In a House where Republicans are in the slimmest of minorities, conservatives are accomplishing a lot more than the media's giving them credit for. Some of the victories are moral ones, standing up against bad bills -- or trying to change them behind the scenes in conversations that will never make a bit of news. But this week, what might have been a blip on the media's screen became a full-scale public debate -- all because FRC blew the whistle.
It's a piece of legislation that passed last year without a peep of opposition: the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act. At the time, most Republicans didn't know that the proposal would have forced taxpayers to fund abortifacients. This time around, in 2021, our legislative team wasn't fooled. When the text of the bill came out, the Democrats banked on it being uncontroversial. And maybe it would have been if the alarm weren't sounded that the Veterans Administration was going to force Americans to pay for drugs that might end an innocent life.
Expecting no opposition, the Left tried to fast-track the bill, rushing it through on what's called suspension -- where there'd be very little debate. Together with Freshman Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), FRC started raising the issue in Republican offices, explaining that the legislation would offer pills like Plan B and ella to our female veterans -- drugs that, by the FDA's own admission, can and do end pregnancies.
Suddenly, other pro-life members started engaging -- stopping the bill in its tracks. So many Republicans got involved that a debate started raging on the House floor. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) called FRC out by name, blaming us for slamming on the brakes. "Last week, this bill was defeated on suspension calendar, when the Family Research Council mobilized efforts with my colleagues in the Freedom Caucus who suggested that the bill pushed a 'harmful ideology.'"
Undeterred, Democrats brought it up again -- only this time through the regular process. FRC threatened to score the bill and began educating Members about what the Left was trying to do. Rep Chip Roy (R-Texas) started tweeting about the bill, urging his colleagues to get educated about what the legislation would actually do. "Momentarily, even as Republicans are rightly pounding the lectern about protecting the Hyde Amendment and stopping taxpayer funding for abortions, some will inexplicably vote in favor of taxpayer funding for Plan B through the VA. It's unconscionable on the merits -- and politically even more absurd -- to hide behind the fact Obamacare set the terms for funding potential abortifacients in the name of birth control. I oppose it," he insisted, "as should all those who champion the pro-life cause."
By the end of the Thursday, H.R. 239 -- which would had almost unanimous support in 2020 -- lost the backing of a whopping 188 Republicans. Newspapers like the Hill were amazed at how many members peeled off the bill, leaving "only 26 Republicans voting with all Democrats in support." Because of the pro-life commitment in the House, a proposal that would have normally passed with a yawn became a focal point of contention -- helping to expose the Left's plan to slip its extreme abortion agenda into almost every piece of legislation. The bill may have passed, but more Republicans will be on guard for these sneak attacks in the future.
That same day, Thursday, conservatives also put the Democrats on their toes over a bill that would have pushed the envelope on gender politics. The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act passed the House by a vote of 252 to 176, a margin which almost certainly would have been greater if real conservatives like Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) hadn't stood up to the Left's attempts to pass radical legislation under procedures usually reserved for "noncontroversial" bills. As FRC pointed out before the vote, this bill redefines "sex" to include "sexual orientation and gender identity" and ignores the biological realities of men and women. This type of transgender activism will lead to the diminishment of programs like the Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership that helps women entrepreneurs and is undermined by men who want to identify as women. While the 33 Republicans who voted for this is 33 too many, there are still a number who are willing to stand up to the Left, and we salute them.
Not every loss is a defeat. We should all be grateful for the growing number of proud pro-life, pro-family conservatives representing our values every day. They don't always win, but they're laying the groundwork for a day when the unborn will.