The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms

The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms
© Greg Nash

This month, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.) released a letter to the Democratic Caucus preparing them to become the Majority. A shift in party control would not only reinstate the pro-abortion Californian as Speaker of the House of Representatives. It means Pelosi’s liberal colleagues would gain control of the various committees.

While pro-lifers should worry about a potential Speaker Pelosi, the Democrats most likely to chair committees have built their careers on being hostile to protections for women and the unborn.

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Committee chairs have the greatest influence over the congressional agenda. 9,000 or so bills go to committee annually. Less than 10 percent of those bills make it to the floor. Of that 10 percent, only about 200 bills ever become law.

The committee which has perhaps the most impact when it comes to pro-life interests is Appropriations. Bills passed by the Appropriations Committee regulate expenditures of taxpayer money and therefore it is one of the most powerful committees. It oversees all pro-life provisions, commonly called riders, including the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits tax dollars from paying for abortions through Medicaid. 

There are several choices on the Republican side for the Appropriations Chair: Reps. Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtHouse advances B agriculture bill Dems advance bill defying Trump State Department cuts Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21 MORE (R-Ala.), Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeSenate spending talks go off the rails as soon as they begin Social determinants of health — health care isn't just bugs and bacteria Republicans suffer whiplash from Trump's erratic week MORE (R-Oka.), Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerLobbying world House approves bill increasing federal worker pay House approves 3 billion spending package MORE (R-Texas) and Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas Graves5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Democrats see golden opportunity to take Georgia Senate seat MORE (R-Ga.). Of those four the only unacceptable red flag for pro-lifers is Rep. Granger’s past support for questionable human embryonic stem cell experimentation and reluctance to promote pro-life provisions in committee.

Meanwhile, the potential Democratic nominee, Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyCongress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure Overnight Defense: Trump says Taliban talks 'dead' after canceled Camp David meeting | North Korea offers to restart nuke talks this month | Trump denies role in Air Force crew staying at his resort McConnell: Short-term spending bill needed to avoid shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.), is openly hostile to any restriction on taxpayer funding of abortion, including the Hyde amendment. And Lowey would use her position to overturn or obstruct President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s victories on the pro-life front, for example protecting life in global health policy and ethical Title X regulations.

For many stand-alone pro-life bills, the Judiciary Committee is the first stop. The partial birth abortion ban as well as the twenty-week abortion ban both began there.  On the Republican side, there are two strong pro-life candidates for chairman, Reps. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotJudiciary approves new investigative powers with eyes on impeachment Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback MORE (R-Ohio) and Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingOcasio-Cortez rips Steve King after he shares video drinking from toilet-fountain hybrid at border Steve King says he drank from toilet at detention center Steve King jokes about China forcing Muslims to eat pork MORE (R-Iowa).

Both have a long history of pro-life advocacy. Their Democratic counterpart, Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerLewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs Lewandowski refuses to say whether Trump has offered him a pardon MORE (R-N.Y.), was the lead sponsor of the deceptively-named Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). That bill would result in overturning thousands of state laws that protect families and the unborn and potentially opens the door to prosecution of legislators who push the pro-life cause. 

The obvious choice for a Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee should be Rep. Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithUS meddling in Hong Kong could trigger a tragedy Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey The 9 House Republicans who support background checks MORE (R-N.J.). That committee oversees many American pro-life priorities overseas. Smith has a long track record of working on international issues and he is currently the most outspokenly pro-life Member of Congress. The likely Democratic chair would be Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine House chairman subpoenas Trump's Afghanistan negotiator Giuliani tears into Democrats after House opens probe into whether he pressured Ukraine to target Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) — a cosponsor of the FOCA abortion legislation. Rep. Engel likewise has voiced opposition to the Helms amendment, which prohibits U.S.-funded health providers from performing abortions abroad.

The House Financial Services committee does not handle many pro-life issues, but when Democrats have gained control in the past they used legislation in the committee to silence grassroots advocates under the guise of “campaign finance reform.” The potential Democratic chair is pro-abortion Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Manufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Democrats' impeachment message leads to plenty of head-scratching MORE (D-Calif.), who has suggested the government takeover private companies and silencing those who disagree with her.

So from a pro-life perspective, everything depends upon who holds the gavels in Congress. Anyone who cares about protecting the unborn should vote this election because the consequences of losing would be disastrous.

Tom McClusky is the president of March for Life Action, a pro-life organization.