While the pro-life movement is often associated with conservatism, there is no reason to restrict it to certain political parties. A group of Democrats, known as Democrats for Life of America, aimed to demonstrate this at their annual gathering in Denver, Colorado.
During the weekend of July 20, “I Want my Party Back” served as an event that unified the budding organization. Surprisingly, pro-life Democrats are not rare. According to a 2017 Gallup survey, 26% of Democrats identify as pro-life and 32% view abortions as morally wrong. This event was meant to highlight this often silent minority.
Issues discussed during the conference were not just limited to abortion, but extended to related topics, like how sex education should be taught in schools. Additionally, talks and presentations explored the connections between abortion, poverty, and racism. Many speakers were Catholic, a religious group that has been gaining increasing prominence in centrist United States policy.
While the group and event have faced criticism from other liberal associations, Democrats for Life America insists that it remains dedicated to progressive policies, simply differing on this one issue. Despite negative backlash from other Democrats, the organization asks that their party keep an open mind about such issues and continues to gather support for its cause, proving once and for all that the right to life should not be a partisan issue.
A recent Gallup poll has some interesting findings regarding the shifting landscape of the Pro-Life movement in the United States. A hefty 48% of respondents identified as Pro-Life, with an equal amount siding with Pro-Choice. When compared to historical data, this latest batch of information is quite telling about the direction of the movement.
While a 48% Pro-Choice stance may seem disappointing to those in favor of life, this tied vote (four percent not identifying with either side) actually illustrates progress for Pro-Life Americans, especially in a world where most Western nations have totally accepted the practice of abortions. According to The National Review, Pro-Choice beat out Pro-Life in eighteen consecutive polls between 1995 and 2008. Since 2009, though, Pro-Life has won out six times, equal with the Pro-Choice camp. This is the second tie between the two, since 2009.
Further questions illustrate more details about Americans’ feelings towards the issue. 29% of respondents say that abortion should be legal under any circumstance. This number has remained consistent since 2015, and remains high in a historical lens, though far from the 1990s, when this trend leapt over 30%. Only 18% of respondents say that it should be illegal in all circumstances, demonstrating a key difference from viewing abortion as immoral, versus whether or not it should be illegal. In this case, 48% say that abortion is morally wrong, as opposed to 43% who say that it is morally acceptable.
60% of voters said that abortion should be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, a record low since the question was introduced in 1996. This percentage drops to 28% who think that it should be legal in the second three months. Finally, only 13% think that it should be legal in the last three months.
According to The National Review, women remain more polarized on the issue, with women more likely to say that abortion should be both legal and illegal in all circumstances. Nevertheless, this year’s data has overcome great challenges, as the United States serves as a beacon of hope to the unborn. The entire set of data can be found here.
On July 7, at approximately 8 PM, a man began threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs. Once confronted by the police, he claimed that a baby was buried somewhere in the nearby woods. The five-month-old infant was found at 2:30 AM the next day, face down under some debris. It is estimated that the child was buried for about nine hours, yet he only suffered minor scrapes and scratches.
Law enforcement scavenged the area for over six hours before a deputy heard its faint cries in the distance. A press release from the sheriff’s office stated, “For all of us at the sheriff’s office, this is what we call a miracle.”
Not much is known about the baby’s origins or relationship to the man who was threatening civilians at the hot springs, identified as Francis Crowley. He is currently being held in a local detention center with $50,000 bail. His interactions with the police upon his arrest were reported as nonsensical, possibly under the influence of drugs.
While more information comes to light about the situation, it is important to stay vigilant to ensure the safety of all children, regardless of their stage in life.
On July 9, President Donald Trump announced his nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court Justice slot. Brett Kavanaugh was selected from a pool of twenty-five conservative options, a list that had been narrowed down to four candidates in the last week before the announcement.
Kavanaugh has over twelve years of experience as a judge, issuing approximately 300 opinions, according to Fox News. Appointed to the federal appeals court by President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh is well-known for his dedication and admiration of the U.S. Constitution. Addressing an audience of senators and public officials, he highlighted his “reverence” for the document that the Supreme Court is tasked with upholding.
Supreme Court judges generally fall into three different philosophies. Constitutionalists believe in judging cases strictly as the Founding Fathers would have commanded them to. Precedence means that decisions should be made in reference to past cases. Finally, pragmatism is the philosophy that judges should use their own convictions and apply them to the law. Kavanaugh has exhibited strong constitutionalist qualities, with an additional respect for precedence. This yields interesting results when analyzing his stances on abortion.
The Constitution does not explicitly mention abortion, obviously, making this hot-button issue often more difficult for constitutionalists to deal with. When asked about Roe v. Wade in 2006, Kavanaugh stated that he would respect the precedent set by the ruling but refused to state a personal opinion. His relative silence on the issue has worried some Pro-Life supporters, though others have theorized that he has dodged the subject to ensure swift confirmation.
Last October, Kavanaugh commented on his first major case involving the right to life in October 2017, when an undocumented immigrant teenager in U.S. custody sought an abortion. Though the appeals court involved ultimately supported the young woman’s decision, Kavanaugh dissented, insisting that she had no such right. While Pro-Life activists applauded this decision, others were quick to say that his decision emphasized the rights of immigrants, rather than the right to life.
In the coming weeks, a spotlight will be shed surrounding the history of Kavanaugh’s decisions and convictions. Undoubtedly, the media will report on the judge with increasing scrutiny, as the deadline to confirm him looms closer. Until then, it is important for Pro-Life supporters to avail themselves of resources to learn more about this potential Supreme Court Justice.
As the United States of America celebrates its independence this week, it is important to reflect on the progress that our nation has made in our quest to protect the sanctity of all life. Additionally, it is in our best interest to analyze the journey ahead, especially as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee looms ahead. 2018 has proven quite eventful for the Pro-Life movement, giving us much reason to celebrate, and we expect many great changes to come before our next Independence Day.
February marked a key month for the Pro-Life movement, as President Donald Trump was the first sitting president to attend the Washington, D.C. March for Life. Joining him was Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. All key politicians delivered addresses in support of the cause, as a massive number of participants marched in support of life.
In May, President Trump attended the Susan B. Anthony List annual gala. The organization is well-known for its defense of life campaigns, as well as its support and endorsement of Pro-Life politicians. At the fundraiser, he announced his commitment to halt taxpayer funding of abortions in the Title X mandate, which notoriously provides money to organizations like Planned Parenthood. Later that month, Iowa passed a heartbeat law that protects fetuses with detectable heartbeats. More information on this momentous decision can be read here.
June marked a significant victory for hospitals in California, as the Supreme Court narrowly deemed it unconstitutional for the government to force pregnancy centers to list abortion clinics for women. There is no doubt that the court’s most recent addition, Justice Gorsuch, was integral to this 5-4 ruling.
President Trump has announced his nomination for Justice Kennedy’s replacement, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh sat on the D.C. Circuit Court. And as midterm elections approach, it is now more important than ever for the momentum of the 2016 elections to carry over to Congress, as we await legislation for more permanent guarantees to life. Additionally, several states continue to battle decisions made by the Trump Administration and the Supreme Court, so it is important for Americans to remain aware and vigilant of developments in the fight for life. So far, this year has brought many positive developments for the right to life, but these next few months could prove integral to the cause, but it is even more important for the Pro-Life community to stay committed to the movement for the remainder of the year.