Abortion and the next Congress

A woman I know recently told me how she came to see abortion in a different light: “I was pro-abortion without thinking too much about it. I just took it for granted that abortion was OK – women’s rights, the right to control your own body, the usual stuff. Then one day my mother told me that she intended to abort me. She changed her mind when I started kicking. And hearing that, I also changed my mind.

She paused, then added, “I guess I’m still kicking.”

This woman was lucky. Sixty million unborn children – the number of abortions in America since the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 – weren’t so lucky.

With the November 8 election approaching, preserving legal abortion would be a top concern for many people. If so, it reflects a decision by Democratic candidates to capitalize on the backlash — stoked by pro-abortion groups and mainstream national media — against the reversal of the June court ruling. deer.

We will have a much clearer picture after November 8 of what the abortion landscape in Congress will look like for at least the next two years. As it stands, two pending bills sit at opposite ends of the political debate.

One, backed by congressional Democrats and President Biden, is the misleadingly named Women’s Health Protection Act, which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops calls “the most extreme on-demand abortion our country has ever seen.”

The bill would establish a nationwide unlimited right to abortion until viable, then allow it any time after that on the word of a health care provider that continuing the pregnancy would harm the mental health of the child. wife. It would undo virtually all state restrictions on abortion, undermine the conscience protection of healthcare providers who oppose abortion, and allow taxpayer funding of abortion under Medicaid.

The other bill, introduced in the Senate by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and in the House by Chris Smith (R-NJ), would establish a national minimum standard for the protection of the unborn child by banning abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy. . Individual states would be free to pass legislation offering stricter protections if they so wished, as some have already done.

Unless one party has ironclad control of the House and Senate in the next Congress, neither bill has much chance of passing anytime soon. And even if by some miracle the Graham-Smith bill were to pass, Biden would be certain to veto it. In the short term, however, the bills provide talking points for their respective sponsors.

From a pro-life perspective, the best long-term solution would be legislation – or, ideally, a constitutional amendment – ​​declaring that the unborn child has the rights of legal personality, including the right to life. Realistically, there’s no possibility of that happening in the foreseeable future, but as one pro-life lawyer told me privately: “After all, it took 50 years for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.”

This underscores the fact that the lasting success of the pro-life movement will require patient and persistent education and motivation. Laws and court decisions are critically important, of course, but in the long run, restoring a pro-life culture in America will be essential.

The woman quoted above changed her mind when she realized that unborn children are human beings at an early stage of development. This is the message. “I guess I’m still kicking,” the woman said. Pro-life Americans must also keep kicking.

About Michael S. Montanez

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