by Thomas Valentine
Abortion continues to be at the center of the public conversation lately in the midst of a state-by-state push by pro-lifers to change the legal regime that has resulted in nearly 60 million abortions since 1973.
Meanwhile, the 2020 Democrat candidates for president are campaigning on the issue to appeal to hard-left voters.
The front runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, called the new pro-life laws in Alabama and Georgia “pernicious” and “wrong” and said he would support federal legislation to codify Roe into law. Biden also said he would support ending the Hyde Amendment, a law renewed annually that prohibits direct federal taxpayer funding of abortion. Former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke also said he would support federal legislation to “prevent states from taking away the right that every woman should enjoy” and endorsed federal taxpayer funding for abortion.
Those opinions were fairly tame among the Democrat candidates. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) rejected thousands of years of Christian moral doctrine, declaring that pro-life laws limiting abortion go “against Christian faith.” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a childless bachelor, promised he would create an “Office of Reproductive Freedom” in the White House to advance abortion. Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg voiced support for third-trimester abortions on the basis that they are rare.
Even a few on the Right have expressed hesitation about the pro-life push. Televangelist Pat Robertson, who the media normally ridicules, made widely-reportedremarks that the Alabama law goes “too far” because it makes no exception for cases of rape and incest and punishes abortionists with up to 99 years in prison.
But pro-lifers are not shrinking away from the fight.
The New York Times profiled some of the grassroots leaders of the state-by-state pro-life movement, who are seeing renewed momentum. Rather than be intimidated by the left-wing backlash to the Alabama and Georgia laws, pro-life leaders are pushing ahead and taking advice from each other. The article also detailed non-traditional pro-life laws, like one woman’s push to expand Arkansas’ safe-haven law allowing women to surrender infants they can’t take care of without prosecution.
An article from last year reporting that Alabama’s foster care system gave a record number of children permanent adoptive homes has also recirculated on social media as pro-lifers argue the nation is ready to provide alternatives to abortion.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed Georgia’s heartbeat law, dismissed the threat of a boycott of his state by the film industry, which benefits from heavy incentives in Georgia. Kemp said Georgia would not be intimidated by the “C-list” celebrities behind the boycott movement.
After one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress, Dan Lipinski of Chicago, had a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser on his behalf canceled because he is pro-life, he refused to renounce his pro-life views and called for Democrats to be more “tolerant” of pro-life voters.
And another Democrat is refusing to be cowed into toeing the party line. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who campaigned as pro-life in the heavily Catholic and evangelical state, pledged to sign a heartbeat bill similar to Georgia’s that is advancing through the Louisiana legislature. “I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day,” Edwards said.
Abortion has taken center stage in the public square, and the debate shows no signs of letting up.
Photo credit: Victoria Pickering via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0