WASHINGTON, D.C., November 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – While all eyes are on arguably the most contentious presidential campaign in U.S. history, other down-the-ballot races are adding to the stakes of the 2016 election.
Aside from the presidency, maintaining majorities in the Senate and the House are crucial to the pro-life movement.
Defunding Planned Parenthood, passing pain-capable abortion bans, and setting a pro-life foreign policy are all at stake. Also key is getting a pro-life majority on the high court in order to overturn Roe v. Wade. Numerous marriage and family issues are in the mix as well.
Canvassers for pro-life Susan B. Anthony List and its super PAC Women Speak Out have knocked on the doors of more than a million people in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Missouri, demonstrating the importance for the pro-life vote in those states.
Tight Senate races are especially key after Republicans gained back the majority in the 2014 election.
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a pro-life Republican, is in a very tight race with Democrat Deborah Ross. A former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and a North Carolina legislator, Ross supports government funding of Planned Parenthood and repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
The North Carolina governor’s race is also being closely watched as incumbent Republican Pat McCrory faces a challenge from Democrat Roy Cooper, with most current polls showing Cooper holding a small lead. The state has been the subject of intense scrutiny after passing the HB2 bathroom bill and hit with numerous boycotts as a result. McCrory’s opposition to the original Charlotte ordinance and holding steadfast on the bathroom bill created hostility and has been part of the media focus.
Three Planned Parenthood political groups – the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Votes and Planned Parenthood Action PAC North Carolina – announced in September they planned to spend at least $1 million in North Carolina on advertising to oppose Donald Trump, Burr and McCrory.
Pro-life Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt is also in a tight race with Democrat Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is running as a moderate despite having voted against a late-term abortion ban while in the Missouri legislature and having received Planned Parenthood’s endorsement.
Blunt, who joined Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst as top signatories in a July 2015 letter from 50 U.S. senators to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell inquiring into Planned Parenthood's practices and whether they are in compliance with federal laws pertaining to the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortion, also authored the 2012 Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, in an effort to roll back the HHS Contraceptive Mandate.
The Senate race between Ohio Republican Rob Portman and Ted Strickland turned early and Portman has a comfortable double-digit lead going into Election Day.
While Portman has a solid pro-life voting record, he lost some conservative support in 2012 after he changed his position to support gay “marriage.”
Strickland is a former congressman and governor who has said he strongly supports legal abortion and that he backs Planned Parenthood.
The race between Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy was tight earlier but has begun to look strong for incumbent Rubio, a former presidential contender.
Murphy has a campaign ad that says Rubio’s opposition to abortion exceptions for rape and incest is “reckless.” The challenger supports public funding of abortion and compelling religious employers to provide contraception and abortion coverage in insurance plans. Planned Parenthood has also endorsed Murphy.
Rubio opposes providing abortion for victims of the Zika virus, has said the sciences settled on the question of life’s beginning at conception, and that he is “sickened by the complete disregard for innocent unborn life evident at Planned Parenthood.”
The contest between Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty is tight, with McGinty up a couple points over Toomey.
Toomey is pro-life, though he has said he supports abortion exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
McGinty, a top environmental aide to Bill Clinton and former chief of staff to pro-abortion Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, supports federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Nevada Republican Sen. Joe Heck is neck and neck with Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.
Heck voted to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and to defund Planned Parenthood, while Cortez Masto supports abortion on demand.
In New Hampshire, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is polling just a few points ahead of Democrat Maggie Hassan.
Ayotte has a pro-life voting record in the Senate and opposes taxpayer funding of abortion, where Hassan supports abortion on demand, federal funding of abortion and opposed parental notification legislation as a state senator.