While Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) president Mitch Hescox prepared to speak to Congress in support of the EPA's newly established "Mercury and Air Toxics Standards"-intended to reduce mercury and other pollution from power plants-pro-life leaders voiced concern that his environmental organization was watering down the pro-life message. In written remarks prepared for a Feb. 8 hearing, Hescox urged Congress to support the EPA rules as a matter of pro-life principle: "Anything that threatens and impedes life, especially impacts on the unborn and young children, is contrary to our common beliefs and values and exacts a moral toll on the nation's character."
But in a statement of protest, more than 30 pro-life leaders warned the organization's tactics threatened to "confuse voters, divide the pro-life vote, and postpone the end of abortion on demand in America."
Last year the EEN spent $150,000 on radio spots and billboards in seven states that thanked several members of Congress for "defending life." Yet many of the targeted lawmakers have pro-abortion voting records: Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., voted for pro-life issues only 4 percent of the time during the first 18 months of the 111th Congress, according to an FRC Action scorecard. One billboard rebuked Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, alleging his opposition to the mercury rules "harms ... millions" of unborn children, although Latta had voted for pro-life issues 100 percent of the time.
In the protest statement, released by the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, leaders including Marjorie Dannenfelser (president of the Susan B. Anthony List) and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins pointed out that mercury emissions don't kill infants, abortions do: "The term pro-life originated historically in the struggle to end abortion on demand and continues to be used in public discourse overwhelmingly in that sense. To ignore that is at best sloppy communication and at worst intentional deception.