Pro-Life Progress at Stake in Elections

Election Day isn’t the only important event taking place next week. One day after Americans cast their ballots and decide who should represent them for the next two years, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider arguments to repeal the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. In other words, there’s a whole other incentive for social conservatives to vote in support of the Grand Old Party.

For years pro-lifers have buckled down in the trenches building grassroots support and raising awareness about the cruelty of abortion procedures — but it wasn’t until recently that they had met with much success. State ballot measures this fall that would ban all or at least some types of abortion bear witness of a pro-life movement emboldened as public momentum has swayed to the right on social issues.

This is why Republicans are hoping conservatives will overlook their flaws next week at the polls in order to avoid any major setbacks in the pro-life agenda.

“If the base doesn’t turn out and the liberals take over, it’s going to roll back any pro-life gains we’ve made and probably open this country up to even more and more abortions,” said pro-life advocate Rep. Steve Chabot (R.-Ohio), who was a co-sponsor of the bill in the House.

Chabot has been on a media blitz in recent weeks in an effort to remind conservatives what will happen if Democrats take charge of Congress.

“We can’t let liberals take over,” he said. “They would do the opposite of what we want.”

As HUMAN EVENTS has previously reported, a Democrat majority in the House would bring liberal, San Francisco values in the form of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) to power. Pelosi has a 100% pro-abortion rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and said of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003: “It was a deliberate attack on reproductive health care and a violation of women’s privacy and their right to make their own decisions.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), who would set the agenda in a Democrat Senate, has also been given a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL.

Battle in the Courts

The two partial-birth abortion cases to be heard by the Supreme Court on November 8 are Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. Opponents of the ban insist the ban is unconstitutional because it lacks a “health exception” to preserve the life or health of the mother.

Chabot says this argument doesn’t measure up when you talk to medical experts.

“Medical testimony indicat[es] that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary and rather than being something that would be helpful to a woman’s health it actually puts a women at great risk,” he said. “There have been many injuries, and even deaths related to this particular type of abortion.”

Planned Parenthood’s website exudes its confidence that the ban will be repealed because “[j]ust six years ago, the Supreme Court itself struck down a very similar abortion ban passed by the state of Nebraska because it did not have a health exception.”

But Chabot said the confusing language of the Nebraska case, Stenberg v. Carhart, being cited as precedent has been cleared up and, this time around, hundreds of pages of medical testimony heard by Congress have been attached for the court to review.

The other advantage pro-life advocates are touting is a more conservative Supreme Court today than in 2000, when it voted 5-4 against the ban — what with John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the stand and Sandra Day O’Connor’s swing vote no longer in play.

“We’re hopeful that with a new court that we have a better chance as well,” Chabot said.

If the court upholds the ban, the door will most assuredly be opened for future debates regarding the treatment of America’s unborn — another reason voters should keep the GOP in charge.

As the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol opined earlier this week, when they go to the polls conservatives should remember that President Bush might well be able to appoint another justice to the Supreme Court in the next two years and if Democrats are running the Senate you can bet another Samuel Alito won’t be making it onto the court.

“A Republican Senate would confirm the next Roberts or Alito,” wrote Kristol. “A Democratic Senate might well not. And furthermore, facing a Democratic Senate, President Bush, or a Republican successor, might preemptively compromise and pick a Kennedy rather than a Roberts or an Alito.”

Too Horrible to Defend

Proponents of the ban say the procedure, which involves removing all but the unborn baby’s head from the mother’s womb, pucturing the head with scissors and the inserting a tube to drain the baby’s brain and collapse its skull, is too horrible to defend.

“Americans are repulsed by this horrific procedure that crushes a mostly-born baby’s head,” said Wendy Wright, CWA president. “Surely the justices who voted for Roe could not have imagined they were providing a blank check for abortionists to do what would be unconscionable against even terrorists. The Supreme Court will decide whether this gruesome act against innocent babies will be deemed ‘constitutional.’”

Which is why Chabot says "it’s critical that the conservatives and pro-family people and pro-life people turn out this year.

"We’re trying to protect innocent, unborn life in this country rather than destroy it as we’ve done far too often."