Editor’s note. These excerpts come from an overview provided by the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.
Words, actions, legislation and a March against abortion and support for the right to life of the unborn child dominated Washington, D.C. last week in the lead-up to Monday’s anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion on demand in 1973.
The March for Life
This past Friday, tens of thousands of pro-lifers from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 45th annual March for Life, giving voice to the voiceless. The theme of this year’s march, “Love Saves Lives,” emphasized that choosing life is a loving, empowering, and self-sacrificial option, even if it is not always the easiest. The theme reflected the heart of the pro-life movement which has always been to provide love and support to women and their children, offering alternatives to abortion that respect and values the lives of both mother and baby.
The March featured President Donald Trump addressing a smaller group in the Rose Garden which was broadcast live via satellite to the March. The president’s remarks including the following:
“Today, tens of thousands of families, students, and patriots – and, really, just great citizens – gather here in our nation’s capital. You come from many backgrounds, many places. But you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected, and cherished.
The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation, and you love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God.
We know that life is the greatest miracle of all. We see it in the eyes of every new mother who cradles that wonderful, innocent, and glorious newborn child in her loving arms.
I want to thank every person here today and all across our country who works with such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure that parents have the care and support they need to choose life. Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full, God-given potential – because of you.”
President Trump also proclaimed January 22, 2018 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
The proclamation begins:
“Today, we focus our attention on the love and protection each person, born and unborn, deserves regardless of disability, gender, appearance, or ethnicity. Much of the greatest suffering in our Nation’s history – and, indeed, our planet’s history – has been the result of disgracefully misguided attempts to dehumanize whole classes of people based on these immutable characteristics. We cannot let this shameful history repeat itself in new forms, and we must be particularly vigilant to safeguard the most vulnerable lives among us.
This is why we observe National Sanctity of Human Life Day: to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as “non-human.”
Congressional speeches at the March for Life
A large delegation of pro-life Members of Congress was present on the stage at the March for Life which featured inspirational and encouraging speeches from House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Rep Chris Smith, co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus.
The Speaker of the House
Speaker Ryan was clearly impressed by the large number of young marchers and stated:
“Looking out on this crowd, I can see there are people here of all ages, from all walks of life, but the young people here is what is so inspiring because it tells me this is a movement that is on the rise.
And do you know why the pro-life movement is on the rise? Because truth is on our side. Life begins at conception.
Do you know why the pro-life movement is on the rise? Because science is on our side. Just look at the ultrasounds that have shown us more about the pre-born child than ever before. How they develop, how they react, how they feel pain.
Most importantly, the pro-life movement is on the rise because we have love on our side. We believe every person is worthy of love and dignity. That is why the pro-life movement is on the rise.”
Speaker Ryan’s words are inspirational to all legislators who seek to use their elected offices to protect unborn children from the violence of abortion. He spoke about recent pro-life legislation that has passed the House:
“We strive to make our time in Congress a March for Life in itself. We strive to fight for the unborn, to pass important pro-life legislation through Congress, to work with the Trump administration to pass pro-life policies and laws.
And we’re making a lot of progress.
In the House, we passed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood.
In the House, we passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which restricts abortions after 20 weeks.
We passed the Conscience Protection Act, which ensures no one is forced to perform an abortion against his or her will. Religious freedom is the first amendment. It is the first protection in our bill of rights.
And just a few minutes ago, today, we passed the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act. It protects the life of those babies who suffer from failed abortions.
But most importantly, like the March for Life, we are striving to do this without judgment in our hearts-but with compassion and with love for all of the victims.”
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
Rep. Beutler, with her family by her side, shared the personal account of being told that there was no hope for the life of her unborn daughter Abigail and that she and her husband should abort and “try again”. She explained how they rejected the doctor’s advice to abort and instead searched for, and found, groundbreaking new treatments that began in utero and saved her daughter’s life.
Herrera Beutler explained,
“I was told there was no chance of survival, but they were wrong. And they weren’t bad people. They just had never seen a baby with this condition survive. But that’s the point. What if they’re wrong about others, too? What if, together, we can break new ground and find new treatments that will benefit more than just our own families? What if every baby was given at least a shot to reach their true potential?”
“Today, we have come together to say, ‘There’s hope for every expectant mother who has been given a devastating diagnosis, for every woman who feels fear, or anger, or anxiety because she doesn’t know how she can afford care for that child, for every woman that feels hopeless: Jesus loves you. And for every baby that has been given up on by the status quo: Jesus still does miracles. We must recognize the unborn child as the miracle that he or she is, a person developing with extraordinary potential and purpose, who deserves a fighting chance to live and just maybe reach that extraordinary potential.”
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Chris Smith, Co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, encouraged the marchers in their dedication to restoring the most basic human right, the right to life, to unborn children. His remarks included the following:
“Everyone here today is part of the greatest human rights struggle on the face of the earth. It is the only human rights abuse that the abortionists dare call a human right, it is Orwellian, and yet it happens here and all over the world.”
“I know I’m speaking to the choir, but we need to double down on our prayer for healing. We need to increase our fasting, and we need to ask God for wisdom for healing, so that we will do our duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable.”
In explaining the passage that morning of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, Rep. Smith stated that the intent of the bill is to ensure
“…that the cover-up that goes on each and every day in abortion clinics – when personnel look the other way when a child is actually born and then left to die due to exposure or to an actual killing due to strangulation – that they will now be compelled under penalty of law to report that so that those who commit these crimes can be prosecuted.”
Smith concluded by praising pro-life outreach to post-abortion women saying, “This movement has reached out to protect those women who have had abortions to love them, to care for them. The Silent No More women are the new face of the pro-life movement.”
Bills to Save Lives
Moments before the March began; the House of Representatives passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act, H.R. 4712 to protect the lives of babies who survive an abortion. The bill, which passed by a vote of 241-183, will strengthen current law– the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained:
“This bill states simply that if a baby is born after a failed abortion attempt, he or she should be given the same medical care as a baby born any other way. In line with our longstanding commitment to empower women, mothers will never be held criminally accountable. However, doctors who fail to provide medical care to newborns will be held criminally accountable. There is absolutely no ambiguity here. This is about protecting babies who are born and alive, and nobody should be against that.”
Additionally, the House held a special order hour on the eve of the March.