On October 25, 2023, after a chaotic few weeks of voting, Rep. Mike Johnson was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the House. Speaker Johnson is unknown to many Americans, and since his election, there has been no shortage of articles painting him as extreme. That said, pro-lifers should be happy to know that the new Speaker has been a fearless champion for the unborn in both his tenure in Congress, and in his time prior.
Speaker Johnson, representing Louisiana’s 4th district, is a constitutional law attorney widely recognized as a strong defender of the right to life. He has served as vice chair of the House Republican Conference and has been an active promoter of pro-life issues, particularly in his role on the Judiciary Committee.
Congressman Johnson has co-sponsored dozens of pieces of pro-life legislation and is the lead sponsor of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act to give states the ability to enforce their parental notification and consent laws. Earlier this Congress, Speaker Johnson spearheaded a resolution to condemn violence against pro-life pregnancy centers, ushering the bill to passage in the House. Prior to coming to Congress, according to his Congressional biography page, “Mike spent nearly 20 years successfully litigating high profile constitutional law cases in district and appellate courts nationwide and is widely recognized as a leading defender of the right to life, religious liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment and free market principles.”
According to National Right to Life President, Carol Tobias, “Speaker Johnson is committed to the right to life, and he will make the right to life and protecting women and their unborn children a priority in Congress.” The Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, Ben Clapper, echoed, “Speaker Johnson has been a strong ally of the pro-life movement and Louisiana Right to Life. Speaker Johnson will be a proudly pro-life Speaker of the House who will protect babies and help moms.”
With the 118th Congress being one of the most closely divided in recent memory, Speaker Johnson and the House return to Washington D.C. on Wednesday to work to keep the government funded. Numerous policies protecting unborn children have been front and center of this debate, and several critical policies have been adopted in the House of Representatives.
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Currently, the government is operating on a continuing resolution or “CR” until November 17. This CR maintained the status quo on taxpayer-funded abortion, including the Hyde Amendment and numerous other similar provisions.
Speaker Johnson has promised to continue work on the 12 individual spending bills to fund the government, rather than producing a large omnibus. Five out of the 12 bills have been approved, and work continues on the remaining bills while the clock runs on the temporary CR. The House, controlled narrowly by Republicans, has prioritized conservative items, while the Senate bills largely maintain the status quo. With the temporary CR keeping the government open, a deal will have to be struck to fund the government with the Democrat-controlled Senate.
With Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) at the helm of the House Appropriations Committee, multiple bills were written to retain long-standing pro-life protections and include a series of new pro-life provisions. Every appropriations bill that contains abortion policy has included language protecting life, whether it be retaining longstanding riders (Hyde and Hyde-like amendments) or by adding new language to stop the Biden Administration’s expansion of taxpayer-funded elective abortion at Veterans Affairs, and abortion travel at the Department of Defense.
While it is expected that long-standing pro-life provisions will be maintained this Congress, few if any of the new provisions have sufficient support in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
While Congress, particularly the House, remains in a state of flux, pro-life groups and members will continue to fight to retain long-standing pro-life protections and include several pro-life provisions aimed at stopping the Biden Administration’s push for taxpayer-funded elective abortion.
With Speaker Mike Johnson as the new Speaker, those in the pro-life movement should know they have a champion at the helm.
LifeNews Note: Jennifer Popik is the legislative director for National Right to Life.
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