With Republicans regaining control of the U.S. Senate, the pro-abortion lib-left will no longer be able to thwart pro-life legislation or hold up or defeat President George W. Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees. Since Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords bolted the Republican Party 18 months ago to become an independent and thus hand control of the Senate to the Democrats by way of a one-seat edge, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.) has refused to let pro-life legislation, including a ban on human cloning, conscience protection for healthcare workers and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, onto the floor for a debate and vote. Furthermore, the justice committee, chaired by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a pro-abortion Catholic, has held up, refused to consider and defeated several pro-life judicial appointees. Numerous Democratic senators, led by Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), have said that they would oppose any judicial nominee who does not support Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed widespread abortion on demand.

President Bush has said he wants hearings on his judicial nominees and may re-submit the names of pro-life judges turned down by the Democratically controlled committee so that they could get a fair hearing. Judges such as Priscilla Owen, a Texas Supreme Court judge appointed to the appellate court, was defeated in committee because she was too pro-life. Her crime? She upheld a law passed by the Texas legislature and supported by 80 per cent of Texans that required parental notification (not permission) when a teen sought an abortion. For this she was defeated as a pro-life extremist. There is no guarantee that judicial appointments will be passed by the full Senate – 40 senators could filibuster a Senate approval vote – but at least there will be hearings and a vote. Eventually, these judges will make a difference as they uphold pro-life laws passed by Congress and the state legislatures.

Furthermore, Bush is committed to signing into law numerous pieces of legislation, such as a ban on human cloning, that protect the sanctity of human life and that the House of Representatives has already passed. Unlike Democratic leader Daschle, new Majority Leader, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, will allow such bills to come to the Senate floor for a vote.

The Interim congratulates all pro-life candidates who ran for elected office and wishes the best of luck to those who won. We encourage them to courageously defend the humanity of the unborn, because what happens politically and legally in the U.S. has reverberations in this country. If the political class and courts south of the border uphold the sanctity of human life, it will only be a matter of time until some benefits are felt here.

Landsberg’s diatribe

In one way, Michelle Landsberg’s Nov. 16 Toronto Star column is not very noteworthy. It is the same old tired and untrue rant against pro-lifers that she has offered from her column for years. The radical, pro-abortion columnist complains about President George W. Bush’s “war on women around the globe.” The evidence of said war: the principled refusal of $34 million to the United Nation’s Population Fund because the agency supports population control schemes that depend on abortion and forced sterilization. In an extraordinary cheapshot, Landsberg says that Bush’s pro-life position would “gladden the hearts of the Taliban,” thus equating standing up for the sanctity of human life with the very real human rights violation committed against Afghani women by the former regime.

Bush’s “religious crusade,” Landsberg claims without a scintila of evidence, “has already brought disease, unimaginable physical suffering and death to countless young women and babies.” Can Landsberg really write this with a straight face? Can a woman who has shilled for the abortion industry from her lofty Toronto Star perch really complain about the deaths of countless babies?

Of course, the only target better than President Bush for Landsberg is her favourite whipping boy, the Catholic Church. She fulminates against the Vatican because it is “unflaggingly determined to impose its religion on the bodies of all women everywhere.” Yet, to Landsberg’s simple mind, there is nothing wrong with unflaggingly imposing a pro-abortion position on all religions (she also condemns Islamic countries). But as Pope John Paul II has often noted, the church imposes nothing, it merely proposes. The Church is a democratic institution – people are free to join or leave it, contribute funds to it or not – unlike the state, which demands allegiance and expropriates money through taxes. Until President Bush came along, many U.S. taxpayers opposed to abortion were funding “reproductive health” schemes in violation of their consciences.

Landsberg concludes that the success of pro-life Republicans in the American mid-term elections “will become a dread example of what can happen when religion and politics entwine to waltz us back to the Dark Ages.”

This is a lovely little line but one that should have gone out of feminist vogue long ago. It is the pro-abortion position, with its willful ignorance of the development of human life in the womb, that is medieval.

As the late Walker Percy, a novelist and medical doctor noted 20 years ago, we no longer live in an age in which we are agnostic about the beginning of human life, because microbiology tells us – and modern medical technologies confirm – when such a life begins.

We no longer live in the Dark Ages, so there is no excuse to not know – and, more important, to not act on the fact – that life begins at the moment a human sperm fertilizes a human egg.

Landsberg’s column is a vivid illustration of the fact that the pro-abortion movement has very little in the way of scientific, moral or logical argument on its side and that, in desperation, it resorts to the kind of invective that was on display in her most recent diatribe.