We are living in pivotal times. As the pro-life movement has gained more and more momentum, the pro-abortion lobby’s grip on the culture and public policy is starting to weaken. Gallup polls are finding a growing number of youth identifying as “pro-life,” an unprecedented number of anti-abortion state laws have been enacted, and the House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood for the first time in history. The next few years may decide the future of abortion in the United States, and the pro-abortion lobbyists are quaking in their boots. A 2011 report by NARAL Pro-Choice America entitled, “The Powers of the President: Reproductive Freedom and Choice,” states that:
“The outcome of the 2012 presidential election very well could determine whether abortion remains legal and accessible for the next generation of American women.”
The report goes on to analyze several ways that the new president can influence both the availability and legality of abortion. Now, more than ever, the president has the ability to tip the balance of the Supreme Court in favor of life. The report explains:
“Since 1970, Supreme Court justices have retired at the average age of 79, and three justices now serving on the bench – Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia – are age 75 or older. Should any justice retire before 2016, including but not limited to one or more of these three, the president could be presented with an opportunity to tip the court’s balance.” [emphasis mine]
Moreover, according the report, the new president will have the ability to appoint a significant number of lower federal court judges. “In recent years,” NARAL explains, “presidents have had the opportunity to nominate, on average, 239 individuals per each four-year term to the lower federal courts – just over a quarter of the federal judiciary.” As demonstrated in the recent case of Kansas, lower federal court decisions are extremely important as many of them decide the fate of pro-life laws enacted by states.
With the surge of pro-life state legislation, it seems that a Supreme Court ruling is in sight. States such as Ohio and Mississippi are starting to push the envelope of what is legally acceptable post-Roe abortion legislation. It is only a matter of time before these laws hit the higher courts. When that happens, the bent of the judges will be critical to the outcome of the decision.
Beyond the appointment of judges, the new president will have the opportunity to appoint pro-life men and women to important executive-branch positions that govern the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The report explains that, “Each of these appointees wields significant power over reproductive freedom and health.” The new president will also be able to make pro-life executive decisions, influence budget appropriations, and veto proposed pro-abortion laws.
Needless to say, the up-coming presidential election is crucial—countless innocent lives hang in the balance. As pro-lifers, we must respond accordingly. Abortion should be the number one issue influencing our decision to support a particular candidate. Abortion violently kills well over a million innocent children in the United States every year. For this reason, the abortion issue far outweighs any of the other problems facing the United States, whether it be healthcare, education, or the economy. (This is not to say that those other issues aren’t important—they are.) This means that we have a responsibility to support politicians who will lead on abortion. The Susan B. Anthony List Presidential Leadership Pledge serves as a great guide in this respect.
We are faced with a golden opportunity. Let’s elect a pro-life president and eradicate abortion from this country!