Kathy Schiffer is a Catholic blogger. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Zenit, the Michigan Catholic, Legatus Magazine, and other Catholic publications. She’s worked for Catholic and other Christian ministries since 1988, as radio producer, director of special events and media relations coordinator. Kathy and her husband, Deacon Jerry Schiffer, have three adult children.
The 2018 midterm election results are coming in, and I am happy/sad. I'm sad because in Michigan, the noble John James lost his long-shot bid to wrestle a Senate seat from liberal Debbie Stabenow. I'm sad, too, because voters in Oregon voted to force taxpayers to fund abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, and because abortion advocate Sen. Dianne Feinstein won her bid for re-election in California, even though she will be 91 years old when her term ends.
But despite the disappointments here and there, yesterday’s election results, lumped together, pointed to some bright spots in Americans’ attitudes toward abortion.
In Alabama, despite strong opposition by Planned Parenthood, voters approved a constitutional amendment which said that unborn babies have a right to life. By a 60-40 margin, voters affirmed “that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful.” The amendment also guarantees that “the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Another amendment which was widely approved by Alabama voters authorized display of the Ten Commandments on public property, including schools, although it added that state funds could not be used to defend the amendment if it were to be challenged in court.
In West Virginia, voters approved a constitutional amendment which states that there is no “right to abortion.” The Amendment One initiative will make it easier to pass pro-life legislation in the future, including restrictions on abortion funding.
In Florida, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis defeated his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee mayor Ronald Gillum, to win the Governor's seat. Gillum supported progressive causes such as the expansion of Medicaid and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In contrast, DeSantis pledged in his first debate to sign legislation to ban abortions “after a fetal heartbeat is detected.” That law, if passed, could be the legal challenge which could overturn Roe v. Wade. DeSantis has also signaled that he would, if elected, change the makeup of Florida's historically liberal State Supreme Court. “They're activists,” he said of the current court. “They legislate from the bench. I can tell you this: I am best positioned to identify those candidates for nomination to the state Supreme Court who are going to apply the law faithfully and will not be judicial activists. And, if we get it right, we can end judicial activism in Florida for a generation.”
In Tennessee's race for a U.S. Senate seat, staunchly pro-life Rep. Marsha Blackburn defeated former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who had supported taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Blackburn, who led the Select Panel on Infant Lives which investigated Planned Parenthood's sale of aborted baby body parts, won despite censorship of her pro-life campaign ads on both Facebook and Twitter.
In Indiana, pro-abortion Senator Joe Donnelly was defeated by his Republican challenger, pro-life businessman and former State Representative Mike Braun. Sen. Donnelly had voted against the bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and has a long record of support for pro-abortion causes. Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said of Donnelly: “Many Indiana voters will be surprised to learn that while Joe Donnelly claims to be pro-life, he has voted pro-life less than one-third of the time over his six-year term.” In contrast, newly elected Senator Mike Braun has promised to vote to withhold funding for the abortion giant.
In Missouri, pro-life Josh Hawley claimed victory over radical abortion advocate Sen. Claire McCaskill for a seat in the U.S. Senate. McCaskill's support for late-term abortion and her opposition to the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh put her at odds with her constituents. She was further criticism this week after a new video from Project Veritas showed McCaskill's staffers explaining how Planned Parenthood “hid” their contributions to her campaign so as not to offend pro-life voters. Hawley, meanwhile, has been a staunch pro-life advocate, supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Earlier, as attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Hawley was the lead attorney in the case defending Hobby Lobby.
In North Dakota, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp has gone down in defeat to pro-life challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer. Cramer entered the race after Heitkamp was captured on C-Span giving a “high-five” to Chuck Schumer after helping to defeat a ban on late-term abortions. Heitkamp, who promised her electorate that she would be a “moderate,” instead proved to be radically pro-abortion, scoring a 100 percent rating on Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s 2018 congressional scorecard. In contrast, Cramer said on his campaign website:
Life is precious. Every child should have the chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must work to protect our most vulnerable in every way possible, and I have and will continue to do so. That's why I supported the most recent attempt at banning late-term abortion in our nation. As your Senator, I will reinforce our Christian foundational values to protect the unborn and I will continue to fight for pro-life issues.
In Texas, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has retained his seat, defeating his opponent, abortion advocate and media darling Beto O'Rourke. O'Rourke had amassed a record $40 million in campaign contributions in the third quarter of 2018, while Cruz' campaign reported income during that same period of just $12. Nonetheless, voters preferred to retain the Senator who has served them well since 2013.
Also in Texas, political newcomer and retired Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw made the news largely because of Saturday Night Live's tasteless mockery of his war injury (he lost an eye in combat in Afghanistan). Crenshaw, who won his House race, is also staunchly pro-life and told the website Vote Smart:
As a country, we must place more value on LIFE. I believe that each life is created by God for a special, unique purpose, and that every life has inherent value. Being pro-life goes beyond politics. It is a foundational, moral position on the side of humanity.
We must stop late-term abortions in this country. I believe our country is on very shaky moral ground by allowing the abortion of a human being with 10 fingers, 10 toes and a heartbeat. This is not an attack on women, it is a question of our humanity. Not even far-left European countries like France allow abortions past 12 weeks, and yet we do?
The Babylon Bee, the popular Christian satire site, said in a hilarious tongue-in-cheek article, “We're gonna call this election for Jesus.” Election results are in – and Christ, they wrote, is still on his throne. Of course, we knew that – but it's good to be reminded as America moves forward to defend Life in the coming years.