by Leo Thuman
Earlier this week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing addressing recent pro-life legislation in several states, titled “Threats To Reproductive Rights in America.” In the opening statement, Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) echoed many typical arguments promoting the Left’s status quo on abortion legality, as did Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-Calif.) in his comments. The Republicans, however, had strong retorts on the issue.
The intent of the hearings — from the witnesses each side invited, to statements and questions from Committee members — typified the parties’ differing agendas on the issue. Rep. Cohen stated that he aimed to de-stigmatize the practice of abortion as much as he sought to promote its legality. By inviting witnesses who were vocal about having aborted their children, the Democrats sought to paint the act as something to be unashamed of. One witness was an actress, Busy Phillips, who is an ally of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s most prolific abortion provider. Several others were doctors who performed abortions, including an Alabama Planned Parenthood employee, Dr. Yashica Robinson.
On the other hand, the Republican witnesses testified to the very real human cost of abortion. One, Christina Bennett of the Family Institute of Connecticut, told the heart-wrenching account of her own coming into the world, describing the anger of an abortionist when her mother decided against the procedure at the last minute. Bennett, who is African American, echoed Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion that abortion is closely tied to racial eugenics. Indeed, her life’s story demonstrates that the evil mentality of racial eugenics appears to persist in the abortion industry today. Another pro-life activist, Melissa Ohden, was fortunate enough to survive an abortion procedure which was foisted upon her mother by her grandmother, who was a nurse. Her heart-rending testimony before the committee repudiated the Left’s argument that abortion is a broadly safe practice with no true human cost.
Ultimately, a strong message was sent by the conservatives on the committee, even though they are a minority and had only two affirmative witnesses. Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) strongly set the tone for his side’s argument on ethical and legal grounds. Especially poignant were his references to critiques of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, especially from the Supreme Court’s foremost liberal, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In contrast, the Democrats’ arguments were much weaker. To bolster their position, they misrepresented recent pro-life laws, such as when Rep. Cohen seemed to imply that the Alabama law forbids abortion when the mother’s life is at grave risk, when in reality it has been well documented as the law’s sole exception. In addition, the Democratic majority failed to substantially question the pro-life witnesses, instead choosing to ask leading questions to sympathetic witnesses from the pro-abortion groups. This disadvantaged them the most when they referenced the Fourteenth Amendment, accusing pro-life states of racism, while failing to address the contrary argument that abortion is historically mired in white supremacism.
For those interested in the abortion issue, the hearing is worth viewing in its entirety, which you can find below:
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0