The bottom has fallen out of the abortion-centered “war on women” strategy. Why is that? Women just don’t agree with the shrinking ranks of the feminist Left like EMILY’s List and NARAL that unlimited abortion is the great liberator for women. And they are tired of the politics of division and grievance.
In fact, the next Congress will usher in a record-breaking number of pro-life women who share this belief.
When I worked with other women to start the SBA List in 1992, the “Year of the Woman,” there were only two consistently pro-life women serving in Congress.
The Congress that convenes in January will have at least 21 pro-life women, breaking a high of 18 following the 2010 elections.
In 2010, there were no pro-life women in the Senate. In the next Congress, Iowa Senator-elect Joni Ernst will become the third pro-life woman to serve, joining Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) and Deb Fischer (R., Neb.). Despite vicious attacks on her pro-life record by Bruce Braley, Ernst refused to back down from her pro-life beliefs. She exposed Braley as the extremist on abortion, given his vote in favor of brutal late-term abortions. SBA List and its members invested nearly $600,000 on her race.
In the House, four women of diverse backgrounds will be joining the ranks:
1. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) becomes the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age 30.
2. Mia Love (UT-04) becomes the first ever black Republican woman to serve in Congress.
3. Barbara Comstock (VA-10) won by an incredible 17 points in a swing district despite aggressive (and ineffective) attacks on her pro-life record.
4. Mimi Walters (CA-45) will provide an important pro-life female voice from California.
This number could grow to five, as Martha McSally, the first woman fighter pilot ever to fly in combat, holds a 1,200-vote lead in Arizona’s second district — the race has yet to be called.
SBA List and its partner Women Speak Out PAC invested over $117,000 to get these courageous pro-life women to the finish line.
This work is far from over. With movement support and encouragement, these women will serve on the front lines in championing laws that will save lives and protect women – such as ending late-term abortions after five months. We will seize this breakthrough moment and stand with them every step of the way.
The work already begins to add to their ranks in 2016. Just last year, SBA List formed the National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, to organize pro-life women at the state level, and hired a national coordinator this year. Many will be encouraged to run for higher office.
And of course, there’s a woman named Hillary Clinton eyeing the White House. In attacking Joni Ernst last week, Clinton said, “it’s not enough to be a woman. You have to be committed to expand rights and opportunities for all women.” The abortion-centered war on women strategy is dead because of this strait-jacket feminism — the one that says “you are a real woman if you agree with my ideology.” America has had enough of it – and in a warning shot to Hillary, communicated it clearly this past Tuesday.
— Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List.