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‘Unforgivable’: Renee Ellmers should lose primary challenge for killing pro-life bill, say leaders

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Congresswoman Renee Ellmers' role in preventing the House of Representatives from voting on a national abortion ban is “unforgivable,” and she should be defeated in the next Republican primary, state and national pro-life leaders are saying.

Ellmers led a successful effort to derail the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which had been scheduled for a vote to coincide with the March for Life last Thursday. She, Jackie Walorski, and others objected that the bill – which they had voted for in June 2013 – required women to report their rape to the authorities before they could obtain a late-term abortion. Ellmers also implied that young people are indifferent to late-term abortion. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that Millennials — social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”

Ellmers and Walorski withdrew as co-sponsors of the bill, which the leadership pulled from its calendar. It has yet to be rescheduled for a vote.

“We are sad to report to you that Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has betrayed the pro-life community,” said the North Carolina Values Coalition. “The worst part is we don’t even know why she is trying to derail it. Her office has told our supporters at least 6 different stories, none of which make sense or are true.”

Jill Stanek raised the possibility that “maybe supposedly pro-life Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has become a pro-choice mole.”

Yet the day after the House withdrew the bill, Rep. Ellmers sent a tweet welcoming hundreds of thousands to the March for Life:

Now pro-life leaders in Washington and in her home state of North Carolina say Ellmers must be turned out of office.

Robert George, a founder of the American Principles Project, told Breitbart, “I think this is, if I can use the term in the political sense, ‘unforgiveable.' So I hope that she will be subjected to a strong primary challenge in the next election by someone who is genuinely pro-life and that our movement to protect the lives of unborn children at all stages and in all conditions will now move forward.”

“We’ve been making sure that every one of her constituents knows exactly what she’s done and that she can’t be trusted any further,” North Carolina Right to Life President Barbara Holt told local media. “North Carolina Right to Life and pro-lifers will not forget what Renee Ellmers has done,” the organization said in a press release.

Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition promised, “Groups like mine are going to continue reminding people” of her actions.

Perhaps most significantly, National Right to Life – which had strongly supported Ellmers in the past – spoke out. “This humane bill would ban abortions when an unborn baby is developed enough to feel terrible pain during an abortion,” NRLC President Carol Tobias said in an email, “and if you can’t vote for such a humanitarian no-brainer of a law to protect the unborn, you can’t be trusted to vote for any pro-life legislation.”

“We need to send a message loud and clear to all 'pro-life' representatives who ask for our vote, but who betray the lives of vulnerable unborn babies when they get in office: If you vote or work behind the scenes to allow the slaughter of abortion to continue, you will hear from pro-life voters loudly and clearly at the polls,” she said.

Ellmers has faced harsh disapproval from her constituents, especially her party's conservative wing, for years, especially over immigration. During a radio interview last March she called Laura Ingraham “small-minded” and “ignorant” for opposing a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. David Steinberg of PJ Media named Ellmers and then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as “GOP members [who] most deserve a conservative primary challenge.” In 2014, she defeated a primary challenger, Frank Roche, who lacked campaign funds.

In 2016, Ellmers may face a primary challenge from Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and co-founder of the Coalition for American Principles. Observers say his connections, and Ellmers' actions, make him a more potent contender for the nomination.

Conservatives cannot wait for the showdown. Aaron Gardner at RedState.com wrote, “This is how it should happen every time one of the people we elect to represent us instead betray us. We should not be afraid to take corrective action against those we send to Washington, and the sooner in their career you do it, the better.”

“You did this to yourself, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC),” he wrote.

But a state GOP operative warns toppling any legislator, especially a Congressional incumbent, will be impossible without sufficient campaign funds. Paul Shumaker, who helped newly elected Sen. Thom Tillis overcome a crowded Republican primary field last year, told Roll Call that Tillis “was able to get where he needed to be because he was able to put the resources together. Anybody thinking of challenging her in the media market in which she lives has to have more than just appear to be part of a certain coalition.” 

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