Pro-lifers refocus on state-level efforts

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: switching from offense to defense.

Pro-lifers spent the last four years enjoying the support of a friendly White House. Now with a different administration, they are prepared for a return to government hostility. 

Playing defense is nothing new for pro-lifers. The playbook they’re pulling out for the Biden administration got plenty of use when the president was vice president.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Despite the challenges during those eight years, the pro-life movement did find ways to advance their cause.

So what do pro-life groups have planned for the next four years? Joining us now to talk about that is Kristi Hamrick. She’s been involved in the pro-life movement for many years and now works with Students for Life. Good morning, Kristi!

KRISTI HAMRICK, GUEST: Good morning! Thanks for having me!

REICHARD: We know the next four years won’t be easy for the pro-life movement, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fruitful. A lot of the work happens at the state level, independent of who’s in the White House. What are some of the top priorities for Students for Life and others you work with in terms of state-level policies?

HAMRICK: Well, all of us in the pro-life movement know presidents come and go, legislators come and go. But at the state level, that’s where real change takes place. So, at the state level, you see a real interest in legislation that limits abortion later in pregnancy. And, in fact, during the week of the anniversary of Roe, Students for Life of America put out a poll that looked at just Millennials and Gen-Z, the generation most targeted for abortion and the generations always presumed to be pro-abortion. Almost seven out of 10 Millennials and Gen-Z want a vote on abortion-related policy. Less than two out of 10—almost 80 percent—want abortion through all nine months for any reason at all and with, often, government funding. They don’t want it. So they really do support limits. So, limiting legislation at the state level, not after the fifth month of the pregnancy, not through all nine months, not with taxpayer funding. That kind of thing is very, very popular. 

You see Texas being creative with funding. Kansas just passed just last week an initiative to get on their ballot in 2022, a ballot initiative that says their state constitution does not hide a right to abortion. So, there’s just a lot of exciting things that we’re involved with. 

REICHARD: Now, you listed a couple of states—Texas and Kansas. Other states leading in these areas? Who else? 

HAMRICK: Honestly, it’s exciting. Students for Life testified in Montana a couple weeks ago where we were looking at limiting an before five months and handling no-test abortions, opposing them when it comes to chemical abortion. And that’s the thing, the abortion lobby really wants to say drop all the tests for abortion and let’s just sell these pills without a test. And here’s something for people to be aware of. There’s many reasons to be opposed to that. I’m RH negative. My husband is RH positive. It’s our blood type. Fifteen percent of the population is RH negative. If an RH negative woman has an abortion, a miscarriage, or a birth and isn’t treated with a shot called rhoGAM, you can become infertile the rest of your life. It has to be done immediately when there is an exchange of blood. So, when abortionists say they don’t want to do ultrasounds to see how far along is a pregnancy or where it’s located and they don’t want to test for blood type, they are risking women’s lives, health, and future children. And when you think about the rise of infertility in the United States, abortion is a variable, a huge variable that isn’t often discussed. So, Students for Life joined and helped lead a coalition along with SBA List and a lot of other big organizations—AUL, Americans United For Life—to get this chemical abortion legislation out around the country. And we’re getting more and more feedback now. I would invite you to go to Students for Life Action for that, but, like I said, we’re working in Texas, Montana, Nebraska. There’s legislation popping up—I think we’ve got 10 or 15 states right now looking at all kinds. We’re working on some heartbeat legislation that includes requirements for childcare for women after the baby is born. So, we need to be holistic, both in limiting abortion and expanding help for women. 

REICHARD: For a while now we’ve seen support for abortion drop in national surveys. Pro-life persuasion is working. How do you think a pro-abortion administration affects that persuasiveness, that abortion is wrong?

HAMRICK: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting that you say that. Most people don’t realize that in the United States, abortion is legal through all nine months for any reason whatsoever and sometimes with taxpayer funding. That doesn’t mean every abortion vender does that radical late term abortions, it just means it’s available and possible to get in the U.S. So, it’s a really shocking thing when they understand that when Roe wiped out all the pro-life laws in the country, we were back to ground zero to trying to protect life. And we were also at less than zero when it comes to what Roe allowed. And something to flag for your listeners, codifying Roe is a phrase that was discussed kind of insider politics during the election and that just this week, timed with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Joe Biden said he supported. Codifying Roe means passing a federal law that says that whatever Roe allows is going to be required nationwide. 

So, we’re going to need to be fighting and flagging and educating on how codifying Roe is radical. And the Biden administration has said they want to get rid of the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is taxpayers paying for all abortions here at home. Just last week, Joe Biden got rid of the Mexico City policy so we can pay for worldwide abortions. So, federally speaking, we have our work cut out for us. But at the state level, I think there’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 states that have pro-life initiatives that are moving through legislators, so you really want to check that out at your local level. 

REICHARD: Kristi Hamrick is with Students for Life, a pro-life non-profit organization that focuses on college students and campuses.  Kristi, thank you for speaking with us today. 

HAMRICK: Thanks for having me.

(Photo/iStock, DJMcCoy) Washington D.C., USA – January 22, 2015; Pro-Life marchers go to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C. to mark the Roe V Wade decision.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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