- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2015

The pro-life political headway gained in 2014 has to be expanded in the next election, pro-life leaders told a standing-room-only session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday.

“I think that abortion-centered feminism is dead,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, founder and president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which has now elected 100 pro-life House members and 19 pro-life senators to Congress.

Abortion-centered feminism may try to “crawl back,” she said, but the last election showed that voters respond to pro-life messages that abortions should be outlawed once fetuses can feel pain, and that taxpayer funds shouldn’t be used for abortion.

Another pro-life message with traction is that “abortion harms women,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and chairman of Americans United For Life. Women can suffer physical and emotional complications from abortion, she said.

A priority for the new Congress, which now has a strong pro-life contingent in both chambers, is to pass a bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks gestation, when the unborn child is likely to be able to feel pain, said the panelists at CPAC’s session, “Baby Steps: The Pro-Life Success Story.”

Such a bill would be the first time Congress has acted to block abortions after a certain point in pregnancy, said Ms. Dannenfelser. Currently, abortions are legal throughout pregnancy.

Several states have enacted these 20-week, “pain-capable unborn child” abortion bans, she said, and the issue is likely to follow the same “zigzag path” that the partial-birth abortion ban took to the Supreme Court.

Another priority is to outlaw abortions in which a doctor “dismembers” the living unborn child, said panelist Darla St. Martin, co-executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, who noted that three states are acting on this measure.

Other activities are to encourage abortion-clinic regulations and limits on webcam-abortions, said Ms. St. Martin.

Many members of the audience indicated that they were already active with pro-life groups on campus or in their communities, and a few more said they would be signing up too.

The 2016 presidential election is very important — it “will either set us back or set us forward decades,” said Ms. Dannenfelser.

“Be encouraged. We are making a difference,” said Ms. Yoest.

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