The United States House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday evening that would prohibit abortions in the United States after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the time a fetus of normal development begins to feel pain.
The legislation made its way through committee with Democrats claiming the Republicans were again at war with women. Republicans, however, pointed to the horrific acts of Kermit Gosnell and others as evidence of the need for the legislation. With little change the legislation made it out of committee and then arrived in the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives.
The Rules Committee refused to let it out without an amendment excepting rape and incest. To be clear, members of Congress, congressional staffers, and members of the pro-life lobby have all confirmed to me that the legislation would not get a vote at all on the floor of the House without those two exceptions in the legislation.
After twenty weeks the number of abortions performed due to rape and incest are quite small. The percentage most often cited is 0.6%. In other words, 99.4% of late term abortions would be prohibited. National pro-life leaders, long time pro-life members of Congress, and religious organizations were all willing to make that legislative compromise in order to get a vote on the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before Congress since the partial birth abortion ban — a piece of legislation that was vetoed several times before it finally became law.
This, however, was not good enough for Dan Becker and the folks at Georgia Right to Life. Calling other pro-life groups “morally vacant,” Dan Becker declared that this was only a messaging bill that would never get passed, therefore the GOP should go all in with no exceptions.
But then that’s the point, isn’t it? The GOP leadership was not willing to go all in. The leadership blocked the legislation and would not give it a vote at all without those exceptions.
What if the legislation, as amended, could pass and could be signed into law? Would Dan Becker and Georgia Right to Life oppose it? Given their position at this point, we should conclude that they would. The organization calling other pro-life groups around the country “morally vacant” has taken the fringe position that it is better for all children to continue being aborted than to save 99.4% of them.
Think about that for a minute.Dan Becker’s and Georgia Right to Life’s position was crystal clear — amend the legislation to get rid of the very exceptions that got it to a vote or oppose it. Georgia Right to Life took an all or nothing position where lives were at stake and the best they can hide behind was that this is “messaging” legislation. The partial birth abortion ban was too until it actually passed and was signed into law.
Georgia Right to Life spends an inordinate amount of time playing politics and very little actually getting successful pro-life policies passed. It was in spite of Georgia Right to Life that the Georgia General Assembly passed a fetal-pain law.
It is Georgia Right to Life that is morally vacant. Their pharisaical positions leave no room to advance the fight on life. They would rather death continue than some deaths be abated. They seek cover behind their characterization of a piece of legislation and denounce virtually every other pro-life organization in the United States of America.
But ultimately, the exceptions are there and popular because Georgia Right to Life has failed at its mission. Instead of admitting defeat and working for victory, Dan Becker and Georgia Right to Life would now rather defeat their own allies than accept their own failures.
The rape and incest exceptions exist because pro-life groups like Georgia Right to Life have failed to persuade a majority of Americans that those exceptions should not exist. Instead of trying to persuade Americans, Georgia Right to Life would prefer to brow beat politicians who are trying to advance a pro-life agenda.
Where is Georgia Right to Life’s campaign to persuade? Where is their field work? Where is their coordination on the rape/incest exception with pro-life leaders and the public? The rape/incest exceptions exist because a majority of Americans have become convinced of the sanctity of life, but still are not convinced they should tell a rape victim to carry a child to term.
I was one of those Americans. For the longest time I thought we needed a rape/incest exception. It was only after meeting wonderful, caring people who were children conceived through rape that I saw the light. Georgia Right to Life had nothing to do with that. Others in the pro-life movement did. Georgia Right to Life is not out changing hearts and changing minds on the issue. Instead they are issuing press releases that studies show there is less trauma to a rape victim who carries a child to term than has an abortion. Peddling a message without selling it is not convincing. Statements without humanity are no good in this debate.
We got to this point because Georgia Right to Life and all the other pro-life groups have not yet convinced a majority of Americans that those exceptions are not needed. The difference is other pro-life groups were willing to move the ball down the field, accept their failure, and plan a future win on those issues.
Georgia Right to Life, instead, decided to declare their brothers and sisters in the pro-life movement “morally vacant”.
It is time for Georgia pro-lifers to start a new group willing to advance life issues and not play holier than down pharisaical politics with the lives of children. It’s time for Georgia pro-lifers to start a group that is willing to change hearts and minds and help foster a culture of life where it can be done. As far as I am concerned, Georgia Right to Life has now become the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement. Instead of saving souls, they’d rather stone those who are trying to save souls. We need a new pro-life group in Georgia.