Today’s annual March for Life in Washington, DC comes as the pro-life movement has its first opportunity in years to make real progress toward ending abortion. But Republicans being Republicans, they may yet find a way to squander it.
Politico reports that during a GOP retreat this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on his House colleagues’ hopes of saving babies anytime soon:
Rep. Trent Franks had a simple question for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a private GOP meeting here Wednesday: Would he take up anti-abortion legislation the House passed? McConnell shot back that it would never get through the Senate because Democrats aren’t “pro-life” and have the votes to stop it.
So why don’t you just change the rules? Rep. Bruce Poliquin demanded moments later. McConnell dodged, suggesting it’s not going to happen […]
They’d love to kill the filibuster, a nuclear option the tradition-bound McConnell is loath to deploy.
“The public doesn’t want to hear about process; they want to see us get stuff done,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). “I think there is a very low threshold of tolerance among our electorate right now for historical process (and) precedent.”
No, Leader McConnell, Democrats don’t “have the votes,” because they don’t have the majority. You are choosing to let them hold bills hostage. As Poliquin explained to Politico, the sixty-vote threshold to break a filibuster isn’t in the Constitution, but is a mere “internal rule” created by a by a convoluted history of conflicting interests and shifting political winds (seriously, I have a degree in this stuff and my eyes still glazed over).
So there’s nothing conservative or originalist about preserving it. If the Founding Fathers thought it was a good idea to require a supermajority every time Congress wanted to pass ordinary legislation, they would have put it in the Constitution. Instead, they reserved that threshold for extraordinary actions such as overriding a president’s veto or amending the Constitution.
Unfortunately, McConnell — who has a history of undermining pro-lifers’ legislative efforts — is not the only problem. According to the Hill, Republican Senators Ron Johnson, Lamar Alexander, Orrin Hatch, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Thom Tillis, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Lee either oppose or are leaning against ending the filibuster.
Apologists for the filibuster argue that we need to keep it in reserve because while it may be used to prevent good today, it can also be used to prevent harm tomorrow. However, when the best argument for something depends entirely on who gets to use it, that should tell us the something in question isn’t some bedrock principle that improves government no matter who’s in power.
More importantly, keeping it won’t help us prevent harm anyway. Harry Reid said before the election that he expected the next Democrat majority to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees (which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from eliminating it for everything else).
Indeed, even with the filibuster in place, Democrats used the reconciliation process to pass Obamacare with just 51 Senate votes. One way or another, whenever pro-aborts have a congressional majority and a cooperative president, they’ll do whatever it takes to force through whatever they want. So it makes no sense for Republicans to unilaterally disarm themselves.
This is a perfect example of why America drifts steadily leftward even when the GOP wins election after election: because Democrats understand the need to make the most out of power while they have it. Republicans don’t.
It’s ironic that much of the Right spent last year fretting that Donald Trump would ruin pro-lifers’ chances of accomplishing anything. Now that he’s in office, it appears Trump not only intends to keep his pro-life campaign promises, but use his bully pulpit to raise awareness of our cause…only for the Senate Republicans supposedly control to keep important pro-life bills from reaching his desk.
Now is not the time to settle for low-hanging fruit or ineffectual show votes. Lives are at stake, and every senator who claimed to be pro-life on the campaign trail has a moral obligation to use every lawful tool at his or her disposal to save them.
Click here to find Leader McConnell and your other senators’ phone numbers and mailing addresses, and let them know you expect them to prioritize the protection of preborn babies above slavish devotion to a procedure with no basis in the Constitution.