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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 PelosiDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Gaetz, Greene tout push to oust Cheney: 'Maybe we're the leaders' Free Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech 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 Democrats call for paid legal representation in immigration court Mo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat Shelby won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ala.), Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeNow that earmarks are back, it's time to ban 'poison pill' riders Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 MORE (R-Oka.), Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerRepublican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE (R-Texas) and Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesGreene's future on House committees in limbo after GOP meeting McConnell says Taylor Greene's embrace of conspiracy theories a 'cancer' GOP has growing Marjorie Taylor Greene problem 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 Lowey Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs Committee chairs continue their lawmaking decline 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 TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing 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 ChabotREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Top GOP lawmaker touts 'more flexible' PPP loans in bipartisan proposal MORE (R-Ohio) and Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDemocrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Rep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance MORE (R-Iowa).

Both have a long history of pro-life advocacy. Their Democratic counterpart, Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month A historic moment to truly honor mothers Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court 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 SmithThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns House approves bills tightening background checks on guns 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 EngelLawmakers on hot mic joke 'aisle hog' Engel absent from Biden address: 'He'd wait all day' Bowman to deliver progressive response to Biden's speech to Congress Liberal advocacy group stirs debate, discomfort with primary challenges 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 WatersThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden address to Congress will dominate busy week Maxine Waters: Judge in Chauvin trial who criticized her was 'angry' GOP, Democrats grapple with post-Chauvin trial world 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.