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Pro-Life Politicos: ‘We Were On Defense. Now We’re On Offense.’

Emboldened by a string of electoral and media victories, pro-life candidates have figured out how to put abortion rights supporters on the defensive.


“Abortion-centered feminism is dying, if not dead,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life political action committee Susan B. Anthony List, told activists gathered in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Dannenfelser said that EMILY’s List, an abortion rights group, told the candidates they endorsed in recent years to emphasize issues other than abortion, such as pay equality. That’s “an issue that Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton’s candidacy will take up in earnest,” the New York Times reported this week, in a story that didn’t mention Clinton’s ardent support for abortion rights. Pro-life candidates secured victories in the 2014 mid-term elections, while candidates who emphasized abortion rights, such as Sen. Mark Udall, D-CO, (nicknamed “Uterus” for his constant emphasis on Democratic “War on Women” talking points) and Wendy Davis (who filibustered a ban on late-term abortion in Texas) suffered decisive losses.

“We want to thank the Democrats for screwing up so badly,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said of the 2014 mid-term elections in his humorous keynote address at the SBA List gala.

Other pro-life politicians — including Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-IA, and businesswoman Carly Fiorina — said they’re eager to discuss protection of women and unborn children in their messages to American voters. Paul, who last week challenged reporters to begin asking questions of pro-choice politicians, received a standing ovation before talking about his pro-life views. Later in the evening, Dannenfelser noted Paul’s “unapologetic” pro-life stance.

“That is confidence. That is going on offense. That is believing your ideas and advancing them in the public square,” Dannenfelser said. “The script has been flipped since 2012. We were on defense, now we’re on offense.”

The politicians promoted the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation under consideration by Congress that would protect unborn children past 20 weeks of pregnancy. They noted that unborn children being operated on in the womb receive anesthesia and are treated as patients and yet unborn children at the same age can be killed without any anesthesia administered for their pain. They noted that only seven countries permit elective abortion as late as the United States does and that two of those countries are human rights abusers China and North Korea. Graham said he wasn’t comfortable with the company the United States is in and he’s “dying to have this debate” with his abortion rights supporting colleagues.

The pro-life politicians also characterized the Democratic platform on abortion as a radical embrace of abortion at any time, for any reason, and funded by taxpayers.

Ernst said that skittish Republican political strategists told her to downplay her views on abortion during her run for Senate. She said she had no option but to “defend innocent life” and that it worked out exceedingly well for her in Iowa. “The winds are at our backs and we are moving forward,” she said.

Ellen Barrosse, founder and former CEO of a global pharmaceutical services business, discussed her concern when she became Delaware’s National Committeewoman for the Republican Party in 2012. She said she worried she’d be surrounded by people who didn’t share her conservative views. Instead, she said her fellow committeemen and women were not moderates. “What I quickly learned was that Karl Rove is not the Republican Party,” she said to cheers.

Reince Preibus, the head of the Republican National Committee since 2011, said he was proud to be a pro-life head of the nation’s pro-life party. He noted that his Democratic counterpart — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — does not believe that unborn children deserve protection at any point in their gestation. He and Graham said that pro-life stances — such as the bill that would protect unborn children after 20 weeks in the womb — are helpful in reaching out to voters the Republican Party is trying to recruit, such as churchgoing Hispanics.

The bill, which enjoys two-to-one support in polling, would be the first federal protection for unborn children based on their humanity. Other successful pro-life legislation was focused on regulating the abortion act itself.