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Anti-abortion group confident House will pass ban on late-term abortion

Jordan Gass-Pooré
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, recounted the national anti-abortion organization’s hand in building the Republican Senate majority at a press conference Thursday at the National Press Club. The nonprofit spent millions of dollars in 2014 to elect anti-abortion candidates.

WASHINGTON – Marjorie Dannenfelser is a self-described reluctant convert to the anti-abortion movement.

Dannenfelser made it her life’s mission to end abortion after a philosophical debate when she was a Duke University undergraduate, she said at a Thursday news conference at the National Press Club.

The former pro-abortion rights advocate is now the president of the anti-abortion organization the Susan B. Anthony List.

The group works to elect candidates and promote government policies that will ultimately prohibit abortion.

That includes the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,”  that she said the House is expected to vote on Jan. 22, the day the annual March for Life is to take place. It would ban abortion after 20 weeks.

This anti-abortion rally will take place on the 42nd anniversary of the decision in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion through the second trimester of a preganancy.

Women in the United States can choose to have an abortion for any reason, until at least 24 weeks of gestation.

The bill asserts that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks.

The House passed a similar measure in June 2013, but it failed in the Senate. Dannenfelser is more optimistic this year.

“Our Senate allies say it will move very quickly,” Dannenfelser said.

If both House and Senate pass the bill, President Barack Obama is likely to veto it.

Dannenfelser said it’s “perhaps insurmountable” for the House and Senate to override a veto, but she’s hopeful more anti-abortion legislation will pass at the state level.

Requirements to obtain an abortion vary by state, with most restricting late-term abortions.

“States are the best laboratory for legislation,” Dannenfelser said.

To make any federal change, Dannenfelser said her organization needs a president on its side.

Several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates have signed the Susan B. Anthony List “Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge,” Dannenfelser said.

This list includes Jeb Bush, R-Fla., Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Rick Perry R-Texas, among others.

Dannenfelser said she expects other candidates to follow suit.

In 2014, the nonprofit and its super political action committee Women Speak Out spent more than $3 million on Republican campaigns.

The organizations are ready to do the same in 2016.

“It’s not just a political moment; it’s a human moment we’re living in,” Dannenfelser said.

The ultimate intent of the Susan B. Anthony List is to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Dannenfelser admitted the organization is nowhere close to making abortion illegal and can’t predict when this will happen.

But she said people are changing sides.

Developments in fetal surgery bring perspective on the humanity of the unborn, Dannenfelser said.

To back up her claims, she cited the neutral website WebMD. The online health guide’s “Your Pregnancy Week by Week” describes the 20th week as the time when a fetus begins to twist, turn, wiggle, punch and kick.

“We’re talking about a person here, not a clump of cells; a clump of cells can’t dance,” Dannenfelser said.

That’s why, she said, the proposed law is “so desperately needed.”

Reach reporter Jordan Gass-Pooré at [email protected] or 202-408-1490.

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Anti-abortion group confident House will pass ban on late-term abortion