Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Susan B. Anthony List Lobbies GOP on Strong 'Pro-Life Language' in Party's Upcoming 'Contract' Campaign Manifesto

Check out this piece from Erin McPike at RCP, "Some Supporters Fret as GOP Readies Agenda." Here's the key passage:

Just weeks before House Republican leaders are set to announce the contents of a proposed governing agenda if they retake the majority, some GOP politicians and grasstops activists are growing nervous about those plans ....

So far, House Republicans have shown discipline and stayed on message on jobs and the economy; there are 16 mentions of the word, "jobs," in the packet. But there are two problems with the current effort: One is the wing of activists primarily concerned with social issues, and the other is the possible size of the incoming class of GOP freshmen who collectively would be the reason for the party's return to power.

Many high-level conservative activists agree that the most pressing issue of this cycle is the economy, but some are not willing to let up on matters close to them, either.

In an interview, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser warned: "To only lead on one issue at a time is a non-sequitur." She added, "That's not real leadership." Dannenfelser's group advocates on behalf of women in politics who are pro-life, and she hopes to see substantial pro-life language in the House Republicans' agenda but is not entirely optimistic.

The 22-page recess packet of trial balloons does include an explicit ban on all federal funding for abortion. That's one item on Dannenfelser's list, but she has two more: requiring parental notification for abortion-seeking minors, and requiring physicians who perform abortions to notify women who are at least 20 weeks into their pregnancies that fetuses can feel pain in the process.

Said Dannenfelser, "The conservative base of the Republican Party is so strong at this moment, the most divisive thing that could happen would be to leave out the family values third of the issue base." Her group has undertaken its own small media blitz, "Life Speaking Out," to lobby the House GOP on abortion issues and prevent the omission. A release announcing the campaign noted, "Missing from the GOP's original Contract in 1994 was any emphasis on policies protecting the unborn. Pro-life legislation was not made a priority in the following Congress."
The group sent a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner on September 2nd, arguing that:
The protection of women and their children from the violence of abortion and the protection of taxpayers from funding it must be an integral part of any legislative blueprint released by the leadership of the GOP, and should be included under a specific plank addressing family values.
As readers will recall, I take the big view on pro-life issues. And I expect the GOP to take the concerns of groups like Susan B. Anthony List very seriously.