Goal of New Congress Should Be to Protect Life

By Frank Pavone

Each time a new Congress begins, national pro-life leaders greet and encourage the new pro-life members of the House and Senate at a reception in Washington, D.C., organized by Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America and its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser.

I was privileged to join Ms. Dannenfelser again for this event on Wednesday night, January 25th at the Capitol Hill Club. Priests for Life Executive Director Janet Morana was also present.

The evening began with an inspiring pep talk by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a leading pro-life voice in the House, who pointed to the victory in the Dobbs case and reminded us that it would not have happened were it not for President Trump. Rep. Jordan pointed out that few other presidents, if any, would have stood firm with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh through his stormy confirmation process.

The new House Majority Leader, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., encouraged the attendees about the pro-life measures that have been passed already and pointed to the next one that will be voted on, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion bill, that will put into law on a permanent basis what is already the will of the American people, that they not be forced to fund someone else’s abortion. This measure will bring protection to our tax dollars across the board, not just in certain government agencies.

Long time pro-life Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., spoke as well. He co-chairs the Pro-life Caucus in the U.S. House, along with Rep. Andy Harris, D-Md., Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., and Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn.

Rep. Smith pointed out that also present was Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., whose efforts for the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act finally came to fruition when the House passed it within eight days of the Republicans taking the majority.

The Democrats, meanwhile, had explicitly rejected it 80 different times in the previous Congress when Republicans demanded a vote. This bill would expand and strengthen protections for babies who survive an abortion.

Rep. Smith expressed support for various different pro-life measures as well, including the Heartbeat bill that has been introduced, and his own 15-week ban on abortion. He pointed out that these gestational limits on abortion would protect babies even in those blue states that have — by statute or by Constitutional amendment — abortion through birth. At the same time, this bill would leave intact the more extensive protections of states that protect the unborn prior to 15 weeks.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, was present as well. He led the charge for reforms gained in the House during the election of the speaker earlier this month.

Many other House members were also able to stop in at the reception.

Senators were also present, including the newly elected Republican senators Ted Budd of North Carolina and Katie Britt of Alabama.

The Senate also has a Pro-life Caucus, which only came into being in 2019. We at Priests for Life had lobbied for it for many years. It has been chaired by Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who was present.

In this new Congress, the chairmanship of this caucus will be taken over by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, who was also present. Both addressed the gathering. Sen. Daines was presented with a painting made of the scene of him outside the Supreme Court speaking at the rally on the day of the oral arguments in the Dobbs case.

Other senators present included Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Sen. Lankford pointed out the extremism of the Democratic Party on abortion, and the irony that they call the Republicans’ position extreme.

He said that each time he is accused of being extreme on abortion, he asks, “How is it extreme to say that every child should be protected?” He has never gotten an answer to that question.

The senators present indicated their commitment to push for votes on the pro-life measures that are sent there by the Republican House.

In her remarks, Ms. Dannenfelser pointed out that we are at the start of a new pro-life movement, as this is the first Congress to begin since Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

I was privileged to lead the closing prayer of the event, praying for all the members of Congress and having the gathered guests sing, “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on them!”

As the new Congress begins, let’s all cover our elected representatives in prayer, and let’s do our part in lobbying them to achieve the most fundamental purpose of government — to protect life.

Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent anti-abortion leaders globally.