With a shift in congressional power, pro-choice supporters are concerned that Roe v. Wade may turn into Republican v. Democrat, while conservatives argue there are bigger issues at hand.

The new congressional balance of power since midterm elections is stirring pro-choice activists to speak out against the potential illegalization of abortion. The opposing camp, however, argues bigger issues demand the attention of lawmakers. This disparity between political factions echoes even on the campus of UCSB.

“With the Republican majority it’s possible they would wage a more direct attack on Roe v. Wade”, said Rebekah Waldron, the organizing director of the Campus Democrats.

John Kalinski, a former chairman of the College Republicans, disagreed. He said more pressing issues, such as national security and the recession, should take precedence over the abortion controversy. He said within two years a different Congress will preside in office, too short a time to pass legislation against Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that set the precedent to allow women the right to chose whether they wanted to have an abortion.

“People on the left blow this out of proportion. Judges deserve a little more credit,” Kalinski said.

Jeremy Rabinovitz, chief of staff to newly re-elected Representative Lois Capps, said he recognized it’s still an uphill battle to pass legislation despite the Republican majority.

“It’s a potential threat, but there is still a strong bipartisan consensus in Congress to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Rabinovitz said.

The Supreme Court continues to hold firm on its stance for women’s rights, however, Rabinovitz said Capps will continue to safeguard this critical issue.

Director of the Women’s Center Deidre Acker said students need to get a little more active and realize the right to have an abortion is threatened with conservatives in power.

“Imagine a world where abortion is illegal,” Acker said. “This generation that’s grown up when we’ve had legal abortion takes it for granted, particularly college-aged students.”

The House of Representatives holds at 228 Republicans to only 203 Democrats, with one Independent Representative and three vacancies. In the Senate, Republicans have a slight majority with 51 seats held by Republicans and 47 going to Democrats, with one Independent and one still pending.

The new majority of the Senate is not enough for Bush to put his policies through easily, as 60 votes are needed to cut off a filibuster.

“The Republican majority doesn’t really matter. The Democrats have enough opposition and there are enough moderate Republicans on the issue,” Kalinski said.

More than 30 states – including Arizona and Utah – have passed laws banning partial-birth abortions, the termination of a fetus in the late stages of pregnancy. But Planned Parenthood Vice President of Public Affairs Christine Lyon said no medical procedure identified as “partial-birth” abortion exists. Instead, she referred to this procedure as a “late-term abortion.”

“Late-term abortions only occur in very rare circumstances when the mother’s health is endangered. It’s usually a wanted pregnancy,” Lyon said.