The national pro-life movement has experienced multiple successes in 2016. Ten of the major highlights of the past year are especially noteworthy.
- Four additional states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia – banned dismemberment abortion, a second trimester procedure during which an unborn baby’s limbs are torn from his or her body. Live Action’s medical animation video shows the procedure:
“These laws not only protect unborn babies but serve to educate the public about the brutality of abortion,” says National Right to Life about the bans on dismemberment abortions.
- Three additional states – Ohio, South Carolina, and South Dakota – passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a measure that bans abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy. Altogether, 15 states have passed the Pain-Capable bill.
- Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton painted a sharp contrast between herself and Republican nominee Donald Trump when she was forced to defend her position that babies can be aborted up until their due date when Fox News debate host Chris Wallace questioned her on the issue.
“In a moment that was even cringe worthy for Democrats, Clinton reaffirmed her support for the partial-birth abortion method and abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy,” observed National Right to Life. “By contrast, Trump said, ‘I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges.'”
- Pro-life candidates had a winning year in the 2016 congressional elections. National Right to Life notes that it realized ten victories in the U.S. Senate, with only two losses, and 39 wins in the U.S. House, with only eight losses. All in all, the national pro-life group boasts an 83 percent success rate in congressional elections.
- The nation’s largest abortion chain Planned Parenthood spent at least $30 million attempting to elect pro-abortion Democrats. The organization was unable to win the White House, even with a head start after endorsing Hillary Clinton in the primary – the first time the organization ever did so.
- The U.S. House and Senate sent a reconciliation bill to President Obama that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. As expected, Obama vetoed the measure, but its approval by Congress set a precedent for advancing the legislation with a new pro-life president in the White House.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said, despite Obama’s veto, Congress’ use of the reconciliation process to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood – “a likely criminal organization” – to other healthcare facilities is “historic.”
“This veto – only one of eight bills that Obama has vetoed and the very first pro-life one – underscores the need for the nation to elect a pro-life president in 2016,” she added, “one who does the will of the people instead of pandering to a corrupt and deceitful organization that betrays women and sells them, and their preborn babies, out for the bottom line.”
- The U.S. Senate holds off its vote on President Obama’s appointment of pro-abortion Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. President-elect Trump has promised to appoint only pro-life justices to the nation’s high court.
- North Carolina U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers was defeated in the GOP primary. Ellmers came to Congress in the 2010 Tea Party wave, but abandoned her conservative principles after her election. She led a charge to shelve the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2015 on the eve of the March for Life, and justified her opposition by saying the measure would negatively affect the GOP with women and millennial voters.
“There is no member of Congress in recent memory who did greater harm to a major piece of pro-life legislation, while claiming to be pro-life, than Renee Ellmers,” said Douglas Johnson, director of federal legislation for National Right to Life.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution following allegations the abortion chain and its partners in biomedical procurement have been harvesting the body parts of aborted babies and selling them for a profit.
- The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for criminal prosecution by the Texas attorney general. The panel ultimately made 15 criminal and regulatory referrals of abortion clinics and fetal tissue procurement companies to federal, state, and local authorities for further investigation into possible violations of the law.