Pro-Life Leaders More Optimistic Now Than Any Time Since Reagan Administration

Barbara Hollingsworth | January 26, 2017 | 3:32pm EST
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Thousands of pro-lifers call for an end to legalized abortion during the January 2016 March for Life in Washington, D.C. (AP photo)

( – On the eve of the 44th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C, pro-life leaders say that with President Donald Trump in the White House and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, they are now more optimistic about achieving legal protection for the unborn than they’ve been at any time since Ronald Reagan was president.

“There is a sense of optimism among pro-life Americans that has been missing since the Reagan years,” Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, told

“The combination of Donald's Trump's pre-election promises followed by his post-election personnel appointments and new executive orders are the fruit of many years of hard work by pro-life activists and advances in medical science.

“ We expect to federally match the gains made in states followed by an inevitable and eventual reversal of Roe v. Wade, throwing the issue [back] to the states. Concerned Women for American looks forward to the day when abortion is not only illegal, but unthinkable,” Nance added.

“People are very, very optimistic,” agreed Joseph Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League and author of Racketeer For Life: Fighting the Culture of Death, the story of his successful 21-year legal battle against the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“Trump is a strange politician some of the time, but he has surrounded himself with some great people, such as [presidential counselor] Kellyanne Conway and [Vice President] Mike Pence,” he told CNSNews.

This will be one of the more upbeat marches,” Scheidler predicted. “We’re a lot closer [to the long-term goal of ending legalized abortion] than we were. Of course, a lot depends on Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court,” he added.

“Roe was a 7-2 decision back in 1973, and we have to get at least five people on the court, as well as have a case to bring before it.

“But even if that happens, abortion would still be available, because it would be sent back to the states like the way it was before. So that’s not the solution,” he told CNSNews.

“But we’ve made a lot of progress simply by having the scientific facts [on fetal development] become better known,” Scheidler noted. “They show that [human] life begins at the moment of conception and should be protected.”

A new Marist poll released on Monday found that three-quarters (74%) of Americans favor “significant restrictions” on abortion, and nearly two-thirds (61%) oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for them.

“The right-to-life movement continues to see evidence that our efforts to educate our nation about the unborn child’s humanity and our efforts to enact protective pro-life legislation are having a tremendous impact in moving our nation away from Roe and Doe v. Bolton’s deadly legacy, Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life (NRTL), said in a statement. 

Pro-life Americans made their voices heard last November. We now have pro-life majorities in both houses of Congress and, with the Trump Administration, a White House dedicated to advancing pro-life policies that help mothers and their unborn children."

Some pro-life leaders pointed to the presence of Vice President Mike Pence and White House presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, who are both scheduled to speak to pro-life marchers on Friday, as evidence that the Trump administration is serious about advancing the pro-life agenda.

Pence will be the highest-ranking public official to appear at the march in its 44-year history.

“That is a positive change,” Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, told CNSNews.

Others expect more progress on a whole range of life issues.

“We will see a pro-life Supreme Court justice nominated, an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, a vote on the Pain Capable bill, and an effort to make the Hyde Amendment permanent,” predicted Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“Plus a host of executive orders that will protect [freedom of] conscience and call for only ethical fetal tissue research, among others,” she told CNSNews.

Nearly 59 million unborn children have been aborted in the U.S. during the last four decades. A report released Wednesday by NRTL noted that data from the Guttmacher Institute showed that “abortion numbers hit a historic low” in nearly every state and region in the U.S. in 2014, dipping below the one million mark for the first time since 1974.

During his first week in office, Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. tax dollars from going to non-governmental groups that refuse to certify that the funds will not be used to promote or perform abortions.

The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues, a coalition of 25 pro-life organizations, is urging the national news media to cover the March for Life.

Newsbusters’ Katie Yoder reported that for last Saturday’s pro-abortion Women’s March on Washington, the major news networks devoted nearly 23 minutes of air time before the event and one hour, 15 minutes and 18 seconds during and after it.

In contrast, the 2016 March for Life got only 35 seconds of total coverage (“22 seconds following the march, 13 before”), Yoder reported.

CNSNews and Newsbusters are both part of the Media Research Center.

Related: Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues to News Networks: ‘Cover the March for Life’

Related: Marist Poll: Majority of Pro-Choicers Support ‘Significant Restrictions’ on Abortion

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