In Iowa, Senator, Pro-Life Leaders Call for Abortion to Be 2024 Focus
Family Research Council hosted a Townhall for Life on Wednesday night in Des Moines, Iowa, addressing what FRC President Tony Perkins described as “a need and a responsibility for a federal role to protect the unborn in post-Roe America.”
Perkins was joined by four panelists: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser, pro-life activist and former Planned Parenthood facility manager Myra Rodriguez, and The Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats.
The Townhall began with Graham calling on Republicans in federal office to take a stand against abortion. He noted that Democrats have essentially centered their political campaigns around abortion and continue to campaign for pro-abortion legislation at the federal level. He said:
“I’m here to tell my fellow Republicans, you should want to talk about abortion, not be afraid of it. After the Dobbs decision, our Democratic colleagues have introduced legislation in Washington that would create a national standard. It would overrule every state law. … It would allow abortion on demand, taxpayer-funded, literally up to the moment of birth. If you’re a Republican, you should be against that.”
Graham rejected the notion that the 2022 Dobbs decision banned federal legislators from addressing abortion, noting in particular that the text of the Dobbs ruling enumerates Congress as one of the deciders on abortion issues. On the idea of abortion being a states’ rights only issue, he explained:
“Folks, this is a human rights issue. It’s not geography. … So this idea that the states are the only game in town is wrong. There is not a closed for business sign out in front of the House and the Senate when it comes to the unborn. And when they come to Iowa, you need to let them know that.”
Vander Plaats continued on that point, comparing abortion to slavery as moral evils no matter what various state legislatures say. He noted, “This is right or wrong. … So you don’t have slavery in Iowa, but you don’t have slavery in Missouri. Right. It’s a moral issue. It’s right and wrong.”
Dannenfelser went further, explaining that last year’s Roe reversal was in no way the end of the battle, but a sign of great hope for victory in the fight to protect the unborn. “When you say 50 years of work, that sounds like ‘I’m tired,’ but there is no tired now. It is a time to refresh, restore, dig deep, read again,” she said, adding that prayer and Scripture are the best ways to refresh for the ongoing fight.
Perkins added, “[I]n this post-Roe world, abortion has not been eliminated, it is simply now in the hands of the people and their elected representatives. We’ve got to keep doing what we’ve been doing for 50 years.”
In fact, a poll conducted amongst attendees and online viewers of the Townhall revealed 96% said Congress has a role to play in abortion.
One of the chief issues addressed by the panel was the upcoming Republican presidential primaries. All panelists stressed the importance of a Republican presidential nominee taking a firm pro-life stance. Graham put the issue succinctly, saying, “[I]f you want to be the nominee of the Republican Party, carry our banner. You’ve got to give a clear, concise, logical answer on the pro-life issue in Washington, D.C. And if you can’t do that, then maybe you shouldn’t be in the race to begin with.”
Vander Plaats added that any Republican nominee must do more than just preach populist platitudes but must truly have pro-life principles “embedded in their DNA” in order to “lead this country to a sanctity of human life.”
Stressing the importance of the pro-life movement as an electoral demographic, Dannenfelser added that “any candidate who wants to qualify from our perspective of being a candidate has to at least be for the 15-week limit [on abortion]. Otherwise, we will not support you. And I don’t know if you can win — you tell me, can you win the presidency without the pro-life movement?”
Explaining that Hispanic voters are family-oriented, Rodriguez noted the importance of the Hispanic vote:
“We have to keep in mind that in the last presidential election, for the first time, the Hispanic [voters] broke a record. 16.6 million Hispanics voted for the first time, making it 30% more than any other presidential election, which means we made a difference when it comes to this candidate. … The message always to my people when I go around speaking is if that politician is not willing to protect the most vulnerable person in your family, he does not care about you.”
She also explicated the evils of abortion and the Left’s lie that abortions are safe: “I sold abortions for 16 years. Then I became the director of an abortion facility. I realized what I had been promoting and selling, and I realized there’s no such thing as a safe abortion.”
Perkins wrapped up the event with a strong reminder of the spiritual war being waged in America, in which abortion is a weapon wielded by the demonic:
“This is an issue that we wrestle with in the public arena, but more importantly, we wrestle with this issue in the heavenly. This is a spiritual issue that is defining of this nation. You know, Paul, in Ephesians chapter six, he says, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. … Our strength is in the heavens and it’s in our relationship with the Lord. But we need to realize that this is a spiritual battle, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers, against the rulers of darkness, of this age. And I will say this without hesitancy, abortion comes from the pit of Hell. And we must stand against the darkness in this hour.”
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.