Pro-lifers were disappointed but not surprised to learn that President Obama had vetoed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare). The legislation was of paramount importance to the pro-life movement, and not only because it would have defunded the nation’s largest abortion provider. Pro-lifers have also expressed concerns with ObamaCare for its contraception/abortifacient mandate and its funding of elective abortions.
That the legislation reached the President’s desk at all is historic. Votes to defund both have occurred throughout Obama’s two terms, but now, in his last year, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate successfully passed the legislation for the first time. That historic move should not be underestimated.
Even though it would take two-thirds of Congress to override President Obama’s veto, this is a victory, because the majority of the people’s elected representatives voted to defund Big Abortion.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stated that he will hold a vote later this month in an effort to override the President’s veto, saying he intends to “tak[e] this process all the way to the end under the Constitution.”
Should Congress be unable to override the veto, at least now we know that Congress can defund Planned Parenthood and repeal ObamaCare, because they have already voted to do so. It can be done again, and under a different President or a veto-proof vote by Congress, it can become the law of the land.
Pro-lifers can take comfort in knowing that a similar situation happened with the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, which was passed by Congress in 1995 and 1997 and was vetoed both times by President Bill Clinton. The legislation passed again in 2003, after Clinton left office, and was signed into law by his successor, President George W. Bush.
In light of this, pro-lifers should be both encouraged and energized for 2016.