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January 2005

A Look Ahead to Pro-Life
President George Bush's
Second Term

Pro-Life Movement Faces Opportunities, Challenges in New Congress

WASHINGTON (January 3, 2004) - - Encouraged by a string of successes in the 2003-04 Congress and by wins in the November election, pro-life leaders now see prospects for additional legislative gains during the new 109th Congress, which convenes on January 4. Also looming is the likelihood of one or more vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court during the next two years, with bruising confirmation battles anticipated in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Ks), left confers with Senate Majority
Leader Bill Frist (R-Tn)

Anti-life forces are marshaling their formidable political resources to resist pro-life initiatives and to prevent confirmation of judicial nominees who are not to their liking.

The November 2 election saw the first re-election of a pro-life President since Ronald Reagan won a second term 20 years earlier. The election also resulted in gains in pro-life strength in both houses. (See "New Pro-Lifers Added to U.S. House and Senate," November 2004 NRL News, page 1.)

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Experience, Elections, and Enthusiasm Promise Bright Future

Conversations with Mary Balch are like the very best seminars I took in graduate school. Invariably, the professor would combine breadth of experience, empathy for his or her students, and a zest for the subject matter.

Whenever I ask NRLC's Director of State Legislation, she always graciously blocks out time in her ultra-hectic schedule to review what transpired in the state legislatures in the prior year and offer a look ahead to the coming session. As we talked just before Christmas, Balch was eager to talk about past experiences and future prospects.

It's easy to be inspired by this audience.

"In several states it's like we made the playoffs but not the Super Bowl," she said. Commonsense legislation passed both the state house and the state senate only to be vetoed by a pro-abortion governor.

Balch's experience shone through as she put this into perspective. "While this is a short-term disappointment, temporary setbacks often result in medium- and long-term gains," Balch explained. "For example, when a governor vetoes a woman's right to know measure or stands in the way of passing bills calling for safer, more sanitary abortion clinics, or stops an unborn victims of violence bill from becoming law, it just shows the average citizen how radically out of touch he is with mainstream voters."

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From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.


I want all of you, our members and friends, to have a clear view of what we are facing.

What is ahead is a much tougher struggle than the elections of 2004. In the past, some pro-lifers made the faulty assumption that election victories would almost automatically transform themselves into new pro-life laws and policy changes. By now, it should be clear to everyone that it is not so.

To change law is always difficult.

First, a law that gives "rights"--no matter how questionable--is hard to repeal because people are reluctant to take "rights" away. It's hard, but it can be done.

Second, and more importantly, our Founding Fathers didn't want government to be able just to wave a wand and change the lives of millions of people. They wanted deliberation. And deliberation is what they--and we--got. Look at how pro-abortionists in Congress exploited the process of legislative deliberation to stall passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. The Senate couldn't muster the votes to override two vetoes by Bill Clinton.

The third, and most difficult, obstacle to legislative change arises in the case of Supreme Court-imposed law--law that was never subject to legislative deliberation. What our Founding fathers did not anticipate was an arrogant Supreme Court "waving the wand" and "legislating" massive social change "from the bench"--as it did in Roe v. Wade--inventing the "right" to abortion-on-demand through the entire nine months of pregnancy. Overriding Court-imposed law requires us either to persuade the Court to reverse itself or to pass a Constitutional amendment correcting the Court's arrogance.

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Complete NRL News
2004 Subject Index

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