Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action, says President Trump is off to a “promising” start on pro-life issues, but she says the president and Congress must do what it takes to defund Planned Parenthood at a time when Democrats are voting in favor of “infanticide.”
Still in her 20s, Rose has been a leading pro-life activist for a decade, starting when she was 15. She gained notoriety for videotaping her experiences posing as a pregnant teenager at various Planned Parenthood facilities.
One year into the Trump presidency and 45 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion, Rose gives the administration a decent grade on pro-life issues.
“I think the last year has been promising. I would use that word, especially the folks that he’s surrounded himself with, and the appointments he’s made, and the confirming of Justice Gorsuch. These are good signs,” said Rose.
“I think it’s good that he showed up to speak from the Rose Garden at the March for Life. I think his appointments are good on [Health and Human Services]. The head of the Department of Justice is now investigating Planned Parenthood. These are good things, but we really have to achieve the biggest thing, which is stopping the government forcing of taxpayers to fund abortion chains,” said Rose.
“We are urging to administration to really lean on Congress to make sure they get that bill to ensure that we’re not funding the biggest abortion chain (Planned Parenthood) $1.5 million every day,” added Rose.
Republicans did try to include defunding of Planned Parenthood in various forms of Obamacare repeal or reform legislation, only to be thwarted by the likes of Republican Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Rose worries Congress members may be more eager to promise defunding Planned Parenthood than to actually do it.
“I am concerned about lip service and I think others in the movement are concerned. This is a really hard thing to do. You basically have to break 50 votes. Depending on how the rules are changed or amended, you could get the vice president to weigh in and be the tiebreaker in the Senate.
“There is a path to do it. It’s a matter of is this going to be the most important thing for the administration when it comes to upholding the first human right and protecting human life in this country,” said Rose.
While Rose and other pro-life activists pressure lawmakers to make defunding Planned Parenthood a priority, she is appalled by how Democrats approached Friday’s House vote on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
The legislation would require medical personnel to do whatever is possible to save the life of a baby if he or she emerges alive from the mother’s womb following an attempted abortion. It reinforces existing policy but also adds criminal penalties, including up to five years in prison for failing to pursue life-saving measures.
The bill passed, with all Republicans voting for it, but 183 of 189 Democrats opposed it.
Planned Parenthood denounced the bill.
“Medical guidelines and ethics already compel physicians facing life-threatening circumstances to respond. Doctors and clinicians oppose this law because it prevents them from giving the best care to their patients. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly opposes this legislation, calling it a ‘gross interference in the practice of medicine,'” said a Planned Parenthood statement.
Planned Parenthood official Dana Singiser took it even further.
“The political agenda here is clear: to take away access to safe, legal abortion,” said Singiser in the same statement.
But Rose says the vote just shows how radical Democrats are on abortion now.
“I think it just shows the insanity of the Democratic Party today, which is really going to hurt them in elections the more word gets out. This bill, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, wasn’t even about abortion. It was about infanticide. It was about protecting children who have been born and who deserve to be protected,” said Rose.
“The fact that Democrats in a huge voting bloc, tried to reject a bill that would protect against infanticide is extremely troubling. Look, most of the electorate – including in the Democratic Party – want at least some restrictions on abortion. That’s the majority of Democrats, including Democrat women,” said Rose.
Rose says Democrats are increasingly marching to whatever tune Planned Parenthood is playing.
“They help elect these people so even though these folks try to mislead voters to say that they were more moderate or they cared about human rights or do what was best once in office, their elections are being funded by Planned Parenthood.
“They’re going to march to the beat of their drum, even if that beat ultimately includes shooting down protections against infanticide,” said Rose.
One of the major themes at Friday’s March for Life was how science is on the side of the pro-life movement, especially with the advancements in ultrasound technology. Rose says the assertions that life begins at birth or that viability should determine personhood are relics.
“If you create an arbitrary line at birth, then you are killing children who are viable before birth, children that are separated by inches of a birth canal from human rights protections. It’s arbitrary. It doesn’t make sense,” said Rose.
And she says science changing beliefs about viability as well.
“Viability is being increasingly moved backwards. Children can now survive outside the womb with medical assistance a little past 21 weeks. That’s incredible. The more we develop our medical technology, the more and more that viability line will change. People are realizing it’s an arbitrary line and that life, as science reveals, begins at the moment of conception,” said Rose.
Rose says the pro-life movement has a lot of momentum both politically and to some extent in the courts. However, she contends Congress needs to seize the momentum and end taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood to be a true success.
She also claims cultural momentum, pointing out that more Americans are pro-life, and young people a major reason why. Rose also says the personal stories of mothers who carry difficult pregnancies to term and the testimonies of former abortion clinic workers are changing minds around the nation.