Can Pro-Life Democrats Pass a Bill in the Senate

Could a pro-life bill pass the Senate if it was written by Democrats? Or is any pro-life bill really dead on arrival in the US Senate?
Could a pro-life bill pass the Senate if it was written by pro-life Democrats? Or is any pro-life bill really dead on arrival in the US Senate?

We think way too much in terms of Democrat vs. Republican, left vs. right, conservative vs. progressive.  I would say that we think of things as being entirely black or white, but it’s really more appropriate to say we are looking at things as being entirely blue or red.  There are a lot of conservatives and party leaders are pushing Marco Rubio to lead that charge, but liberals and Rubio-haters alike are quick to point out that any abortion bill will be dead on arrival in the US Senate.  For the liberals, they know another abortion fight will only hurt them in 2014, so they don’t want to have this discussion.  For Rubio-haters, they want “Rubio” to be a synonym for “amnesty” from now until 2016, and they’ll take a proverbial crap on anything he does that might regain him some credibility on the right.

Given the lack of objectivity here, I thought I should take a moment to explain why an anti-abortion bill might not be so dead-in-the-water as you may think.  At the very least, it can really help the GOP as the mid-term elections come around.

As I wrote in the beginning of this post, we are being blinded by partisan politics.  The passage of the Rubio immigration bill; which had Republican backers in the Senate; is a good example of why the partisan divide can’t be counted on for all things.  The immigration bill also shines some light on how we can pass this through the Senate.  Let’s count the votes.

Automatically, there are 46 Republican Senators who will need to vote “Yes” on the bill.  That means finding 5 Democrats to vote for the bill.

Five Senators come to mind:

Senator Bob Casey Jr. (Pennsylvania) – defeated Rick Santorum with a pro-life Democrat platform in 2006

Senator Joe Manchin III (West Virginia) – had a pro-life record as the Democrat governor of West Virginia

Senator Joe Donnelly (Indiana) – ran as a pro-life Democrat in IN-2 before running for US Senate in 2012

Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia) – has a mixed history with the pro-life cause, but he may be sympathetic

Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) – most important because he’s the Democrat majority leader in the Senate

46 + 5 = 51.  Now, you’re probably saying that there’s no way to get those five Democrats to vote pro-life, that it’s all a sham.  You may very well be right, but let’s learn a lesson from the immigration reform bill.  If you want a controversial bill to pass, you let the swing votes and moderate critics write it.

Let these five Democrats and three Republicans (including Senator Marco Rubio) write the legislation.  Will it be a complete overturn of Roe v. Wade?  Of course not.  It’s going to be littered with exceptions, caveats, loop holes, and everything else we’ve come to expect from Democrat-written legislation.  But if it stops even a fraction of the abortions that take place in this country every year, it will be worth it.

The bill would pass the House of Representatives easily if it came with a unanimous stamp of approval from the US Senate.

Of course, the President would then veto the bill, but that’s kind of the point of this.  If we let five Democrats write the pro-life legislation that gets submitted the White House, it would probably be the most agreeable, least controversial pro-life bill that could possibly be written.  Seeing as how the vast majority of Americans are pro-life if you allow for certain exceptions, the pro-life bill that gets passed would be very popular with the people, especially in the three swing states represented by the self-described pro-life Democrats listed above.

If Obama vetoes the popular, watered down bill that would defend innocent lives, then the people have one more reason to vote Republican in the 2016 Presidential election.

If, by the grace of God, he doesn’t vote to veto the pro-life bill, then thousands of lives would be spared a painful, merciless end.

If the pro-life Bill doesn’t pass the Senate because one or more of the Democrats won’t play ball, then it’s very easy for us to tell his constituents that when given the opportunity to help develop a pro-life bill he could vote for, he refused.  It would be impossible for that self-described “pro-life” Democrat to describe himself as pro-life anymore after that.

Coincidentally, Vice President Joe Biden has also professed to be a pro-life Catholic Democrat.  In the event that only 4 Democrats vote for the bill, or one Republican defects, creating a split vote, the Vice President would be the tie breaker.  Now THAT would be interesting.  I imagine it would be the first time a Vice President cast the winning vote on a bill that the President would go on to veto.  And again, if the Vice President votes against the Democrat-written bill, we could easily strip away his self-proclaimed “pro-life” Democrat title.

The bill doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t have to be a ban on abortions past 20 weeks.  The bill doesn’t even have to pass.  It’s a good idea for the GOP to pursue the legislation with the pro-life Democrats, regardless of the outcome.

We have to keep hammering away at this at the state level until the Supreme Court hears a new challenge to the ruling in Roe v. Wade that considers everything modern medical science has learned in the last 40 years about the development of human life.  In the mean time, let’s continue to press forward with putting pressure on pro-life Democrats to vote their conscience or come clean.  Let’s expose the mainstream Democratic Party as the abortionist party of death that they really are.

All the while, let’s make sure we win the culture war on the single most important subject there is: the value of human life.


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Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

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