Pro-life leaders held a press conference to discuss the “new era” of the pro-life movement, involving upcoming legislation and the 2024 presidential election, days before the annual March for Life.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating abortion through legislation, held a press conference Wednesday with Mary Dannenfelser, president of SBA, and Stephen Billy, vice president of state affairs at SBA. Dannenfelser explained that in light of the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement’s new goals would focus on elections and legislation.
“I’m here to talk to you about the brand new pro-life movement, this is week one and the very beginning of a new life for a new movement, a moment of innovation, a moment of excitement and a moment where we are building momentum,” Dennenfelser stated. “Our top two priorities for the next two years are simple, to engage and win in the states, and to win back the presidency.”
Dannenfelser went on to note that seven states have full abortion bans that are facing legal opposition, another 15 states have strong abortion restrictions, and 13 states, including Florida and Georgia, have laws that “are protecting children and mothers throughout pregnancy.” Legislation for the remaining states is the next major priority for pro-lifers, according to Dannenfelser and Billy, and both were optimistic that if the states took strong positions in favor of life that the 118th Congress would do the same.
One of the states SBA is focused on was the subject of a recent poll with the Virginia Family Foundation, showing that 61% of respondents in the state of Virginia were highly in favor of a 15-week abortion ban, protecting unborn children who can feel pain, according to the press release. The poll also found that 60% of self-identified pro-choice “likely voters” were also in favor of the 15-week rule and 65% of overall Virginia voters opposed abortion until birth.
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A national poll by the Knights of Columbus and Marist College found that 61% of Americans identify as pro-choice in 2023, a 6% increase from before the Supreme Court overturned Roe.
The next presidential election presents another challenge for pro-lifers, but Dannenfelser noted that SBA had been spending a lot of time with potential 2024 presidential candidates and indicated that only a strong pro-life president would be able to clinch the Republican nomination.
“What is the right question, whether is the wrong question,” Dannenfelser pointed out. “Any presidential on the Republican side, anyone on that debate stage who thinks there is no need for a federal standard has disqualified him or herself as a presidential candidate in our eyes, and having done so, has very little chance of winning the nomination.”
Billy said that “life is a winning issue,” and explained that to see better success in both presidential and congressional elections in the future, candidates need to contrast the pro-life position of protecting and caring for both mother and child with the “extreme position of the Democrats.”
“We have to be ready to fight back against that,” Billy stated. “We [must] have the resolve to clearly articulate what it is that the pro-life movement stands for, what it is the laws in the states are and how extreme the ballot measures are from the other side … abortion on demand, up until birth, paid for by taxpayers.”
The press conference occurred only two days before the annual March for Life that will take place on Jan. 20, but the march will take a different route just in time for the 50th anniversary of Roe, solidifying the new focus for the movement.
“For the first time the March for Life, America’s annual pro-life demonstration, will take place this year in a changed nation, a new era in which people are empowered to protect unborn children and mothers again, finally after 50 years,” Dannenfelser said. “This year it heads back to the Capitol because the Capitol is the place where legislators are there because of the will of the people … this is an important beginning, and it’s the beginning that is only possible because of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.”
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