National Leaders Celebrate ‘Most Pro-Life Senate’ and ‘Reshaping’ of Federal Judiciary

Students and activists carry signs during the annual 'March for Life' in Washington, DC on January 18, 2019. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images
DR. SUSAN BERRY

National pro-life leaders say they are celebrating the “most pro-life Senate in American history” and the “reshaping of the federal judiciary,” even as House Democrats appear bent on expanding abortion in America.

“The strengths of the pro-life movement are all over the place,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, during an interview with Breitbart News at the March for Life Friday. “This is the strongest pro-life Senate – the most pro-life Senate – that we have ever had in American history. Maybe it wasn’t needed at one point, but now it is needed, and we have it.”

Like all the national leaders of pro-life organizations, Dannenfelser admitted she is disappointed Republicans did not hold onto the House in the November midterm elections.

“The silver lining, though, is Democrats revealed themselves immediately,” she continued, pointing to the first piece of legislation passed by House Democrats — a bill to end the partial government shutdown — to which was added language that would repeal the Mexico City Policy. Reinstituted by President Donald Trump, the policy bars taxpayer-funded organizations from promoting or performing abortions overseas.

“Day one of Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the first bill out, and with the contrast with the first week of President Trump’s administration with the reinstitution of the Mexico City Policy – that contrast is such a gift in politics,” Dannenfelser said, adding:

And, as we move into the re-elect and the 2020 Senate races, they will be giving us new gifts every single day with how crazy they’re acting, and, honestly, they pick the most popular measures … the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy. These are hugely popular issues on the pro-life side.

As the March for Life rally began, Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana told the thousands of pro-life marchers assembled on the National Mall that he had launched the first-ever pro-life caucus in the U.S. Senate.

Daines told Breitbart News during an interview that the Senate would be “standing firm” on issues where life is concerned.

“Now, with our new expanded majority in the U.S. Senate, we have more pro-life senators than we had in November,” he explained. “So, we’ll be playing defense on the crazy liberal, pro-abortion policies coming from Nancy Pelosi’s leadership.”

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, agrees the Senate has the mandate to hold the line on legislation coming from the House that promotes abortion.

“I spoke with Sen. [James] Lankford about this very issue, as the chairman of Values Action Team,” Perkins told Breitbart News. “They’ve communicated to the White House that they’re going to stand firm. They also want the president to have their back.”

Perkins said this communication about expectations between the Senate and Trump is critical.

“I think the president’s going to be very clear that he’s not going to support anything that would in any way jeopardize the pro-life gains that have been made in the last two years, nor force taxpayers to fund abortion,” he explained. “So, while I obviously would have preferred that we were on offense, gaining more ground like we have in the last two years, I feel pretty confident we’re not going to lose anything.”

Where pro-life leaders say they will be playing offense is in the federal judiciary.

“The judicial appointments – two Supreme Court justices, 30 circuit court judges – the most circuit court judges ever to make it through Congress in the first two years of a presidency in the history of our nation,” Daines said. “As we know, many of these battles on life are won and lost in the courts.”

Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at the Catholic Association, said what is happening at the state level on issues of life is the most important indicator of what people want.

“What’s happening in the states shows where the American people really are,” she explained. “They want protections for women and unborn children. That’s where the tension is – between the courts and what’s happening at the state level.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, agreed the reforming of the judiciary is now an important strength for the life movement.

“We are reshaping the judiciary, thanks to the president and the excellent pro-life judges he’s putting forward – not only on the Supreme Court, but the district courts, and the circuit courts of appeal,” he told Breitbart News.

Pavone emphasized the new district and circuit court judges do not always make headline news.

“People have to understand this is going on, often without as much headline attention as the Supreme Court gets,” he said. “But, Trump is reforming the federal judiciary. And we have got to support our senators and the president. We have to say, ‘Don’t be afraid, give us the best judges you can find.’”

“I feel the most optimistic than I’ve felt in my adult life,” Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, told Breitbart News. “For the first time, I really do see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I strongly believe that, in my lifetime, I will see either a head-on overturning of Roe or a piecemeal repeal of Roe.”

Nance said public opinion has changed since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided.

“Our laws do not reflect what people believe anymore on the issue of life,” she explained, adding:

And the reason ideas have changed is because science caught up with the lies of the other side. We can literally see into the womb, and we know that, at 18 days, we can detect a beating heart. We know that, at 30 days, the nervous system is intact, and we know that, by 20 weeks – which is what we’ve been talking about in legislation – that a little girl has all her major organs, has fingernails and eyebrows, can hear and respond to her mother’s voice, and feel pain. Right-thinking people do not believe that she should be denied legal protection. So, the law will change, it must change, because now we have facts on our side. It’s no longer 1973, so much has changed.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in her meeting last week with Vice President Mike Pence, she put out a challenge to him and the president to uphold their key promise to defund Planned Parenthood.

“More needs to be done,” she asserted. “Planned Parenthood should be de-listed as a federal contractor with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).”

Hawkins repeated concerns she — and other pro-life leaders — have voiced over the years about America’s largest abortion vendor.

“Planned Parenthood has defrauded taxpayers through the Medicaid program, and we’ve had the baby body parts scandal,” she explained. “There’s no reason why Planned Parenthood should receive any more taxpayer dollars because we have more than 8,000 federally qualified healthcare centers that provide way more services than Planned Parenthood – and at a lower cost, too, to taxpayers.”

“So, now, it’s really going to be the administration’s job to uphold their promises,” Hawkins challenged. “They can’t just blame it on Congress anymore. They’ve had two years to get officials in key positions in the administration, and now it’s time to show us what they’re made of.”

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