This year we have witnessed the most incredible momentum to protect unborn children and their mothers of any point since the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings imposed a single, extreme policy of abortion on demand through birth on the entire nation. State lawmakers have introduced more than 375 pro-life bills just in the first few months of 2019, according to one pro-abortion think tank. Among them are strong bills that protect babies throughout pregnancy. Clearly, the American people are voicing their will. Their dissatisfaction with the status quo has reached a tipping point, yet Democratic Party leaders – who so often appeal to “being on the right side of history” – are charging stubbornly in the opposite direction.
Take for example the sweeping abortion bill Democrats in the Illinois legislature are trying to ram through in the last days of their session. This bill would create a “fundamental right” to abortion, wiping out all sorts of modest limits Illinois has on the books and effectively expanding abortion on demand (already paid for by taxpayers) through the moment of birth and even infanticide. It repeals the state’s ban on grisly partial-birth abortions; since the federal ban still applies, it seems this was intended to make a statement about values. It also allows non-doctors to perform abortions, removes conscience protections for pro-life health care workers, and would force all private health insurance plans to cover abortion – including religious organizations. This bill is even more radical than the law signed by New York’s Governor Cuomo and the failed bill proposed by a Virginia legislator earlier this year.
This is the very kind of extremism that has repulsed women and men of nearly every political persuasion and helped set off the tidal wave of pro-life legislation around the country, as well as the defeat of New York-style bills in Rhode Island and New Mexico where courageous Democrat lawmakers joined Republican colleagues to stand up to abortion extremists.
Unlike some of their state-level counterparts, Democrats’ 2020 presidential candidates haven’t gotten the message and are completely out of touch with the American people. Like Hillary Clinton before them, they call for American taxpayers to be forced to pay for abortions. Not satisfied with that, every single Democrat Senator seeking the White House refused to even vote to protect babies born alive after failed abortions, legislation backed by 77 percent of Americans – including 70 percent of Democrats.
Joining them recently was the ostensible “moderate” in the race and frontrunner in the polls, Joe Biden. Biden’s is a pathetic story: he used to vote pro-life and for decades supported the Hyde Amendment – longstanding federal policy that prevents taxpayer funding of abortion and has saved more than two million lives. Now as his party takes a sharp lurch leftward, he’s come out against limits on abortion that most Americans support and in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion to appease an increasingly radical base.
Biden is just the latest contestant in the Democrats’ contest to see who can be the most zealously pro-abortion, and his reversal after so many years is the biggest and most disappointing.
Fellow 2020 candidate Cory Booker wants a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. So does Elizabeth Warren, who also called on Congress to defend abortion through federal legislation. Kamala Harris has an unconstitutional proposal to weaponize the Justice Department against states that try to pass laws that protect unborn children, in accord with their people’s wishes.
Bernie Sanders says “abortion is health care” that would be covered under Medicare for All. Kirsten Gillibrand calls abortion “a human right.” Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar won’t rule out late-term abortion and would rather dodge the issue altogether.
Abetted by mainstream media that provides them flattering coverage while working hard to marginalize and silence pro-life voices, these Democrat candidates act as though they are leading a massive army. In reality, they are the fringe minority. Catering and pandering to the radical abortion lobby is a losing strategy; most Americans support abortion restrictions, oppose late-term abortion, and oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
The more Democrats and the mainstream media discuss abortion as a core issue in the 2020 election cycle, the more they expose themselves as extremists and alienate not only those voters who always put their convictions about the value of human life first, but increasingly, Independents, undecided voters, and moderate Democrats as well. Those voters aren’t impressed by pro-abortion Democrats’ phony moderates or self-proclaimed feminist heroes and they notice that the Republican Party, led by President Trump, provides a clear contrast. We will continue to champion life and make it the standard to which candidates are held. The cause is just, the American people are on our side, and our voices will be unmistakably heard in 2020.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.