Giving a voice to the voiceless
Posted on February 6, 2018 19:59 pm CST
By Congressman Billy Long,
In 1971, Ted Kennedy said, “Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.” I was a senior in high school when Roe v. Wade was decided. In 1973, I could not fathom how it could possibly be legal to kill an innocent unborn child, and today nothing has altered my thinking.
Each year, 19 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion. That’s almost one in five. What’s even worse is that the U.S. is one of seven countries that still performs abortions after 20 weeks, and according to numerous research, by this point the babies can feel pain. That’s unacceptable. Individuals who describe themselves as “pro-choice” would like you and I to think that a majority of Americans are in favor of these policies and that current law is actually good for women. That’s not the case. According to a Marist-Knights of Columbus poll, 56 percent of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong. More than 50 percent of Americans believe that abortion harms women long term. Those are the facts.
For people like myself, it’s nice to finally have a pro-life ally in the White House. During President Trump’s first year in office, he has championed a variety of pro-life legislation and actions. For example, Trump declared Jan. 22, 2018, the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day. He has appointed pro-life judges and stopped federal tax dollars from funding abortions overseas. Last April, Trump signed H.J. Res. 43 into law, which overturned President Obama’s midnight rule that prevented states from defunding federally-funded family planning programs. Within days of taking office, Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which prevents billions of dollars in foreign aid from funding abortions abroad. I applauded the president’s actions. I said it back then and I’ll say it again: no state or taxpayer should be forced to fund health care services that perform abortions. The American people shouldn’t have to worry about their tax dollars funding something they morally oppose, both in the U.S. and abroad.
As a strong pro-life advocate, I have continued to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Just this last year, I voted in favor of H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion. This bill would make the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion, permanent. H.R. 7 also prevents individuals who have health insurance through the exchanges created by Obamacare from obtaining health insurance plans that cover abortions. Last October I voted in favor of H.R. 36, the Pain-Cable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks. Both of these bills passed the House of Representatives. Just recently, I was the proud co-sponsor of H.R. 4844, the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act and H.R. 4712, the Born-Alive Survivors Protection. H.R. 4712 would protect babies who are born alive after an attempted abortion by requiring medical professionals to give them the same care they would any other baby. This bill would also allow an individual to be charged with murder for knowingly killing an unborn child. H.R. 4844 aims to give more information to women seeking an abortion. This bill also requires that a woman seeking an abortion get an ultrasound before deciding she wants an abortion and requires the abortion provider to explain the ultrasound. Failure to do so would result in a $100,000 fine. Each one of these bills would work to strengthen protections for the unborn.
This January, the Missouri Life Caravan came to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life, and I had the privilege of talking with them about my commitment to protecting the unborn. After my remarks, I had the opportunity to sit and listen to them talk about their work and efforts to continue the fight. These pro-life warriors, along with the hundreds of others I have met, remind me that the fight for life isn’t over and there is still much more work to be done. I look forward to working with these individuals to give voices to the voiceless.