Tony Perkins / December 3, 2021

On Life and Death Roe

The amount of success the pro-life movement has had just in the last several months is astounding.

There were plenty of surprises inside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but the biggest one might have been outside it. “It was like a pro-life block party,” FRC’s Mary Szoch beamed. “There was just a palpable sense of hopefulness in the air — a feeling that this was the moment [we’d] been waiting 49 years for.” From dawn until well after the justices adjourned, the atmosphere was almost jubilant — a preview, conservatives hope, of the celebration to come when the court rules on Roe v. Wade this June.

Until then, even the media couldn’t help but notice the enthusiasm gap. “The anti-abortion crowd seemed to greatly outnumber abortion demonstrators outside the Supreme Court,” a surprised Washington Post reporter pointed out. Most pro-lifers, who are used to shouting to be heard over the dueling abortion rallies at the court, were amazed. Students like Savannah Benton, who’d driven up from Liberty University, were positively taken aback. “Honestly, I was expecting more on the pro-choice side,” she told the Post.

Let’s hope that lopsided energy also translates to the states, where political tacticians on both sides are getting their battle gear ready. If enough justices have the backbone to dismantle Roe, churches, voters, and elected officials will be on the new front lines. It won’t be the end of the abortion fight — but it will be the beginning of a fair fight for the unborn, one where the people and the democratic process have a say. And if the last 10 years is any indication, the Left will have a major war on its hands. Even now, strategists are trying to game out how this will affect the midterm elections. Which side has the edge if the court sends abortion policy back to the states?

Like the Biden administration, the New York Times is wondering if the issue could invigorate a public that doesn’t think too kindly of the Democratic Party right now. “While the subject of abortion and the Supreme Court has traditionally been seen as more of an energizing issue for Republican and evangelical voters,” the Times agrees, “Democrats say that situation could be reversed should the court undermine Roe, raising the possibility that abortion could be banned or severely limited in many states.” Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) hopes — like the rest of his party — that the panic over a Roe-less world would lessen the bloodbath most people expect for Democrats in next year’s midterm elections. “There is no question that should the decision be one that would overturn Roe v. Wade, it will certainly motivate our base.”

But will it motivate them enough? FRC Action Vice President Brent Keilen has watched the pro-life movement grow in power and progress over these last several years, and he believes it will make them a formidable foe for any grassroots abortion campaign. “America really has become more pro-life,” he agreed on “Washington Watch.” We may have a long ways to go, “but the progress really is undeniable.” Fifty years ago, Brent pointed out, the pro-life movement didn’t even exist — at least not in the same sense as we think of it today. “It took a long time to build that infrastructure, but we are seeing the fruit of it now,” Keilen explained. “The role of state legislatures has been huge. The role of judges has been huge. And now, one of the most important outcomes is that the pro-life position is now mainstream in the Republican Party. That wasn’t always the case. Not that long ago, high-level GOP officials would ignore it, downplay it, and even — sometimes — actually undermine it. So we really have come a very long way in the defense of the unborn.”

He’s right. As recently as 2008 and 2012, there were a number of pro-abortion Republicans. But that took a dramatic turn in 2016 when, of all 17 presidential primary candidates, only one had a pro-choice position. Now, when you look across the country, the amount of success the pro-life movement has had just in the last several months is astounding. Already in 2021, states have passed a record number of pro-life laws (106), more than any other year since Roe v. Wade. So the momentum is only growing — which is significant if the issue of abortion gets bounced back to the states where it belongs.

Looking ahead, those local races will never be more important. And Democrats know it. In op-eds leading up to this week’s oral arguments, most liberals seem resigned to the idea of relocating the battle to the legislative branch. In some cases, they actually seem to welcome the shift, declaring, as Megan McArdle did in the Washington Post, “Let Roe Go.” The New York Times’s editorial board echoed the call this week, urging the Left’s abortion militants to “turn to elections.” State conservative lawmakers, they warn, already have. It’s time to stop playing defense, the editors argue, accept the fact that the courts won’t serve as a backstop, and start translating the “public’s consistent majority support for abortion rights into electoral victories at all levels of government.”

There’s just one problem. There is a reason the Left has looked to the courts for the last fifty years on abortion. The Times is confusing the public’s support for legal abortion with the Left’s agenda: unlimited, taxpayer-funded destruction of an unborn child for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe may have condoned that. The American people — almost every poll agrees — will not. Too many Democrats have deluded themselves into thinking that the country’s support for keeping abortion legal is a blank check to deregulate it. But voters, including “pro-choicers,” have very strong opinions about where the lines on the culture of death should be drawn — and the outrageously violent position of the Left falls well outside the mainstream. Ask the AP. Ask Gallup. Ask YouGov. Ask Harvard. Ask Marist. There isn’t a majority anywhere in the country in favor of the kind of barbarism that Democrats want to make permanent law. Only eight percent of Americans can bring themselves to support abortion through nine months of pregnancy. If the Left is naïve enough to think otherwise, they’re in for a rude electoral awakening.

Radical Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) predicted a “revolution” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. What she didn’t take into account was the peaceful one already underway — for life.

Originally published here.

Senate on the Polarized Express with NDAA

There’s only one December flurry that’s bigger than the snow in D.C. — and that’s the rush to pass the NDAA. The National Defense Authorization Act has been the one constant in a city where consensus is rarer than a Santa sighting. The military’s spending bill passes so reliably that it hasn’t missed a year since West Side Story was in the theaters, and gas cost 27 cents a gallon! But that 60-year streak is on the line right now, and there’s no one to blame but radical Democrats.

The two sides were already at odds over plenty of things in the legislation, but the negotiations hit another wall on Wednesday night when Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) decided to go to the mat over the Uyghur torture in China. Like most of the amendments on the table, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) refuses to give the Republicans a vote. His minority counterpart, Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has been complaining about that stonewalling for days. “The Democratic Leader wants to block the Senate from fully and robustly debating a number of important issues — from how to manage the fallout from the reckless Afghanistan retreat to how to respond to China’s dramatic and destabilizing military modernization to how to restore deterrence against an emboldened Iran,” he argued.

The last straw, at least for Rubio, was the Left’s refusal to lift a finger on the Uyghurs — a genocide that everyone in the world seems to care about except top Democrats. (Climate negotiator — and former secretary of State — John Kerry stunned everyone when he went so far as to say that their persecution wasn’t “in his lane.”) He, like a lot of Democrats, has been quietly fighting to kill the issue for months — worried it will hurt their relationships with Chinese communists or jeopardize a climate change deal. From President Biden on down, the message has been that Americans need to play nice with China so that they can grease the wheels on absurd priorities like the Green New Deal.

The Florida senator has had enough of “playing nice,” and thinks it’s time for the United States to actually live up to its name on international human rights. And he’s decided to hold the defense bill hostage until the Democrats grow a conscience on the issue and act.

Wednesday, on the Senate floor, he called his Leftist colleagues on the carpet for trying to sabotage the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act — a bill he’d included as an NDAA amendment.

“We’ve all heard the stories right in China and the Xinjiang province, where Uyghur Muslims are taken from their homes, from their families, they’re forced to work in these factories as slaves. They’re forced to renounce their religion, change their name for sterilization, forced abortions. It’s been characterized rightfully so as genocide. So I filed a bill bipartisan support, and this bill says that any product that’s made in a factory in that part of China has a presumption that it’s made by slaves. And it passed the Senate unanimously. It’s sitting over in the House. So I’m trying to get it here as an amendment on this bill.”

… [The House’s objections] are insignificant, really. This is about the fact that they don’t want this bill to pass over in the House. And I understand why. Listen, there’s some big companies out there — some very big companies… Apple and Nike, a lot of big companies are pushing against it, [and] they’re not going to admit it. Who’s going to go out and lobbying in favor of slave labor? But this is their bottom line. They make a lot of money by making stuff by people that aren’t paid to make it.“

At the end of the day, he tweeted later, "They aren’t blocking my China anti-slavery bill from being part of the defense bill because of some House rule. They are blocking it because major American corporations benefit from factories that use slave labor.”

Schumer, meanwhile, called the reason for Rubio’s objection — protecting a defenseless people who are being systematically raped, sodomized, electrocuted, beaten, and imprisoned — "absurd.“ "If his amendment were on the bill, it would automatically kill the bill,” he threatened. “[It’s a] poison pill.”

This is the new Democratic party — a group of extremists willing to violently abuse millions of innocent men, women, and children for cheaper sneakers and phones. A group of people who would tell Chinese detectives like Jiang to “keep whipping them until they’re bruised and swollen,” until they “kneel on the floor crying.” A group of people who think it’s okay for communist monsters to gang rape teenage boys or taking a wrecking bar to pregnant moms. That’s the brutal reality for innocent people like Omir Bekali, who can’t go to sleep without thinking of being strung up in chains. Saving them, protecting them is “absurd?” What has happened to America?

As upset as conservatives are about the Uyghurs’ treatment, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has never thought the bill was good enough for our troops to begin with. “It doesn’t deliver on what they deserve,” he argued on “Washington Watch.” “It’s just an example of what a poor floor leader Chuck Schumer has proved to be…” The two sides haven’t even had a debate about key parts of the bill like drafting America’s daughters. “Our amendment to strip out the provision that requires women to register for the draft — and potentially face combat arms roles… Schumer hasn’t allowed any of that.”

Meanwhile, the American people have sent over 200,000 emails to Congress after FRC sounded the alarm on women in the draft. (If you haven’t contacted your senators, you still can here.) That alone is more than enough reason to slam the brakes on this proposal. The other problems — from the Uyghurs to Afghanistan and on down — only add fuel to the Republicans’ fire. “I think Americans back home are smart enough to understand that our service members deserve more,” Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said. “They deserve to be our priority in the Senate, and we need to show them that by providing a robust and open debate on the annual defense bill.”

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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