If anything gave the nation a preview of the importance of this year’s presidential election to the pro-life movement, it was the Congressional vote to defund Planned Parenthood. In an historic moment, Congress had finally agreed to pass a defunding bill, but President Obama, a vocal abortion advocate and unashamed friend of Planned Parenthood, vetoed the bill.
Had a pro-life president been in office when the defunding bill was passed, it’s likely today we’d be sending tax dollars to the thousands of health clinics across the nation that serve poor and uninsured women, but instead those dollars continue to go to the nation’s largest abortion provider. However, this year, the nation has a chance to change that–and to change pro-life history.
Perhaps no election in recent times has been as important as the 2016 presidential race. The man or woman elected in November will affect at least a generation with Supreme Court appointees, as well as abortion legislation and funding choices.
Currently, both Democratic front runners, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, are outspoken advocates of abortion. Of Republican candidates, many, but not all, are running on pro-life platforms. The primaries, which occur in the next several weeks, are crucial to determining whether at least one truly pro-life man or woman can gain a nomination.
One of the key things the new president will do is, almost certainly, appoint one or more Supreme Court justices–an appointment that lasts a lifetime. Often justices are a president’s legacy. Currently the high court is split with five of the nine justices leaning toward a conservative bend. This could change quickly. As USA Today notes:
Barring unforeseen events, Kennedy will become the third sitting octogenarian on the court — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 82, and Justice Antonin Scalia turns 80 in March. That will mark the first time since George H.W. Bush entered the White House more than a quarter century ago that a president has inherited three justices that old. At 78 by then, Justice Stephen Breyer will be close behind…. The average age for Supreme Court retirements is just shy of 79. Since 1900, the average age of those who died while still serving was 69.
With the court narrowly divided, whoever wins the White House next November might enjoy the best chance to recast the high court in his or her image since Franklin Roosevelt did from 1937-43, when he named eight new justices.
This potential for the new president to appoint multiple justices is one of the most sobering realities of the election.
Of course, beyond the nomination of justices, this president will make decisions that affect the culture of life, perhaps from the first days of office. President Obama, in his first few days of office, issued an executive order which reversed the Mexico City Policy, reversing the ban on promoting and performing abortion services if they received federal funding. Likewise, a pro-life president would likely reverse this, as well as issue other executive orders promoting a culture of life.
Meanwhile, the recent historic vote by Congress to defund Planned Parenthood is one that may be revisited. This seems to be something Planned Parenthood knows, and one indicator for the importance of this 2016 election is the recent lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
Many expected the abortion organization to sue last summer when the first videos came out. But Planned Parenthood only resorted to attacks against CMP and its leader, David Daleiden. Repeatedly, the nation heard phrases like “highly edited, deceptive videos” and “anti-abortion extremists.” But there were no lawsuits from the accused. Speculation abounded as to why Planned Parenthood didn’t sue CMP then; most thought it was because they would have to tell too much in the process, which might implicate them even more.
The final straw was likely the congressional vote to defund Planned Parenthood. While President Obama vetoed Congress’ decision, it was an historic vote, and it was a message to Planned Parenthood that its days of taking a half billion dollars of taxpayer money each year are numbered.
All it will take is a pro-life president in order to significantly impact a culture of life. Often people note that even a president is not powerful enough to reverse a Supreme Court decision, so they vote on issues they can see, such as the economy. However, while one person cannot single-handedly reverse an entire law, there are seasons when parts of that law reversal are ripe for harvest.
Whatever the nation decides in November, it will live with for many years beyond when that president leaves office.
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