators.
Ziegler tweeted, “Quietly losing my mind on the irrelevance of these abortion questions. What about executive orders…? Or enforcement of the Comstock Act? We know nothing about the areas where a GOP president could actually *do* something.”
Ziegler focused on what NRLC has encouraged candidates and voters to focus on as well. Rather than support initiatives that sound good but save very few babies, there are actually things Congress and the Executive branch could do to save lives.
We’re familiar with the adage “personnel is policy.” The President appoints approximately 4,000 people to various positions at the federal level with around 1,200 of them needing to be confirmed by the US Senate.
Of course, we are familiar with Biden’s high-level appointees:
*Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who is using all resources available in a large, influential department to promote abortion and to make it easier to kill innocent unborn babies.
*Attorney General Merrick Garland, challenging pro-life laws enacted by states and using the Department of Justice to harass pro-life people who peacefully pray outside abortion facilities.
*Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who, as “The Hill” wrote, “issued a rare statement commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, committing to protecting reproductive health services for State Department staff and others around the world.”
*Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who directed the Department of Defense to pay expenses for military personnel to travel to procure an abortion.
These are high-profile names, but most presidential appointees are usually nameless, faceless bureaucrats to the American public. However, the good–or the damage–they can do is experienced nationwide.
One example is Neera Tanden, President Biden’s Director of Domestic Policy. Her appointment did not require Senate confirmation. Tanden worked in the Obama administration, helping to write the “healthcare” plan known as Obamacare. She served as president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank in Washington, DC, which said the U.S. Supreme Court “attacked freedom” when it overturned Roe v Wade.
In a 2015 op-ed for MSNBC, Tanden attacked Congress for its efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2016, while working on pro-abortion Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, she cheered a Supreme Court decision striking a pro-life Texas abortion law.
Be assured, Tanden is making sure the administration does everything it can to advance the killing of preborn children. And she has many allies throughout several departments in the federal government doing the same.
Over the coming year, as candidates do their best to convince the American public to vote for them, some are going to be more eloquent or appear more committed than others. We can argue over who the “really pro-life” candidate is, but come November 2024, let’s make sure our disagreements don’t elect an enemy of life.