Pro-life wave washes over midterms

Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment and Arina Grossu is Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. This article appeared in the Washington Times on December 8, 2014.

Democratic candidates trotted out the cliched “war on women” theme in the midterms. Advocates of abortion-on-demand worked to convince voters they had women’s interests at heart. It hasn’t worked in the past and, in 2014, it really didn’t work.

In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall harped on that theme so loudly and so often that even liberal reporters began calling him “Mark Uterus.” He was handily beaten by pro-life Rep. Cory Gardner. Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis gained international notoriety by filibustering against a bill to provide protections for preborn children in the seventh, eighth and ninth months of pregnancy. She raised millions of dollars from fellow Democrats, but she struggled to find her footing in a campaign for governor. Ms. Davis lost even the women’s vote in Texas by a substantial margin. (Someone should have told Wendy Davis that women voters are even more pro-life than men.)

In Maryland, Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown seemed a shoo-in in a state that has a 2-1 Democratic registration edge. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama came to the Free State repeatedly. The president made the point that Marylanders had a chance to elect their first black governor. But turnout in the black community was way down in Maryland, and Mr. Brown’s ad blitz promising to promote abortion-on-demand and make Marylanders pay for it doubtless cooled voters’ enthusiasm for him. He lost in a shocker to Republican political newcomer Larry Hogan.

Kansas had two hot races to watch. Pro-life champion Gov. Sam Brownback was targeted by liberal activists seeking to prove that even in historically Republican Kansas they could pick off a pro-life, pro-growth candidate. Given up for dead by many political pundits, Mr. Brownback came back strong to finish ahead of his Democratic challenger, the pro-abortion state representative Paul Davis (50 percent to 46 percent).

Mr. Brownback is an innovator, actively having supported creation of the world’s first adult stem cell research facility at Kansas University Medical Center. Here, embryonic human beings are not used for research. Instead, research focuses on adult stem cells. Adult stem cells, derived from already-born persons, have been used to treat more than 70 diseases and disorders and hold the greatest medical promises.

Also in Kansas, veteran Republican Sen. Pat Roberts was said to be in deep trouble. His Democratic opponent was induced to drop out so that millionaire and political neophyte Greg Orman could have a better shot at the solidly pro-life Mr. Roberts. Mr. Orman ran as an “independent” despite a career of voting for Democrats and donating to their campaigns. The youthful, handsome Mr. Orman kept saying we need to “move beyond” the abortion issue, which is Orwellian “newspeak” for “let’s keep abortion-on-demand and not talk about it.” Mr. Roberts, who during a debate with Mr. Orman called the latter’s position on abortion “unconscionable,” won by a comfortable margin.

Across the country, pro-lifers came up victorious. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, handily dispatched Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat. Similarly, strongly pro-life Rep. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, thumped incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who had only managed a 35 percent pro-life voting record during his Senate career. In Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn, attempted to play down the fact that she is considerably more liberal than her pro-life father. It didn’t work. Voters chose David Perdue, a Republican, and disregarded the media hype for Ms. Nunn. Mr. Perdue even won over two opponents and scored a first-round knockout. (Georgia law, like Louisiana’s, requires candidates for statewide office to win more than 50 percent of the vote.)

Pro-life Members of Congress Jim Lankford, Oklahoma Republican and Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, will join a new Republican majority in the Senate, as will pro-life supporters Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican; Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican; Mike Rounds, South Dakota Republican; Dan Sullivan Arkansas Republican and Steve Daines, Montana Republican.

Women’s interests were indeed delivered this year by the resounding pro-life election victories around the country, highlighted by the fact that five pro-life women beat their opponents decidedly. They are Elise Stefanik, New York Republican; Mia Love, Utah Republican and Mimi Walters, California Republican, in the House of Representatives, and Ms. Ernst in the Senate, as previously mentioned. The empty “war on women” theme falls flat in the face of the reality that there will be more pro-life women serving in Congress than ever before in U.S. history.

Perhaps most encouraging from the Republican landslide is the fact that in state after state, the GOP now enjoys majorities in both houses of the state legislature. This, combined in at least 25 states with GOP governors, should mean progress in passing protective laws for mothers and their unborn children at the state level.

These new pro-life lawmakers will have their work cut out for them. They need to dismantle Obamacare, which represents the cruelest expansion of abortion subsidies since Roe v. Wade. They need to stop the HHS Mandate, which threatens conscience protections by forcing people to provide coverage for drugs that can destroy early human life.

Other issues related to life and family will challenge these lawmakers. The majority of Americans are pro-life and these midterms dismantled any arguments to the contrary. The detractors were wrong in 1973 and they are wrong now.