National Right to Life – a pro-life organization that offered its support to former House Speaker John Boehner – has endorsed appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in his Alabama primary run-off race against conservative Judge Roy Moore.
Strange – who is supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other establishment Washington, DC, individuals and groups – tweeted Thursday, “Proud to be endorsed by … @nrlc for my 100% pro-life record. I will always stand up for the unborn and the defenseless!”
— Luther Strange (@lutherstrange) September 21, 2017
In an early August statement, National Right to Life (NRTL) endorsed Strange:
“National Right to Life is pleased to endorse Senator Luther Strange, whose position on life reflects the true values of Alabama’s voters,” said Karen Cross, National Right to Life political director. “Senator Strange has a 100 percent pro-life voting record in the 115th Congress, including votes to confirm Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The organization noted that Strange supports defunding Planned Parenthood, is a sponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and plans to co-sponsor the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
“As a co-chair of the Senate Values Action Team, Senator Strange is a leader in the fight for pro-life legislation in the United States Senate,” Cross said.
On his campaign website, however, Strange does not mention pro-life issues.
Moore’s campaign, on the other hand, does state his pro-family, pro-life positions and his specific call for defunding Planned Parenthood:
A strong family based on marriage between one man and one woman is and should remain our only guide and model.
I oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, civil unions, and all other threats to the traditional family order.
Federal funding for Planned Parenthood or any form of abortion should be stopped.
We must remain a moral and virtuous people, “One Nation under God.” I support freedom of worship and the recognition of that God upon Whom we have always relied in peace and war.
In September 2015, NRTL supported then-House Speaker John Boehner, who refused to attach a bill to defund Planned Parenthood to a temporary must-pass spending bill for fear the government would, as a result, be shut down. His decision came on the heels of the Center for Medical Progress’s exposé of the abortion chain’s alleged profiteering from the sale of body parts of babies aborted in its clinics.
Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, told the New York Times at the time that she had problems with conservatives who wanted to attach a bill to defund Planned Parenthood to a temporary spending bill.
“[I] think Planned Parenthood is a vile organization, and I resent the fact that they get any tax money,” Tobias said. “But realistically, with President Obama in the White House holding that veto pen, I don’t know that any government shutdown could accomplish what we want. What we have to do is get a new pro-life president in, and we’d have a much better chance of actually taking away their money.”
Tobias made her comments as Boehner was facing a challenge to his leadership – which he ultimately lost – from conservative House Republicans who were demanding Planned Parenthood be cut off from federal funds. Conservative members of the House said they would not vote for any temporary spending bill that included funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider.
“Speaker Boehner is the most prolife Speaker in history and no one wants to defund Planned Parenthood more than he does,” Emily Schillinger, then-spokeswoman for Boehner, told Breitbart News. “After working with the National Right to Life Committee for decades, he has great respect for their opinion and that’s why we are working with our members to stop these horrific abuses and advance the pro-life cause.”
About 60 other pro-life leaders, however, signed a letter – sent to Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise – in which they urged the leaders to attach a bill to defund Planned Parenthood to must-pass legislation.
“We applaud efforts at the committee level to engage in the much needed investigations of Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices,” the pro-life leaders wrote. “Yet while federal and state investigations ensue, we urge you to act to withhold funding for PPFA and do so on a must-pass bill.”
“We will support such must-pass legislation if it contains a provision to defund Planned Parenthood,” they continued. “It is time for America to wash its hands of the blood money we offer to PPFA year after year.”
In a statement to Breitbart News at the time, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said:
Never before has Planned Parenthood been on the ropes for their actions, never before have their executives been filmed admitting to selling “fresh” baby parts for profit. This is the time. We’ve worked for decades to get pro-life majorities in Congress and now is the time for them to lead.
Christian News reports a number of pro-life activists expressed disappointment with NRTL’s endorsement of Strange over Moore:
“I was disappointed to see that your group had endorsed Luther Strange in Alabama’s Senate race,” one commenter wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “There are men who better represent your goals, and are better men in general than Mr. Strange—men who don’t so fully represent the corruption that is U.S. and Alabama politics.”
“It’s not so Strange that Luther is also the choice of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP dwellers of Washington, D.C. swamp,” one remarked. “Maintaining the status quo is their only goal. They don’t want someone who truly believes in saving babies lives…”
“And you know why [they endorsed Strange]? Because Judge #RoyMoore wants to abolish abortion while #StrangeLuther wants to keep that old pro-life wagon a-rolling along,” another opined.
National Right to Life did not immediately return Breitbart News’s request for comment.