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 PelosiDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Pelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor 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 AderholtHealthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Adoption Provider Act is about religious freedom — not same-sex adoption MORE (R-Ala.), Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeOvernight Health Care: House GOP blocks Trump-backed drug pricing provision | Maryland sues to protect ObamaCare | Insurers offer help to hurricane-impacted areas House GOP blocks Trump-supported drug pricing provision from spending bill Congress reaches deal to fund government through Dec. 7, preventing shutdown 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 GravesThe stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Dem senator: Congress should consider allowing companies to 'hack back' after cyberattacks House completes first half of 2019 spending bills 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 sends first spending package to Trump in push to avert shutdown The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Dems urge Mattis to reject using 0M for border wall 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 TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' 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 ChabotSupport the Trademark Licensing Protection Act Congress losing faith in Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms MORE (R-Ohio) and Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWarren calls out GOP congressman for 'white supremacist propaganda,' encourages donations to his opponent GOP lawmaker accuses black students of supporting 'George Wallace's segregation' The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms MORE (R-Iowa).

Both have a long history of pro-life advocacy. Their Democratic counterpart, Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThe stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms It's not Congress's job to protect Trump, Nadler says Sunday shows preview: Trump legal scrutiny in spotlight 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 SmithFor Poland, a time for justice On The Money: Broad coalition unites against Trump tariffs | Senate confirms new IRS chief | Median household income rose for third straight year in 2017 | Jamie Dimon's brief battle with Trump CORRECTED: GOP lawmaker taken out of context in remarks on gay adoption 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 EngelState Department: Allegations of racism 'disgusting and false' The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Overnight Defense: Trump tells veterans he will 'stand up for America' | McConnell, Ryan say Putin not welcome on Capitol Hill | Mattis tries to explain Trump's Iran tweet 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 WatersKavanaugh hires attorney amid sexual assault allegations: report Scalise: Democrats need to denounce political violence Women wield sizable power in ‘Me Too’ midterms 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.