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Pro-Life Activist: End Senate Filibuster to Move Anti-Abortion Bills

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) talks about his bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks at the Capitol on Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – Pro-life activist Lila Rose, president of Live Action, called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end the filibuster to clear the way for passage of the 20-week abortion ban and sending the bill to President Trump’s desk.

At the beginning of the month, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. It has not been put up for a vote in the Senate. McConnell said Tuesday that a vote would take place at “some point.”

“We have yet to see our goals accomplished as far as stopping the forced taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, as far as implementing more legal protections for the pre-born. And that involves the Senate and the House doing their job and getting the bill to the president so he can sign it – that’s one of the reasons why we are calling for an end to the filibuster,” Rose told PJM at the Values Voter Summit in Washington last Friday.

“It’s time that the Senate stop blocking and killing all legislation and have proper votes on it,” she added. “And we believe if that were to happen we could actually achieve these pro-life objectives, and the president can make good on his word to fulfill them and sign them.”

Rose is not sure if the bill would pass the Senate with the 60-vote threshold in place to advance legislation.

“We would have to see. As you know, the Senate has been notorious in flipping last-minute some senators, so I think there’s a lot of legwork to be done to make sure the American people understand that sometimes their senators or their representatives don’t vote for them and with them,” she said. “And that’s where, I believe, with the right amount of pressure to do the right thing, people that might have flip-flopped in the past can do the right thing in the future.”

Rose said educating Americans about abortion and the harm it causes often changes minds.

“Abortion is legal through all 9 months in our country, so depending on the state you can procure an abortion up to the moment the child is born – and abortion is horrific and cruel. I mean, when people actually learn what abortion procedures do in the first trimester, the second and the third, they are often horrified and they say, ‘I can’t support this.’ So, we just encourage people to be educated – that’s what Live Action does,” she said.

“We educate millions of people a week on the left and the right, from every background, and we see minds change because when you find out what abortion really is, what it does to the child, when you find out about that child and the harm to the mother, your mind changes on abortion. I’ve seen it time and time again,” she added.

Some House Democrats have called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds for directly paying for abortions. Rose said pro-life lawmakers in Congress outnumber pro-choice members, but the filibuster could block pro-life legislation from advancing if it stays in place.

“There will always be voices from abortion extremists calling for more abortion, which is what those that want to repeal the Hyde Amendment are doing, but we have the folks in the House. We outnumber them,” she said. “We basically outnumber them in the Senate, if people who campaigned on certain pro-life promises are true to them. We really do have the basics of what it takes if we aren’t dealing with mechanisms like the filibuster – that’s why we have to, I believe, remove that mechanism so that we can achieve the pro-life legislation that the country wants.”

Rose said Live Action “has been encouraged” by some of the actions taken by the Trump administration on pro-life issues.

“We’ve been pleased to see some of the steps taken by the Trump administration: first off, the reversal of executive orders that President Obama put in place that threatened human lives and threatened the pre-born,” she said. “And we’ve also been encouraged to see the president surround himself with many folks that are staunchly pro-life and are dedicated to protecting children including the vice president, Kellyanne Conway and others in the administration, so that’s a very encouraging thing.”