December 05, 2018
Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) has saved a lot of lives -- including, on June 14th of last year, Majority Whip Steve Scalise's (R-La.). When the Louisiana Republican was lying on a Virginia baseball field, bleeding to death, it was his Army Reserve friend who kept that horrible day from being Scalise's final one. Now, the combat doctor has a different mission: keeping the millions of unborn children safe in the Democrats' war -- on life.
Holding the line is something Rep. Wenstrup was trained to do. Next month, he and his Republican colleagues will have their first taste of this challenge in a House controlled by Democrats. This will be an entirely new experience for several GOP members, who were elected to Congress in voters' pushback to Barack Obama's heavy pro-abortion hand. Now, staring down a party that wants to undo the progress of GOP leaders and the current president, Wenstrup and his fellow pro-lifers have their work cut out for them.
Republicans got a preview of that work way back in April, when Speaker-hopeful Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised a return to the violent culture Americans rejected in 2016. "We will have a pro-choice gavel when we win the Congress. We need to have at least 218 votes to achieve that." It's a "very high priority," she went on, "to protect a woman's right to choose." Now that the House's keys are hanging from the Democrats' ring, it's obvious that what Pelosi's interested in isn't a gavel -- but a hammer.
The current House Minority Leader made that quite clear in the agenda that's starting to take shape in the two-month run-up to a divided Congress. "Women's right to comprehensive health care and affordable family planning is still under assault from the GOP Senate, the White House, and the states," said the woman who once called abortion "sacred ground." "The new House Democratic Majority will fight back against these attacks and work to reverse the damage inflicted by years of GOP attacks on women's right to choose and access to affordable contraception."
That "fighting back" will almost certainly be led by Pro-Choice Caucus leaders Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who've already been plotting their next move to gut the Hyde Amendment, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions across America. To their credit, the Democrats have been up front about that goal from the beginning -- even going so far as to put it in the party's platform two years ago. Now, the second half of their plan for mucking up Congress with cultural gridlock is, as Lee and DeGette say, in the "family planning" realm. "The Trump administration," they argued, "has made numerous attempts to throw up ideologically-driven road blocks to women's health care, and we will stand up to every one of those attempts for as long as we have to."
In particular, the duo have their sights set on Title X funding and the liberal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program -- two things President Trump took an ax to earlier this year. First, he and Congress freed up the states from being forced to send the money abortion groups' way. Then, he took a swipe at Planned Parenthood, insisting that any group who gets Title X dollars can't have an abortion business in that same facility. When it came to sex ed, the administration decided to undo the damage of the Obama years and stop investing in programs that even the government agrees are failing. Instead, he and HHS shipped some of that money to the only method of birth control that always works: abstinence.
Of course, the Democrats only have one house of Congress, so the Left's dreams of toppling everything conservatives spent eight years doing are slim. But they can inflict damage, stripping out pro-life riders, bottling up good legislation, forcing the Senate's hand on spending, and more. Congressman Wenstrup knows there will be challenges, but he said that ought to make Republicans work even harder to hold the line. It's up to us, he said, to be "as persuasive as we possibly can to bring up the negative aspects" of abortion and try to change hearts and minds. At the very least, he insists, they should try to find common ground on other pro-life issues like "assisted suicide" or ending the gruesome practice of fetal tissue experiments.
In the meantime, pro-lifers can take comfort in one important truth: we don't need Congress to win on life. But we do need leaders who stand up and courageously make the case of it. Thank goodness for men and women in the House, Senate, and administration who are willing to do just that.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.