Guest essay by Elizabeth Graham
A Matter of Life or Death
While many under the dome of the Washington, D.C., capitol share Texas Right to Life’s views and values, we feel a sense of urgency to act to stop the slaughter of at least 881,000 preborn children who will die in U.S. abortion clinics this year. And that is assuming that the laws on abortion reporting requirements are enforced — which is not a safe assumption. If the enemy is willing to kill babies, they will certainly have no moral qualms about improperly reporting how many babies they have killed.
President Trump has taken definitive action on protecting life and keeping his campaign promises. He has accomplished more as a pro-life president than all the combined members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Not governing to appease the moderates, Trump remembers his base and is representing their values as he said he would. They will — we will, in turn — remember him in the next election cycle.
Trump is a Republican anomaly. Thankfully he is not afraid of his own shadow like most Republicans. Other Republicans in leadership slink toward the middle, misguided that they can neutralize some voters if they avoid controversy, trample the grass-roots who elected them, and ignore the cries of the preborn children left to be slaughtered.
Did New York and Virginia leaders avoid controversy to appease the Republicans there? Of course not. Democrats and liberals never go wobbly in the face of electoral opposition; they aggressively go further left.
With the exception of the President, all these overtures to Democrats and faux Republicans by Republicans in leadership in D.C. are alienating the conservative base, many of whom stayed home in 2018 and did not vote.
Voters always vote passionately and with certainty when they are anti-this or pro-that. Just give the voter a true distinction and a real reason to vote. However, voters are less enthusiastic and committed about a lukewarm platform or name whose record is not memorable even when the lackluster candidate identifies with the preferred party.
For example, voters know whether they are for or against President Trump. In 2020, a massive number of people will tum out to vote for or against Trump. They know where he stands, and they will either vigorously support him or oppose him.
However, in the 2020 election cycle, straight ticket voting will be eliminated in Texas and some other states. Elected officials who are watering down the Republican platform while buttering each other’s bread may want to reconsider how far down their names are on the ballot and how voters will remember them for what they did or did not do in this 116th session of Congress. Mediocrity and cowardice will not be rewarded by voters in the 2020 election cycle.
Will the cries of the 881,000 preborn Americans fall on deaf ears? Will the conservative base once again be taken for granted? Or will the U.S. Congress find its pro-life mojo and pass the conservative reforms on which they campaigned?
Bills that regulate the abortion industry, enhance informed medical consent before an abortion, impose higher penalties on abortion doctors, and draw attention to the humanity of the preborn child are all meaningful policy objectives. But these measures do nothing to stop abortion. We must never lose sight of the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: to end elective abortion.
In the wake of New York’s and Vermont’s unconscionable actions and attempts in Rhode Island and Virginia to abort children seconds before, during, and after their birth, how can Congress, and particularly the U.S. Senate, stand by in an attempt to hoodwink the conservative base?
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 160) is the appropriate response to New York and Vermont and would protect tiny, fully-formed babies at five months. A vote on this bill in the U.S. Senate would show the courage of the senators to take risks to stand for life and would also expose the Democrats who want to argue in favor of killing babies who feel the torturous procedure.
If Senate leadership is so concerned about the political optics of sweeping bans on abortion — whether those bans take effect at conception, or when a heartbeat is detected, or when/if Roe is overturned — why not ban abortion at five months? Only the most radical abortion leftists are for late-term abortions, and leftists are never going to vote Republican anyway.
While some pro-life leaders and organizations support different methods and strategies, the goal of eliminating elective abortion must be the focus. To achieve the long-term goal, Texas Right to Life’s legislative strategy is to take measured, prudent steps to extend legal protection to as many innocent lives as quickly as possible.
Incremental legislation involves three necessary elements:
- the legislation must actually save lives,
- the legislation must drive the cultural conversation to heighten awareness of the humanity of the preborn child and the barbarism of abortion, and
- the legislation must undermine the faulty logic upon which Roe v. Wade (1973) was established, leading to precedent-setting legal victories.
Each of these three elements are never absent in our legislative priorities; consequently, we are subject to much criticism for not lending our full support and weight to non-priority feel-good, symbolic measures that may be life-affirming, yet not life-saving.
We commend efforts to care for children who survive abortion as we commend efforts to care for all patients in need of emergency medical care, rather than leaving patients to die. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act in the U.S. Congress reflects our values in respecting and caring for life, but this measure does not stop one abortion. This bill should be part of a package of bills that immediately stops or reduces the 881,000 reported abortions annually in the U.S.
Passing bills that protect preborn children from abortion, such as the Pain-Capable bill, cements the conservative pro-life base to reelect those who actually keep promises.
If the doomsday predictions prove true – that conservatives will lose control of the U.S. Senate in 2020, then we should take advantage and push through every conservative, pro-family, pro-life reform now? If we really are at risk of losing the Senate, what do we have to lose by standing for life?
Why are our elected officials more concerned with maintaining power than they are in stopping the annual slaughter of 881,000 baby Americans? The question that begs to be asked is whether these officials are pro-life or just political opportunists who use pro-life voters to keep their positions of power.
There will be no opportunities for Republican leadership in 2021 if they do not restore trust and confidence in the base now. President Trump is talking boldly about the atrocities in New York and Virginia and Vermont; U.S. Senators should follow suit.
Frankly, if the Republican Senate leadership does nothing substantial for life and family, why should we return them to office?
Elizabeth Graham is the, Director of Texas Right to Life. Through Texas Right to Life’s Family Assistance Program, Elizabeth has advocated for and worked with countless families whose ailing loved ones faced difficult medical ethics decisions and the futile process at hospitals across Texas.
© 2020 Used by Permission