Tag Archives: Marjorie Dannenfelser

Midterm passive-voter motivation can stunt abortion

The 2018 U.S. Senate midterm election is the most important election for the pro-life movement since Roe v. Wade. Forty-five years’ worth of toil, hope, and prayer comes down to this moment.

Marjorie Dannenfelser

By Election Day, three United States Supreme Court justices will be at least 80 years old. Speculation abounds that Justice Anthony Kennedy might soon retire. With state legislatures having passed several hundred pro-life laws in recent years, there is a strong likelihood that the case that finally brings down the Roe regime, with its staggering toll of over 60 million lives, is in its formative stage now. Twenty states have banned late-term abortion after five months of pregnancy based on the unborn child’s capacity to feel pain; Mississippi has banned abortion after 15 weeks; a flurry of bills would end lethal discrimination against babies with Down syndrome; among many developments.

Providential guidance and hard work have brought us to the remarkable point of having a pro-life president who has promised to nominate only pro-life Supreme Court justices, a promise kept with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. President Trump may have the rare chance to tip the balance of the court.

The rub is that President Trump can nominate the country’s most brilliant jurists, but the Senate still has to approve them. There is currently a slim Republican majority in the Senate, but not a solid pro-life majority. Time after time, abortion extremists have attacked exceptionally qualified nominees for their faith and principles, and the battles will only intensify in the future.

SBA List has long foreseen this fight and our strategy is in place. Historically, the president’s party suffers in midterm elections. When voter turnout is low, victory often belongs to those who simply show up – so we created the largest, most effective pro-life grassroots team in the country and have spent months laying the groundwork for that victory.

We began our field operation last summer with canvassers visiting homes in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Indiana, and Missouri. We are poised to expand into four additional states with vulnerable pro-abortion senators to meet an ambitious goal of visiting two million homes before November. We are well on our way, having visited 700,000 homes already.

SBA List is uniquely focused on locating and motivating low-turnout pro-life voters, those who are prone to skipping an election but are motivated by the life issue. This is a nonpartisan project. We find pro-life Democrats, Independents, and Hispanics who are receptive to our message and can be persuaded to vote for pro-life candidates, then we encourage them to get out to the polls.

We preach to the choir – and it works. Like most Americans, the voters we target are with us on the issues: they overwhelmingly oppose late-term abortion, taxpayer-funded abortion, and the radical pro-abortion agenda. However, they are not voting. They may not realize how critical this election is to the future of unborn children or how extreme their senator’s record is, especially when politicians obfuscate and misrepresent their stance. By delivering this message personally at their homes, we increase voter turnout by 6.6 percent on average.

In so doing, we are going head-to-head with America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, and their allies, who have announced plans to spend $30 million on the midterm elections. The stakes have never been higher.

An opportunity like this for the pro-life movement truly comes once in a lifetime. We must seize it with all our hearts. With God’s grace and pro-life Americans’ prayerful support, together we can reclaim the Senate and the courts, protect unborn children and their mothers, and end one of the greatest injustices in human history.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. SBA List’s mission is to end abortion by electing leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders. She is also a Legate of the Northern Virginia Chapter.

Pain-capable abortion legislation

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER writes that new pain-capable legislation is a pro-life game-changer . . .

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser

by Marjorie Dannenfelser

For the first time since Roe v. Wade, we are very close to protecting an entire class of unborn children from abortion. These children will not be spared because of a parental notification law or because their mothers rejected the gruesome reality of abortion after informed consent.

Although these laws are good, just, and lifesaving, they regulate around the child. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would save the lives of children simply because they are children. Boy or girl. Created by God. Sent into the world for a specific purpose, without whom we are a lesser nation.

We may have lost faith at times along the way, but it’s telling of the pro-life movement that we did not stop. While we have been waiting to change the law, we have been on our knees in prayer. We have been in front of abortion facilities counseling. We have welcomed women into our hearts and into pregnancy care centers and have welcomed their children into the world by the tens of thousands.

But our nation is finally getting to the point where we are living up to the aspirations of our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Living up to those aspirations — to protect and enrich the lives of the most vulnerable — means that we are continuing a pathway begun by our Founders. In their wisdom, these men set up a system of government where, when there was an injustice to be confronted, the American people had the tools to fight and to overcome. It’s simple: There needs to be a law.

Every other successful human rights movement has come to this moment. It is that moment to understand where you are in history, to seize what is before you. It is that moment to freshen resolve because the fight it not over; there is a seminal battle ahead of us. And for the right to life movement, the battle has two fronts: at the ballot box and in the halls of Congress.

First, at the ballot box. The 2014 midterms revealed that abortion-centered feminism is dying, if not dead. Pro-choice candidates in the last election were advised, almost unilaterally, not to speak of the abortion issue. Retreated from their own abortion-centered position, the abortion lobby and its candidates are talking about pay equity and family life. Meanwhile, our candidates and volunteers are going on offense to expose hidden abortion extremism.

The Susan B. Anthony List saw this on the ground in 2014. We saw how person-to-person interaction, on doorsteps across five states, can make the difference in a tight race. Our pro-life activists were ready and willing to talk to their neighbors about the importance of voting pro-life. Moreover, they were ready to bring our message to outlying communities. We have learned that being bold with our pro-life ideals, taking our message to Democrats, women, independents, and Hispanics, yields important fruit.

Our candidates are echoing the message. Fourteen declared and likely Republican presidential candidates have spoken out in support of the Pain-Capable bill and are now calling out their Democrat counterparts for their unwavering allegiance to abortion on demand. With a broad coalition of candidates going on offense, cheered on by an equally broad coalition of pundits, pro-life leaders are poised to flip the script on abortion.

The pathway to success in 2016, to electing a pro-life president, will require going on offense like this. Taking the White House is the last key step in passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which cleared the U.S. House of Representatives on May 13.

That journey was not without its own struggles. In the interim months since the bill was delayed, pro-life activists rallied by generating thousands of phone calls and messages to Congress requesting a vote. Fortunately, our pro-life champions in the House heeded the calls of the grassroots.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is ready to move with this proposal in the U.S. Senate and will introduce the legislation with an impressive number of original co-sponsors. When the time comes to have the debate in the Senate, Graham said, “It will be a joy; it will not be a burden.”

Passing this legislation and seeing it signed into law by a prolife president, who we must help elect in 2016, will be no small accomplishment. This compassionate legislation will save 15,000-18,000 children a year! When we consider the effort that goes into saving just one life, imagine what it will means to save 40 per day! We are on the cusp of this reality and we must see it as a beginning. This is the beginning of the end of abortion.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter.

The ballot box and the power to save lives

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: Legates must engage politically during this fall’s elections . . .

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Pro-lifers and religious liberty lovers cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 30 Hobby Lobby ruling, which confirmed that religious people don’t have to choose between their faith and their business.

The hostile response to this modest win, however, is a clear indication that the battle to keep our voices is far from over. Our responsibility as Catholics to engage in the public square has reached a tipping point. Last year Pope Francis spoke of our obligation to engage politically: “I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability. We all have something to give!”

Not one of us can shirk this responsibility to participate — to reach out to the marginalized, the weak and the vulnerable. What use is it to fight for our own voices when we don’t use them to fight for those who have none?

The unborn child has no voice. As the abortionist’s instrument draws near, she emits a silent scream, recoiling from the pain. In fact, research shows that by at least five months gestation (20 weeks), the developing child feels pain, making abortion a particularly excruciating death. A recent study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the U.S. is one of only seven countries — including China and North Korea — to allow abortion beyond this point.

Groaning under the burden of this brutal national distinction, 13 states have already passed laws to address this butchery. Last year, Washington took notice. At the encouragement of Susan B. Anthony List, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a compassionate, common-sense limit.

Despite the efforts of our coalition in the U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), pro-abortion Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly blocked advancement of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the second chamber. That’s why SBA List and our partner, Women Speak Out PAC, has launched a multi-state campaign targeting vulnerable senators in North Carolina, Arkansas, and Louisiana — all who oppose the five-month limit.

For the last few weeks and through Election Day, our pro-life volunteers will knock on thousands of doors to speak face-to-face with pro-life and swing voters, educating them about this historic legislation and encouraging them to elect a senator who will support it. Gains made at the ballot box will translate directly to Congress, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already pledged to bring the Pain- Capable bill to a vote if his party takes the majority.

All of this gets us one step closer to our goal of saving the 18,000 children whose lives are ended by late abortion every year — 18,000 unique individuals who were sent to this world with a purpose. The consequences of failing to act are dire. Real lives hang in the balance. Lives like Charlotte Ryun — an extraordinary little girl who is the feature of our Women Speak Out media campaign. Charlotte’s parents, Ned and Rebecca explain how their daughter, born premature at 24 weeks, fought desperately to survive. Charlotte and other miracle babies like her are a testament to the humanity of all unborn children currently unprotected by law.

It can be easy to “check out” when it comes to politics. The outcomes seem inaccessible, the leaders disinterested. Sometimes this is true and sometimes it’s not, but our obligation remains the same: We must allow Christ’s love to transform our environment. When it is toxic and death-dealing, there is all the more reason to take what we’ve been given as Catholics — passion for bettering this world by protecting and welcoming the vulnerable — and share it. In the words of St. Catherine of Sienna: If we are what we should be, we will go out and set the world on fire!

Of all people, candidates and elected officials — especially pro- life ones — have an ability to grasp this edict deeply. It’s easy to underestimate the threats to their positive leadership. To fight for life is to make sacrifices. Whether it’s in Washington or a state house, true heroes often go without much family time, without the comforts of home and all that entails. Because there is much to accomplish (our Founding Founders spelled it out very clearly), there is much to lose. When we lose our moral and religious core, our nation suffers.

Thomas Jefferson and others warned what would happen to our form of governance if morality and religion lost hold on the hearts and minds of citizens and leaders. The experiment in democracy would fail. Children who were sent to solve our most intractable problems will continue to die before they get a chance if we put off for another day exercising our civic duty to fight for their lives. We have the power to elect leaders who will pass laws to save their lives.  Let’s use it.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter.

Margaret Thatcher and women’s genius

Marjorie Dannenfelser says women’s contributions to the Church are profound . . .

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser

It may be that Margaret Thatcher’s quip “if you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman” is true. However, some women in politics excel at getting the wrong things done.

Consider how an entire movement of women managed to turn women in upon themselves and their children, selling abortion as the great liberator, necessary for equality, even a Constitutional right. In the United States alone, nearly 4,000 women and children per day suffer for that false promise. Fathers, husbands and communities suffer with them. Those women “doers” dominated the political arena for decades. The consequent human suffering is staggering.

However, out of this suffering has come unexpected hope of many types. One is a new breed of woman in politics. She has sharpened vision, spiritual depth, and a passion for fixing what some women broke. She embraces the cross of political life and is making an enormous difference by gluing the broken pieces back together. The Church has unique gifts to support her.

In his Letter to Women (1995), Blessed Pope John Paul II noted that through their “genius,” women “reveal their gift of womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives” (#12). I regularly witness this powerful grace in action — in women’s leadership in the public square and in their private acts of self-donation.

An NBC reporter recently asked me about Rep. Michele Bachmann’s retirement and the ramifications of her announcement. I found myself explaining how easy it is as women to feel isolated and alone, especially at an executive level where there is little to no institutional support for one’s work in their vocations.

Women in leadership positions are answering a call that requires them to embrace a different model of family life. They work tirelessly to serve their husbands, children, communities and churches. They often find themselves alone, discouraged and burnt out in their effort to lead and be a voice for the voiceless.

Conservative women in particular are often viciously attacked, usually for petty differences rather than for the substance of their arguments. They get caricatured beyond recognition by those in politics and the media. Bachmann and Gov. Sarah Palin are two such women. While they have both become lightning rods for controversy, they didn’t begin that way.

The day that Bachmann was sworn in, I sat with her in her office. She was already the object of vile personal attacks in the media. The substance of the attack was not about a statement she released or a comment to the press, but the outfit she wore that day. Throughout her tenure in Congress and in her presidential campaign, she was critiqued for her hair, nails, makeup and clothing. Chris Wallace asked her what she made of the fact that people thought she was stupid. A brilliant tax attorney, mother of five and foster mother of 23, she was stunned. So was I.

Palin, another strong, pro-life woman I’ve worked with, didn’t start out as a “radical” but as a mother taking stands on substantive issues. The mother of five children, including a child with Down syndrome, fought hard and strong. This led her from her home in Wasilla to the Governor’s Mansion and eventually to national prominence as the 2008 vice presidential nominee.

When the Susan B. Anthony List endorsed her bid and started TeamSarah, we saw firsthand how hateful opponents of such women can be. Palin was a direct threat to pro-abortion feminism and those who seek to exclude believers from the public square. They spent months working to smear her in every possible way. Her church was a target of arson at the height of the attacks. The media ignored it. She was stunned. So was I.

In his Letter to Women, John Paul also wrote that women have a unique capacity to see individuals beyond the institutions in which they live and work and worship. We can serve them and support them individually through our own beloved institution, our Mother Church. Without support systems constructed within institutions and externally in the public square, women leaders can feel isolated and alone. This is why the Susan B. Anthony List began and why we formed the Pro-Life Women’s Caucus on the federal and state levels. It’s a privilege to give these women the support and resources necessary for them to defend mothers and unborn children.

Women have a unique ability to lead strongly in the right or wrong direction. Women leaders who answer the call to right wrongs and advance justice publicly need and deserve our praise. Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher, for helping pave their way!

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter.