Washington, D.C., January 16, 2014
Led by Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, 21 Republicans and a lone Democrat offered speeches commemorating the more than 55 million lives ended by abortion since 1973, urging Congress to pass stronger laws to protect the unborn, and calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Slamming what he described as the “infamous, reckless and inhumane abandonment of women and babies to abortionists” by the Supreme Court, Smith argued that abortion supporters who celebrate Roe v. Wade are celebrating “41 years of victims: dead babies, wounded women, shattered families.”
“Since 1973,” Smith said, “more than 56 million children have been killed by abortion – a staggering loss of children’s precious lives, a death toll that equates with the entire population of England.”
Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, called the years since Roe v. Wade the “Crimson Tragedy” and drew parallels between legalized abortion and slavery, genocide and other large-scale atrocities in America and around the world.
“It has now been 41 years since the tragedy called Roe v. Wade was first handed down,” Franks said. “Since then…the very foundation of our nation has been stained by the blood of almost 56 million of its own unborn children. Many of them cried and screamed as they died, but because it was amniotic fluid going over the vocal cords instead of air, we couldn’t hear them.”
“Historically, great intensity has surrounded debates over protecting the lives of those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves obscured in the shadows of humanity,” Franks said. “But it encourages me greatly that, in nearly all of those cases, the collective conscience of this nation eventually shifted, and when we focused on the humanity of the victim, and the inhumanity of what was being done to them, our hearts began to change.”
“I don’t know what happens when we finally wake up and see [abortion] for the tragic reality that it is,” Franks added. “I don’t know what changed our mind in all the other great genocides of the past, but it did happen, and that gives me great hope. Today in America we are finally considering the real question, and the real question is simply this: Does abortion take the life of a child? We’re finally beginning to realize as a nation that it does. And we’re finally beginning to realize that the brutal killing of innocent unborn children liberates no one.”
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, R-MN, commented that the number of souls lost to abortion is equal to 10 times the population of her state, and said the girth of that loss has created a “profound change” in the U.S. “We can’t lose 56 million innocent American lives and not be changed,” Bachmann said.
As a mother of five and a foster mother to 23 children, Bachmann added, “I weep and I mourn for women who’ve been lied to, women who were forced into undergoing this very violent procedure that for many people, altered their life forever.”
Rep. Smith urged his fellow legislators not to allow the passage of time to dull their consciences to the “unmitigated violence” of abortion. Rather, he said, the years since Roe v. Wade – marked by advances in prenatal imaging and widespread cultural fallout from abortion – should have made the “innate cruelty” of the procedure more obvious to everyone.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-NE, echoed Smith’s thoughts, telling his colleagues that while gruesome images and testimony publicized during the murder trial and conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell recently highlighted the brutality of abortion, advances in medical technology such as 3D ultrasounds “are providing a window into the delicate beauty of human life in the womb.”
Congressman Phil Roe, R-TN, who is an OB-GYN, also spoke about the “window to the unborn” that an ultrasound offers. “Professionally, as an obstetrician and gynecologist, I have delivered close to 5,000 babies, and I strongly support the sanctity of life,” Roe said. “Using technology like 3D ultrasound has given us a window to the unborn as a living, breathing, feeling human being. I’ve looked through that window with my own eyes thousands of times. I’ve seen human development occur at its earliest stages of a baby’s life, all the way through birth, which strengthens my conviction in the right to life.”
“Life is a precious miracle from God that does begin at conception,” Roe said. “It’s our responsibility, and a privilege, as legislators, to protect those who don’t have a voice.”
But Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, R-NC, said that as long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, there is only so much legislation can do to protect unborn human life. While Foxx praised pro-life legislators for fighting for bills that would ban federal funding of abortion clinics, bar abortionists from killing unborn babies who have developed the ability to feel pain, and provide conscience protections to pro-life medical professionals, she lamented the stranglehold Roe v. Wade has on put on meaningful pro-life reform and said, “more must be done.”
Foxx ultimately called on the Supreme Court to reverse its decision on Roe v. Wade, calling the ruling a “stain on our nation’s character.”
Congressman Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, the sole Democrat to speak in defense of the unborn Wednesday, also called on lawmakers to stop federal funding of abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood. He urged them to “look at what’s going on out there, outside the Capitol walls,” where many Americans are still standing strong against abortion, even four decades after the court decision that made it legal.
Next week at the annual March for Life, said Lipinski, “we will see hundreds of thousands of Americans come out here – so many young people coming out here – to show their support for life, and I want to thank them for taking the time, for making the effort to come out and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
Lipinski also praised those who work to defend life in their own hometowns by adopting children in need of homes and loving parents or contributing time and money to Crisis Pregnancy Centers that care for women in need and their unplanned babies. “Many people thought 41 years ago with Roe v. Wade that it was over, that the decision had been made and that there would be abortion-on-demand here in the United States forever,” Lipinski said. But 41 years later, he said, “there’s a vibrant pro-life movement still going on and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of that movement.”