Since abortion was legalized across America, almost 60 million babies have been denied the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life.
Millions of Americans, however, refuse to surrender to the status quo and continue to raise their voices to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. Last weekend, thousands gathered across the country to remind their fellow citizens that every child is a gift from God and deserves to live.
In Washington, D.C., on Friday, the 45th annual March for Life began with a rally near the Washington Monument. Participants in the largest pro-life event in the world then marched up Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court, where the Roe v. Wade decision was issued in January 1973. Pro-life Idahoans marked the ignominious anniversary Saturday at the Capitol in Boise. With song, speeches and prayer, the crowds affirmed the sanctity of life.
President Trump was the first sitting U.S. president to address the March for Life from the White House on a live satellite feed. That’s appropriate, as the President’s leadership has helped make the past year an encouraging one for defenders of the right to life.
The House also passed important pro-life legislation Friday, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill, which I cosponsored and proudly voted for, requires that a baby who survives a failed abortion attempt will receive the same medical care as any other newborn.
Violators would be subject to up to 5 years in prison if a baby is left to die. If an overt act is taken to kill the child, the crime could be charged as first-degree murder.
It’s impossible for me to imagine anyone refusing to provide medical care in such a case, or acting to take such a vulnerable life. But sadly, it happens. Dr. Kermit Gosnell is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted him of three counts of murder in 2013 for killing children who survived abortions in Philadelphia.
Gosnell’s conduct shocked the country and I believe it’s important to make it a federal crime to refuse proper medical care to an abortion survivor. This is another step in the long and steady march to end abortion.
Our success over the last year began immediately after President Trump took office. On Jan. 24, the first full business day of his presidency, the President proved his heart is with the unborn. He signed an executive order reinstituting the “Mexico City” policy. That action prohibits foreign nongovernmental organizations from receiving federal funding if they perform or promote abortion services. The policy was instituted in 1984 by President Reagan. President Obama rescinded the rule in 2009.
In addition to Friday’s vote to save the lives of abortion survivors, we’ve had two more significant wins in the House in the last 12 months. The day after the President signed his executive order, the House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, establishing a uniform policy against taxpayer funding of abortions in all government programs. In October the House by passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, prohibiting abortions 20 weeks after conception.
We continue our work on other legislation, including two bills I am cosponsoring. The Life at Conception Act declares that the right to life is guaranteed by the Constitution and vested in each human being at all stages of life. The Conscience Protection Act bars discrimination or penalties for health care providers refusing to be involved in, or provide coverage for, abortion.
It is heartbreaking that America has permitted nearly 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. But those of us in the pro-life movement haven’t lost faith. We will never surrender in the fight to promote a culture of life.