A pro-life Democrat flipped a seat blue Tuesday in a state that had been solidly Republican for decades. Only, you wouldn’t know Democrat Phil Spagnuolo was pro-life because he rarely mentioned it. In fact, when the New Hampshire Journal posted an article about his beliefs on the eve of the election, Spagnuolo immediately rushed out a response: “While I believe as much in my personal life, I don’t think it should be the government’s role to tell women what they can or can’t do with their bodies,” he said.
In Western Pennsylvania, pro-life Democrat Conor Lamb is facing a Republican in a special election March 13. The race is neck-and-neck, despite the fact that Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points. Lamb’s candidacy in this conservative district is helped by the fact that he’s Catholic — a self-styled moderate who’s not a slave to Democratic Party orthodoxy. In fact, he’s already pledged not vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. “I’ve already said on the front page of the newspaper that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi,” Lamb says in his latest TV ad.
What else won’t Lamb vote for? Any restrictions on abortion, including the recent GOP proposal to limit late-term abortions — specifically abortions after 20 weeks when, according to overwhelming scientific evidence, babies in the womb can experience pain.
“[Catholics] believe that life begins at conception,” he told The Weekly Standard, “but as a matter of separation of church and state, I think a woman has the right to choose under the law.”
So Lamb’s not afraid to tell the top House Democrat to take a hike, but he’s too timid to vote his conscience on late-term abortions? Why? Because Planned Parenthood is the NRA of the Democratic Party. Only worse.
“People are complaining about NRA but the abortion lobby is just as strong,” says Kristen Day of Democrats for Life America. “There are sitting members of the House and Senate who are pro-life, but who are too afraid of the abortion lobby to vote that way.
Day’s organization is pushing for a big-tent approach on the abortion issue inside her party as a strategy for winning back seats lost during the Obama years. Day is quick to point out that as recently as 2008 there were more than 60 pro-life Democrats in Congress. “Now there are three.” And she holds Planned Parenthood responsible, along with its fully-owned subsidiary the Hillary Clinton campaign. “The Clinton campaign really pushed the party in the wrong direction on this issue,” Day said.
And Planned Parenthood really pushed Clinton. In May 2016 the Huffington Post published, “Inside Planned Parenthood’s $30 Million Campaign For 2016,” about the organization’s $30 million effort to “make sure Donald Trump doesn’t get the chance” to become president. This was in addition to the $15 million Planned Parenthood spent on direct electioneering, according to OpenSecrets.org.
“Planned Parenthood’s PAC is among the most powerful lobbying groups in American politics, shelling out $40 million last year for ‘public policy’ and investing upwards of $175 million in such nebulous categories as ‘movement building,’ ‘strengthening and securing Planned Parenthood,’ and ‘engaging communities,'” writes Alexandra Desanctis in National Review.
All of this has pro-gun people asking, “And this differs from the ‘nefarious’ actions of the NRA … how?”
Well, there is one glaring difference: The NRA doesn’t get $500 million a year in government funding.
Then there’s the impact the two groups have on the parties they tend to support. Planned Parenthood and the NRA are both virtually 100 percent partisan in their spending (Democrats vs Republicans, respectively). However, while there are a number of Republicans with less-than-perfect grades from the NRA, there is only one Democratic senator — Joe Donnelly of Indiana — with less than a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Last year when Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) announced he would not support a “litmus test” on abortion for Democratic candidates, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards declared him “totally wrong.”
“It’s a shocking sort of misunderstanding of actually where the country is … which is overwhelmingly supportive of abortion rights,” Richards told Politico. And Planned Parenthood’s allies immediately issued a statement decrying any moderation on the abortion issue. “Our party is pro-choice, it’s written into our platform” said then-DNC CEO Jess O’Connell.
Meanwhile, a Republican president is pushing for legislation the NRA opposes like age limits on the purchase of long guns. Republican senators like Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and John Cornyn of Texas have been teaming up with Democrats to push bipartisan reforms of gun laws. There is an ongoing debate over gun laws in the GOP that’s ranging from banning bump stocks to banning so-called “assault rifles.”
Try to imagine a similar debate on any aspect of the abortion issue in the Democratic party today. It’s impossible, because Planned Parenthood and its allies wouldn’t let it happen. Which is why at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, an effort to simply debate the party’s most extreme pro-abortion platform ever — supporting taxpayer-funded abortion — was shot down before it ever started.
“I tried to raise the issue of the language that was used on abortion, that I thought was so alienating to good Democratic voters,” longtime Democrat James Zogby told The Hill. “The outcome was that there was no discussion possible.”
Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby are proof that you don’t need a gun to be a bully.