Carl Anderson, the supreme knight of the Catholic organization Knights of Columbus, said the fact that most Americans want significant restrictions on abortion will affect the results of the 2020 election “big time.”
In an interview during the 47th annual March for Life, The Federalist asked Anderson whether the left has put forth a candidate in 2020 that could appeal to the majority of Americans, who want abortion restrictions. “In a word, no,” he said.
“Now, the question is always what priority pro-life or abortion is in the campaign. You remember in 2016, it was the most Googled question on Election Day,” he said. “While abortion may not be the most discussed issue in the campaign, most Americans, I’m convinced, will vote for a president on the basis of pro-life or pro-abortion, and I think really — if you look at the polling — candidates who take an extreme pro-abortion position really have a vulnerability that they should look at very carefully.”
The Knights of Columbus and Marist released their annual abortion public opinion poll this week, showing that 70 percent of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion, such as limiting it to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, allowing it only in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life, or altogether prohibiting abortion. The poll revealed even 47 percent of people who identify as “pro-choice” want some form of these restrictions.
Given that the 2020 election cycle is now in full swing, the most damning abortion poll result may be the fact that 65 percent of Americans will likely vote for a candidate who wants significant restrictions on abortion.
This is a problem for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, as the serious contenders among them have become increasingly extreme on abortion. Former Vice President Joe Biden flip-flopped on the Hyde Amendment after backlash from abortion advocates, meaning he now supports using taxpayer money to fund abortions. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has supported the idea of using abortion as a means of population control to affect climate change, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg used the Bible to try to justify abortion up until the moment of birth, saying scripture talks about “how life begins with breath.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has unveiled detailed policy proposals that are radically pro-abortion, including codifying Roe v. Wade and prohibiting states from enacting abortion restrictions by prompting Congress to pass laws establishing an “affirmative and statutory” right to abortion. Like Biden, Warren also supports funding abortion with taxpayer dollars.
Even Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who has at times distinguished herself as a semi-moderate on abortion, says she supports codifying Roe v. Wade, although her campaign is fading.
The platforms of the 2020 Democrats starkly contrast the overwhelmingly pro-life record of President Donald Trump, who said during remarks at the March for Life, “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”
Pro-life advocates have certainly seen gains since the 2016 election, with the appointment of 187 federal judges including two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who could prove instrumental in deciding key abortion cases before the high court, such as the upcoming June Medical Services v. Gee. The Trump administration also issued a pro-life rule governing Title X taxpayer funding, prohibiting recipients from referring patients for abortion except in instances of rape, incest, or medical emergency. The president has also pledged to veto any legislation Congress advances that “weakens pro-life policies or encourages the destruction of human life.”
“They are coming after me because I’m fighting for you,” Trump said to the crowd of pro-life demonstrators. “And we are fighting for those who have no voice. And we will win because we know how to win.”
Despite Trump’s Senate impeachment trial dominating today’s media narrative, new polling shows more Americans think Trump should remain in office than those who believe he should be removed. In fact, Trump’s approval rating has risen to 44 percent, matching the highest rating in his presidency.
While Vice President Mike Pence has attended past national marches, this year marks President Trump’s first appearance at the demonstration, making him the first president ever to attend the March for Life.
“Every life brings love into this world,” Trump said. “Every person is worth protecting. Every human soul is divine, and every human life born and unborn is made in the holy image of Almighty God.”
This year’s March for Life marked 47 years since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide. The annual march, however, drawing hundreds of thousands of people from across the country, demonstrates that a “right to abortion” is far from settled in the minds of voters.
Conservative and liberal organizations have launched opposing campaign efforts aimed at affecting the 2020 election. Planned Parenthood is planning to spend $45 million pushing pro-abortion candidates in local, state, and national races, up from the nearly $30 million the organization spent in its successful 2018 election cycle. The organization is targeting 5 million voters across the country, directing its efforts at nine pivotal states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, on the other hand, has planned a $41 million effort to support Trump and other anti-abortion candidates in 2020, in an attempt “to aggressively challenge, erode, and finally, overturn Roe v. Wade,” according to SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
It is “fundamentally unjust,” said Anderson, “to intentionally kill an innocent human being. And the majority of Americans see that, and the majority of Americans realize the injustice that Roe v. Wade inherently is.”
“For us, our message is choose life,” Anderson said. “You’ll never regret that.”