January 5, 2023

Meet the Speaker: As the House Showdown Continues, SFLAction Took a Look at How These Leaders Vote on Life-Saving Legislation

The historic current event taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives has been televised widely as many Americans are in disbelief that the Republican majority cannot whip the votes needed for a Speaker of the House. This leadership delay has not only stirred drama within the Republican party, but without having a Speaker of the House, the Members before you on television are actually considered ‘elect’ as the Speaker has the sole duty of swearing in Members of Congress. 

While some are new to Capitol Hill, many of the Members-elect are incumbents – including the nominees on both sides of the aisle for leadership positions. Students for Life Action (SFLAction) engages on pro-life legislation regularly in Washington and scores many votes that cover the issue of abortion. 

We thought it would be most appropriate to look back at our scored legislation for those running for leadership including two Black Americans who are garnering much of the news attention as their nominations are historic in of themselves. 

Both incumbents and Black men, Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Byron Donalds (R-FL), caused an eruption of applause as their nominations have represented an important moment in history. However, SFLAction took a look at our forthcoming report card to see how these leaders have voted for the preborn while serving in office, and one rates seriously better than the other:  

Hakeem Jeffries  

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York will serve as Minority Leader for the Democratic party. Succeeding Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jeffries will historically be the first Black lawmaker in this position, and as reported by CNN, “He also would be the first person voted to lead House Democrats to be born after the end of World War II.” 

Rep. Jeffries has been serving in office since 2013, and his new leadership role will shape the way in which the Democratic party addresses legislation, including abortion. SFLAction’s report card reflects a failing score for Jeffries who has not protected life in law. 

Scoring Rep. Jeffries’ votes on a variety of pro-life bills including the Protecting Life on College Campus Act, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, federal funding of abortion, the Women’s Health “Protection” Act, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, as well as President Biden’s radical pro-abortion nominees for cabinet, Rep. Jeffries failed to receive a single point. 

The 0% F rating of Jeffries by the Pro-Life Generation has been taken into account especially as the Member prepares to steer the Democratic agenda for the 118th Congress.  

Byron Donalds 

While the Republican party has nominated more than three people for Speaker, Rep. Donalds’ nomination of Florida has notably made history. As his colleague publicly nominated him, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said, “For the first time in history, there have been two Black Americans placed into the nomination for Speaker of the House.” 

This is certainly true, but what is also highly noteworthy is the Florida Congressman’s record for life. Rep. Donalds has served Florida’s 19th Congressional District since 2020 and has since voted in favor of life-saving legislation.  

Scored in the same manner as Rep. Jeffries in SFLAction’s report card that analyzes a grouping of votes, Rep. Donalds received an A- or 92% from the Pro-Life Generation. It is clear where this Member stands on life through his proven track record of protecting the preborn against his counterpart Jeffries.  

As Congress returns today to continue this vote series, constituents wait anxiously to see when the Speaker will be determined so they can get to work for the good of the taxpayer. Regardless of who the Republican Speaker of the House is, SFLAction stands ready to work with leadership to take on a bold pro-life agenda that protects life in law.  

READ NEXT: Students for Life Action’s Post-Roe State Legislative Strategy