Mary Beth Waddell is Senior Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council. This article appeared at CNS News on November 12, 2020.
Come January, the U.S. House of Representatives will have at least 25 Republican women, all of whom have demonstrated or pledge strong support for the sanctity of human life.
As of this writing, 15 new pro-life Republican congresswomen will join the 11 incumbent congresswomen who ran and all won re-election. This currently matches the highest number of Republican Congresswomen in the history of the U.S. House and could soon be easily surpassed as a few more pro-life women are leading in races that are not yet final. Nicole Malliotakis in New York’s 11th district is currently up by nearly 16%, Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd district is up by 11%, and a few others are leading with closer margins.
The so-called “squad” of young progressive congresswomen will have some stiff competition in the next Congress. Despite many predictions of a “blue wave,” voters flatly rejected the pro-abortion agenda of the left on Election Day as seven pro-life women unseated pro-abortion Democrats.
One of the highlights was Telemundo anchorwoman Maria Elvira Salazar, who flipped Florida’s 27th U.S. House District. She grew up in Miami’s Little Havana, was raised by immigrant parents, and is the embodiment of the American Dream. She is a wife and mother of two daughters, but she still found time for a successful career. Salazar paid her way through Harvard University and became an award-winning journalist.
Among other accomplishments, she has interviewed Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and won five Emmy Awards. Salazar ran for Congress to “preserve and protect the freedoms and values that make this country the most extraordinary country in the history of the world.” This includes preserving and protecting the value of every human life. Susan B. Anthony List, one of the nation’s leading organizations dedicated solely to the issue of life, notes that “her Cuban heritage has instilled in her a deep respect for life” and she “has resolved to use her voice to speak up for the unborn and their families in Congress.”
Republican women shone even brighter in the Midwest as Mary Miller, a mother of seven, grandmother of 17, farmer, and business manager, won election to Illinois’ 15th U.S. House District. She ran for Congress to fight for "Midwestern values of faith, family, and freedom.” Mary is pro-life and has promised to defend the Hyde Amendment that prevents tax dollars from being used for abortion and is under extraordinary attack. Further, she has promised to support efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
Just to the north, Michelle Fishbach, the first woman to serve as President of the Minnesota Senate, won election to Minnesota’s Seventh District. A mother of two and grandmother of five, she is proudly pro-life and supported many pro-life bills in the Minnesota Senate. Fishbach believes that “we must protect the unborn, who have the fundamental right to life, and defend the sanctity of innocent human life at all stages.” She provides a sharp contrast to fellow Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who stated “all women deserve...access to a safe, affordable abortion.”
The Senate, too, will have some wonderfully pro-life women. Joni Ernst of Iowa defended her seat despite being outraised by nearly fourfold. She, too, is a mother, but that has not required her to sacrifice her career. She is a co-chair of the Senate Values Action Team, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that confirms judicial appointments, and a primary sponsor of various pro-life bills.
Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis won the open senate seat in Wyoming created by Mike Enzi’s retirement. In the U.S. House, she was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and believes “the liberties guaranteed to each and every one of us in the United States Constitution must be protected.” She is a mother and grandmother (notice the pattern), but has also worked as a cattle rancher and a public servant, serving as Wyoming state treasurer and in both the Wyoming and U.S. Houses. She was a solid pro-life vote in the U.S. House and will be again in the Senate.
Like the newly sworn-in Justice Amy Coney Barrett, these ladies are examples of a new feminist movement that rejects the idea that women have to sacrifice family for career, that equality and empowerment require access to abortion, and that conservative women are all subservient "handmaids" with no personal goals, aspirations, or achievements.
It’s encouraging to see increasing numbers of pro-life women standing up and having their voices heard. It’s even more encouraging that they have been supported by their constituents across the country to represent those values in Washington.