There was an interesting little story in the Washington Post Feb. 28, with this lead:
The Virginia Senate voted Wednesday to cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood of Virginia because it offers abortions. …
These sorts of measures go through fits and starts in various states and often fizzle. This particular bill likely won’t make it past Virginia’s pro-abort governor, Timothy Kaine.
But what made this vote stand out was this key point, again quoting the Post:
The decision [was] a major setback for the Senate’s new Democratic majority. …
Democrats could not break one lone pro-life member, Charles Colgan, from voting with the Republican minority, creating a 20-20 tie broken by the GOP pro-life lieutenant governor.
One pro-life Democrat made the difference.
When Democrats wrested control of both houses of Congress on the national level in 2006, the pro-life situation there looked dire.
It was anticipated Democrats would try to knock off all long-standing pro-life riders on appropriations bills and pass anti-life legislation to boot.
But none of that happened.
Then two weeks ago, the Senate even passed a ban against Indian Health Services funding for abortion.
Also that week, the House stripped language that had been inserted in the U.S. relief package for AIDS in Africa (PEPFAR) that would have streamed funding to abortion groups.
These days Democrat-controlled legislatures sometimes appear as or more pro-life than Republican legislatures.
Here’s the inside scoop on what’s happening with Democrats on the national level, from well-placed pro-life spies.
After Nancy Pelosi became speaker, pro-life Democrats had a private meeting with her to discuss personal and political ramifications for them of introducing pro-abortion legislation or deleting pro-life riders from appropriations bills.
The meeting included respected senior pro-life party members, including James Oberstar, chair of the House Transportation Committee, and Collin Peterson, chair of the Agriculture Committee, along with the Democrat pro-life caucus leader, Bart Stupak.
Since then Democrats have not pushed the anti-life agenda other than to increase funding for “family planning,” i.e., Planned Parenthood, and to try to decrease funding for abstinence. They eventually bailed on the latter.
Democrat leadership is keenly aware a wrong move on the abortion issue would fracture its coalition.
How did PEPFAR language get contaminated? The chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos, was very sick – he died Feb. 11 – and it is thought staffers got away with drafting extreme language that thankfully caused an uproar and was beat back.
With the infusion of pro-life Democrats in 2006, the number is now between 15 and 30, depending on the bill. (Embryonic stem cell bills would reveal the lowest common denominator.)
Those added to the 200 pro-life Republicans are enough to defeat anti-life proposals.
Senate pro-deathers had enough votes to snuff the Mexico City Policy, which keeps abortion groups from getting international family planning money, but House deathers did not. So it emerged unscathed.
The 2006 election additionally weeded out many moderate Republicans. Those left are more strongly pro-life.
All this said, do not rest easy. If either Hillary or Obama wins the election, the situation will again grow ominous. President Bush has played a key role in current pro-life success by threatening to veto riders with pro-life language removed and PEPFAR with bad language. Obviously, neither Democrat will make that threat.
And if Democrats pick up more seats in the House and Senate, they’ll presumably have more pro-abortion votes and dilute out the pro-life Democrats.
So the situation, while not now dire, is precarious.
But pro-lifers are making inroads in the Democrat Party and helping the movement – they should be lauded.
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