Marjorie Dannenfelser: Roe's 48th anniversary – here's where the pro-life movement stands

Gov. Noem supports bill to ban abortions of Down Syndrome babies

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem addresses an abortion bill she will discusses in the upcoming state of the state address.

The 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade finds the pro-life movement standing on firm ground, despite the strangeness of an empty National Mall and a virtual March for Life, with a key advantage we could only have imagined even a few years ago: a new majority on the Supreme Court. 

Earlier this month, the court granted the Trump-Pence administration’s request to stop the distribution of dangerous abortion drugs by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic, striking down an activist judge’s nationwide injunction. It was a 6-3 decision – a hopeful sign for pro-life cases at the court. 

This is precisely why pro-life advocates worked so hard over the years to win a pro-life White House and Senate while also aggressively advancing pro-life laws at the state level. 


Now a unified Democratic government imperils our progress. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to immediately begin dismantling President Trump’s pro-life executive actions and ramping up the flow of tax dollars to the abortion industry. 

In Congress, Democrats playing parliamentarian games could try to nix the legislative filibuster, allowing them to unilaterally ram through anything Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., want.


They could destroy checks and balances by expanding the Supreme Court and creating at least two new states that would have pro-abortion senators. And they have spent years planning their nullification of the Hyde Amendment, the long-standing federal policy that has saved more than 2.4 million lives by preventing taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. 

The filibuster must be preserved – it is all that stands between pro-abortion Democrats and every item on their wish list. That, and West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. 

Manchin has suddenly become one of the most powerful individuals in the country. With Democratic Party leadership lurching ever further down a radical, destructive path, he is poised to determine the course of the entire nation – a profound responsibility. 

It’s encouraging to see Manchin already drawing the lines he won’t cross, voicing opposition to eliminating the filibuster and support for the Hyde Amendment. We in the pro-life movement hope he will remain firm and unwavering on those stated positions. Pro-life values run deep in West Virginia and his constituents will appreciate his refusal to bow to extremists in his party. 

While we defend our federal gains and work diligently to win back the House and Senate, pro-life advocates should go on offense in the states. The “off year” between congressional elections is an ideal time to advance bold pro-life legislation. Work has already begun, for example, in Florida where SBA List is working closely with local allies to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and stop more than 900 late-term abortions in that state each year. 

Dealing with a hostile administration will certainly be challenging, especially in contrast to the past four years.

We know that Americans overwhelmingly favor common ground limits on abortion. In 2019 alone, state lawmakers emboldened by President Trump enacted nearly 60 strong new pro-life laws, such as bans on discrimination abortions for Down syndrome.  It is time our court system unshackles the people and respects representative democracy. Today’s legal landscape is more favorable than ever to aggressively challenging Roe, with some promising cases working through the lower courts and more on the way. 

The pro-life movement should also continue building on its supportive infrastructure. Approximately 2,700 pregnancy centers nationwide serve millions of clients a year, providing excellent medical care, material goods, education, and a plethora of resources to help them choose life.

To enhance communication among a constellation of social service programs and ministries already doing vital work, and to facilitate a top-to-bottom survey of what services are available to families in need or where there are gaps that need to be filled, SBA List launched the Pregnancy and Life Assistance Network, currently active in Virginia and Georgia. This is how we are preparing in earnest now to welcome the children of a world without Roe. 

Dealing with a hostile administration will certainly be challenging, especially in contrast to the past four years. It must be acknowledged that President Trump and Vice President Pence, along with key appointees like Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, led the most effective pro-life administration in history in terms of policy achievements.

No administration has done more to stop forced taxpayer funding of the big abortion industry, saving countless lives at home and around the world. 

They led a Republican Party that is now universally pro-life, an extraordinary political accomplishment. 

Best of all, they gave us more than 230 constitutionalist judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate, including three Supreme Court justices. President Trump deserves every bit of credit and praise for his pro-life legacy, and it will keep bearing fruit. The standard has been set for future pro-life administrations. 


Now is no time to give in, not when we’re this close. The pro-life movement has endured difficult, even seemingly hopeless times before, and we know what it means to rise to the occasion. Under intense pressure diamonds form, beautiful and exceptionally strong, like our movement.  

Life is still winning, and we will win. 


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