Democrats projected to keep House, plan to advance abortion legislation

shutterstock 1316349317 Speaker Nancy Pelosi. | Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives, NBC News and Bloomberg projected late Tuesday night. Democrats have pledged to push for federal funding of abortion if they retained control of the House after the 2020 election. 

While Republicans have so far flipped one seat and could pick up additional seats in late returns, those results are not projected to be enough for Republicans to regain control of the House, leaving Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the presumptive favorite to return as Speaker in 2021. 

Although Pelosi has said she will seek another term in the Speaker's chair, she is 80 years old and may face challenges for the speakership from the growing number of Democrats who say that Pelosi's views are more centrist than their policy agenda. Among those Democrats is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). 

Pro-life Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellas (D-TX), one of the few remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress, handily won reelection in the Texas 28th Congressional district, but Democrats are expected to advance several pro-abortion policy initiatives in the next Congressional term, especially if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the presidency, and if the Democrats also gain control of the Senate. 

Although Democrats are expected to continue to control the House of Representatives, it remains to be seen which party will control the Senate.

A divided Congress blocked the House of Representatives from achieving many key Democratic policy goals over the last several years, many of which are likely to return in the coming term. 

The House passed the controversial Equality Act in May 2019, which placed so-called gender identity and sexual orientation alongside race in non-discrimination law, was criticized by the U.S. bishops for its potential to undermine key religious freedoms. The bill, which exempted itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was never voted on by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Democratic House also passed the HEROES Act, which included provisions that could fund abortion services under the guise of coronavirus relief. 

Pro-life leaders pointed out in May that the House-approved stimulus bill failed to incorporate Hyde Amendment protections in critical spots-thus allowing for taxpayer funding of abortions. The Hyde Amendment bars federal funding of elective abortions, and its repeal has been a long-standing aim of House Democrats.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the stimulus legislation was "full of giveaways to the abortion lobby."

"Shame on the Pelosi Democrats for exploiting a national emergency to foist a radical abortion agenda on the American people," Dannenfelser said.

"Not only does the bill fund abortion and health plans that cover abortion, it includes subsidies to the abortion industry," she stated.

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