National Press Club

Anti-abortion leader predicts congressional passage, presidential veto of restricting bill

January 15, 2015 | By Wesley G. Pippert | PippertW@missouri.edu

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said at a National Press Club Newsmaker Jan. 15 that the House would pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection bill on Jan. 20, the day of the March for Life in Washington.

Dannenfelser said the Senate, now in control of the Republicans, would quickly follow suit. But she acknowledged that a likely veto by President Obama "would be a high bar for us to reach ... a big one, perhaps insurmountable."

Dannenfelser said late-term fetuses can feel pain and barring abortions after 20 weeks would save the lives of 18,000 of them. "Even if they're not wanted, they still feel pain," she said.

Jan. 22 is the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. Dannenfelser, who said she once was "pro-choice," said her organization was named after Susan B. Anthony, who she said "linked abortion and violence to women."

Dannenfelser said the results of the 2014 elections -- specifically citing Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, Texas and Iowa -- marked a historic moment in what she called the battle against "the greatest human rights abuse of our time." As for the 2016 presidential election, she said she expected all Republican prospects to support the anti-abortion agenda.

On the other hand, several times she named Hillary Rodham Clinton, a likely presidential candidate, in criticizing the Democrats' "stubborn, stubborn opposition" to that agenda.

At the state level, she said, "the pro-life movement is winning... but California can always be counted on to take a step backward." She also criticized Planned Parenthood for opposing safety and health standards in abortion clinics, saying these were measures that would help protect women's health.

Dannenfelser was asked why it has taken 40 years to get to this level of opposition to abortion. "But I don't know when that (the goal of no more abortions) will be," she said, articulating "a vision of what life could be like ... when every child is welcomed into the world."

Tony Gallo, a member of the Club's Newsmaker committee who chaired the session, said that as a matter of "fairness," Planned Parenthood had been invited to present its views at a Newsmaker and would do so in March.