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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPoll: 40 percent of Democrats want Speaker other than Pelosi Democrats with military background offer support for Pelosi House Democrat agenda, led by minimum wage, threatens economic prosperity 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 AderholtEarmarks look to be making a comeback Race for Appropriations ranking member heats up Healthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? MORE (R-Ala.), Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeDemocratic gains erasing House GOP in California House GOP returns to Washington after sobering midterm losses Race for Appropriations ranking member heats up MORE (R-Oka.), Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerThe stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Bipartisanship alive and well, protecting critical infrastructure McCarthy's path to Speaker gets more complicated MORE (R-Texas) and Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesPentagon cyber official warns U.S. companies against 'hacking back' Race for Appropriations ranking member heats up Trump and son signal support for McCarthy as next Speaker 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 LoweyDem women rally behind Pelosi Lawmakers say California will eventually get emergency funding for fire relief On The Money: Amazon taps New York, Northern Virginia for new offices | What it means for the DC area | Dems target vulnerable commerce chief | Earmarks look to be making a comeback 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 TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation 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 ChabotGaetz goes to bat with Trump on Jordan Republican Steve Chabot wins reelection in Ohio Election Countdown: One week from midterms, House battlefield expands MORE (R-Ohio) and Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDems must wield power against the powerful to win back rural America Iowa governor: Steve King needs to decide if he wants to represent ‘the values of the 4th District’ Conservative magazine posts recording of King using derogatory language against immigrants MORE (R-Iowa).

Both have a long history of pro-life advocacy. Their Democratic counterpart, Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNancy Pelosi should be Speaker of the House Heads up, GOP: Elections have consequences Trump’s new strategy: Chummer-in-Chief 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 SmithElection Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Election Countdown: Hyde-Smith's 'public hanging' joke shakes up Mississippi runoff | New lawsuits in Florida | Trump wants Florida election official fired | Mia Love sues to stop Utah vote count | Republican MacArthur loses NJ House race MacArthur loses New Jersey House race to Democratic challenger Andy Kim 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 — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Trump faces new hurdles on foreign policy Republicans jockey for top GOP spot on House Foreign Affairs Committee 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 WatersHouse Democrat agenda, led by minimum wage, threatens economic prosperity Community banks a bipartisan touchstone for new Congress Dem women rally behind Pelosi 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.