The following is by Doug Johnson, Federal Legislative Director at National Right to Life (NRLC).
The first two years of the Obama Administration have been a time of multiple setbacks for the pro-life cause at the federal level. Behind smokescreens of soft, deceptive rhetoric, the Administration has pushed an abortion-expansionist agenda on both domestic and overseas fronts, employing executive powers, nominations, and legislative attacks. The single greatest pro-life setback has been enactment of the massive [health care] restructuring law ("Obamacare"). ...
Now we have received the judgment of the electorate: The bloc of Democrats who abandoned the pro-life movement to satisfy President Obama and Speaker Pelosi suffered severe losses. In all, at least a dozen House incumbents who had taken high-profile stands against federal funding of abortion, but who ended up voting for the health care law, were defeated by pro-life challengers (or, in Stupak's case, suddenly retired).
Far greater losses were sustained among the ranks of House Democrats who had seldom or never voted pro-life: upwards of 40 were replaced by firmly pro-life Republicans.
It was the assessments of candidates by the mainstream pro-life organizations, such as NRLC, that correlated with the results: According to a national post-election poll conducted by The Polling Company, 24% of those who actually voted remembered receiving a previous communication or hearing an ad from National Right to Life about the candidates.
Fully 30% of voters said that abortion affected their votes, and this group broke nearly 3-to-1 in favor of the pro-life candidates.
Asked, "Did the issue of funding for abortion in the Obama health care law affect the way you voted in today's election?," 31% of voters responded in the affirmative — 27% who said they voted “for candidates who opposed the health care law,” and 4% who said they voted “for candidates who favored the health care law.” In other words, 87% of the voters who said the issue mattered, voted in accord with the NRLC position.
The take-home lesson, for lawmakers in both parties, could hardly be clearer: If you vote against the pro-life position –as defined by the mainstream pro-life groups — on a major abortion-related public policy issue, you will be held accountable by a substantial bloc of the electorate. ...
In addition to the replacement of about 40 career pro-abortion incumbents and about a dozen defectors, in about 25 other cases pro-life House incumbents of both parties are being replaced (through either retirement or defeat) by new, firmly pro-life candidates. In only one district in the entire nation was a firmly pro-life incumbent defeated by a solidly pro-abortion challenger. ...
What's that all boil down to? Overall, there has been a net shift in the pro-life direction in the House of 40 to 55 votes, depending on the issue. This brings within the realm of possibility full House approval of a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion, such as the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act proposed by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), which has already been endorsed as a priority in the "Pledge to America" issued by the incoming Republican majority leadership in October. It also sets the stage for a battle royal over legislation to repeal the Obamacare law itself and replace it with something consistent with pro-life principles.
The election results were good in the Senate, as well, where the net shift in the pro-life direction will be from four to seven votes, depending on the issue. No senator is being replaced by a successor who has a weaker position on abortion.
This shift in the Senate will enhance pro-life prospects for fending off new legislative attacks on existing pro-life policies — among these, an ongoing effort to repeal a ban on performing abortions in U.S. military medical facilities, and a variety of bills intended to further enhance the Administration's ongoing efforts to expand abortion access throughout the developing world. But President Obama's veto pen may still pose a formidable obstacle to enactment of legislation targeted at the gross deficiencies of the Obamacare law, and of the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.