Joe Biden’s election has put the pro-life movement on the defensive, but the cause to protect the unborn is far from finished.
Biden promised during his inauguration speech on Jan. 20 that he would be a “president for all Americans.” Pro-life advocates, however, fear that the current administration will only further marginalize the country’s unborn citizens.
While pro-lifers saw repeat victories at the federal level under Donald Trump’s presidency, the Biden team has started taking steps to undo these advances. Biden signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday to rescind the Mexico City Policy and Trump’s Title X funding reform, thus restoring government funding to foreign and domestic abortion providers.
With a pro-choice government in charge, some pro-lifers have switched gears, realizing they may need to redirect their cause a little closer to home.
Pro-life advocates like Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman at Students for Life of America, theorized about some of the ways the pro-life movement can maintain its momentum throughout the next four years.
“Well, frankly, the momentum for the pro-life movement is going to move more from the federal to the state. And that’s been underway for a while,” Hamrick told The Western Journal.
“What we see is a very fragile majority in Washington, D.C. So don’t be fooled that the Democrats have everything locked down, but they’ve got the power at the moment at the federal level.”
Throughout his presidential campaign, Biden earned the endorsement of abortion advocacy groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America by promising to safeguard the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling and calling for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions. On the 48th anniversary of the decision Roe on Jan. 22, the White House even released a statement pledging to codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling.
The SFLA spokeswoman made dire predictions about the sort of abortion-friendly policies a Biden administration will pursue while also expressing concern regarding some of the president’s Cabinet nominations.
“You’re going to get more taxpayer-funded abortion. And really, we have concerns about the encroaching, power-hungry view of some of the people who are being considered for office,” Hamrick said.
The president’s decision to appoint California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary has particularly drawn concern from pro-life activists. As the state’s lead prosecutor, Becerra pursued criminal charges against a pair of pro-life journalists, and he also tried to force pregnancy centers to market abortion.
According to Hamrick, this is an example of the “aggressive activism” pro-lifers can expect to see from Biden and his Cabinet appointments.
“So, short term, at the federal level, it’s not good. But really, the momentum here is at the state level,” Hamrick said. “Students for Life Action has groups in all 50 states, and we’re engaging in all kinds of public policy.”
“And so there’s just a lot of bills moving at the state level. We’re tracking them every day; it’s very exciting.”
According to a State Legislative Sessions Report released by Americans United for Life in 2020, state legislators enacted 17 “life-affirming laws” and adopted two pro-life resolutions. Some of the measures included abortion restrictions aiming to require parental consent and a waiting period, as well as bans on discriminatory abortions.
Hamrick also pointed to the courts, another area where pro-life advocates have gained significant ground. Even if the current administration continues to overturn the pro-life policies of the previous one, Hamrick believes the federal judges that Trump appointed will have a “lasting impact.”
“There can be real changes through the courts. And one thing we know about the abortion lobby is they don’t like to pass their things in law,” Hamrick said. “They don’t like to ask voters if they want abortion through all nine months, for any reason whatsoever, and sometimes with taxpayer funding.
“What they like to do is run end-runs around people, get one judge or, in the case of Roe, seven judges to do what they can’t do because people don’t like wholesale abortion when they learn what it means.”
Pro-life organizations are not the only ones to acknowledge the significance of Trump’s judicial picks. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund noted that the previous administration nominated more than 200 federal judges to lifetime appointments, a factor it fears will “restrict [abortion] rights for generations.”
To ensure the movement reaps continued successes like this, Hamrick urged individual pro-lifers to involve themselves in election primaries and vote for candidates who will support life-affirming legislation. The SFLA advocate said that voting pro-life first in elections is of the “utmost importance.”
“And frankly, when you vote pro-life, you’re also voting for the companion legislation of adoption reform and aid for women. It is the natural flow of your worldview,” she said.
“But at the top of that food chain has to be the pro-life vote, meaning the protection of the preborn — that has to be first, and from that will flow a lot of other issues. So, it’s vital that people be courageous and consistent with what they say are their views.”
Despite disagreements with Biden’s stance on abortion, the 2020 election saw some pro-lifers vote for the pro-choice candidate due to their opposition to Trump. Groups like Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden urged voters to support Biden, claiming his policies were “more consistent with the biblically shaped ethic of life.”
“These people who threw their vote away on Joe Biden, saying that he was going to do more for the community in general, should be loudly denouncing his pro-life failures and cashing in on their vote by saying, ‘I supported you. So you should also support the preborn,’” Hamrick said.
“But they’re not doing that, either. So there’s just a lot of people out there that [you] have to question, ‘What’s your commitment to the preborn if you’re going to work to elect people who promised to kill them?”
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