Thank you Marjorie for that kind introduction. And thank you to Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America for your tireless work protecting children and mothers.
You have been such strong supporters since I first ran for Congress in 2014 and it is truly inspiring to look back on all of your hard work and recognize the historic achievements in moving the life movement forward.
It is truly an honor to be here with all of you today on the eve of the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
As Marjorie mentioned in her introduction, I have the distinct honor of representing New York’s 21st Congressional District, where I was proudly the youngest woman elected to Congress in 2014.
I was born and raised in Upstate New York - the cradle of the American Revolution. My district is where almost 250 years ago, brave patriots fought in the Battles of Saratoga to turn the tide of the Revolutionary War and defended the very pillars of our Constitutional Republic - LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There is a reason that life is first.
New York’s 21st Congressional District has a rich history of influential women leaders who fought not only for women’s suffrage, but also, importantly, for the pro-life movement. My district is the birthplace of suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and where the namesake of this great organization, Susan B. Anthony, lived and worked as a schoolteacher. I’m proud to have worked to protect and preserve both her home and schoolhouse as historical sites in my district, so that her legacy can continue to inspire the next generation of leaders.
And as the youngest woman in history to serve in top leadership in Congress for either party, I am proud to serve as Chair of the House Republican Conference where every week I lead House Republicans in communicating our conservative policy agenda to the American people.
But the most important and meaningful title I have in my life is “mom.” Almost two years ago, my husband Matt and I were blessed with our beautiful baby boy, Sam. And as every parent will tell you, our world changed forever and we simply cannot imagine life without him.
It is as Sam’s mom and the newest mom in Congress that I know that there is nothing more extraordinary than the miracle of life.
Hearing Sam’s heartbeat, feeling his first flutters and kicks, and awaiting his healthy cry after delivery are etched in my heart forever.
This year’s anniversary of Dobbs is a moment to embrace how far we have come in this movement to protect the sanctity of life. It is also an historic opportunity to continue to strengthen the culture of life in America as we look to the future.
For 50 years there have been despicable and violent attacks on life, many of the worst happening in the last year alone.
Yet we were steadfast in standing up and providing a voice for the voiceless and the most vulnerable, the unborn who cannot speak for themselves.
Since Roe was overturned and the Supreme Court restored the correct interpretation of our Constitution, 25 states have life-saving laws on the books. Common sense policies like parental consent laws, limits on late-term abortion, and informed consent provisions that were previously tossed aside by radical activist judges are now protected and enshrined. These efforts have protected the lives of an estimated 181,000 children.
Sadly, many Americans took the opposite approach last year and some of the worst aspects of humanity were on display. There was an unprecedented leak at the Supreme Court meant to intimidate and obstruct the justices, jeopardizing the independence of our political system and severely damaging the reputation of the Court.
Extremists broke the law and picketed the homes of the justices, plotted to assassinate Justice Kavanaugh, and firebombed scores of pro-life pregnancy help centers and vandalized churches that provide support to women, babies, and families.
Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made these incidents worse by slow-walking security protections for justices and refusing to denounce such heinous attacks.
Pro-life advocates were beaten by radicals in the streets, illegally targeted by President Biden’s FBI, and arrested in their homes with their children present for peacefully protesting and standing for life.
We saw the loyal stenographers for the Far Left in the mainstream media promote division and discord, even defending and making excuses for the criminal actions of the extreme pro-abortion activists.
This debate is certainly intense, heartfelt, and deeply personal on all sides. I am so proud that the vast majority of Americans involved in the conversation continue to conduct themselves in a respectful, meaningful manner that advances the dialogue. They have spoken to their neighbors, organized in churches and community groups, donated to charities, and supported state and federal legislation. For nearly 50 years under Roe v. Wade, it was this fundamental American tenet of speech and debate that was silenced and sidelined.
We should embrace this debate. It provides a moment to rise to the new challenges the life movement faces. It also holds the promise of new and better policies that protect the unborn, encourage and support women, and expect more from fathers. It allows us to argue and win the fact that the right to life is the foundational issue of human rights.
As our Founders brilliantly proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, each of us is endowed with the right to life by our Creator. Without this right, no other right has any meaning, and because of that, this debate today is a primary question of public policy for state, local, and yes, federal policymakers.
It was Roe v. Wade, sweeping away the protective laws of all 50 states – laws both liberal and conservative, each of them enacted by the people’s elected representatives – that deviated from a course that had been progressing, legally and medically, toward enhancement of the rights of the unborn.
Even the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflected that “Roe v. Wade…invited no dialogue with legislators. Instead, it seemed entirely to remove the ball from the legislators’ court.”
If you listen to the radical Far Left, common sense state laws are new and extreme, the invention of religious extremists, opponents of women’s rights, and antagonists of modern health care.
The exact opposite is true. Pro-life advocates are not extremists, we are not anti-women, and terminating the life of an unborn child is not healthcare.
Our pro-life convictions are sewn into the fabric of America.
Just look to Henry Hyde, the towering advocate for life whose federal funding amendments have saved, according to the best data available, the lives of more than 2.5 million of our fellow Americans.
Speaking at the University of Notre Dame, Hyde said:
“When the great wave of Catholic immigration to America occurred in the nineteenth century, Catholics didn't import pro-life attitudes. These were already here...This was the consensus, not only of the United States, but also of all civilized people. Abortion was wrong. The Supreme Court didn't express a new consensus in 1973; it attacked the consensus that already existed.”
That consensus was forged by scientific developments regarding the unborn and the action of the newly founded medical societies like the American Medical Association in 1847. Modern medicine provides further proof that unborn children are already amazingly complex human beings. At six weeks, a baby’s heart beats approximately 98 beats per minute. By week 10, a baby has arms, fingers, and toes, and can sigh and stretch. At 12 weeks, a baby’s brain is creating 250,000 neurons a minute, developing pathways and connections that survive well into adulthood. At 15 weeks, we know an unborn child feels and responds to pain. And, at as little as 22 weeks, science tells us that a child can survive outside the womb.
This is a medical miracle. No one speaks more eloquently on this fact than parents of premature babies blessed with a child coming into their lives a little earlier than expected. Sadly, we also see the pain and suffering when women who experience a miscarriage courageously talk about the loss of life they will mourn forever.
Today, pro-abortion advocates ignore this consensus and want to go far further than just enshrining Roe, putting forward the most radical abortion on demand paid for by the taxpayers, up until and after birth.
Within the past month, Governors in two states have actually vetoed bills that would have safeguarded the lives of children born alive after attempted abortions.
In the 118th Congress, House Republicans proudly passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, providing health care for babies who survive abortion procedures. Yet, 210 House Democrats alarmingly voted against this. The extreme Democrat position of today is to oppose protecting children who are born alive, refuse to provide access to any medical care, and leave babies to die after their first miraculous breaths outside the womb.
Just last year, House Democrat leadership and President Biden refused to condemn political attacks against crisis pregnancy centers, churches, and pro-life organizations by Far-Left activists. These facilities were set ablaze, defaced, and vandalized.
It’s reported that “as of early June 2023, there have been at least 87 attacks on pregnancy resource centers and 165 attacks on Catholic churches since the May 2022 Dobbs leak.”
In the Democrat Party, the silence was deafening. Since President Biden and Democrats failed to condemn this violence, House Republicans passed a resolution in support of crisis pregnancy centers and rightfully condemned these political attacks and vandalism. It is telling that 209 House Democrats voted against this resolution.
[CLIP 6] The reality is that it’s Republicans and the life movement who represent the consensus and it is the Democrats who are the radicals, out-of-touch with the vast majority of the American people.
The majority of the American people believe a baby born alive should be provided necessary healthcare. The majority of the American people condemn violent attacks on crisis pregnancy centers.
While those in the media want to portray Americans as viscerally divided on the issue, I believe there is far more consensus than the media would like to admit.
A Harvard-Harris national poll found 72% of voters support limiting abortions at 15 weeks, including 75% of women, 70% of Independents and 60% of Democrats. The vast majority of Americans oppose late term abortion.
60% of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
91% of Americans support pregnancy centers and the vital material, medical and educational support to mothers they offer both during their pregnancy and after their baby is born.
58% of Americans say that healthcare professionals should not be required to perform abortions if they have moral objections.
It was not so long ago that even the Democrat Party platform stated abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare” and now “rare” is never uttered.
It is Democrats in Congress and in state governments, along with the Biden Administration, who are wildly out-of-step with the values of the American people. Less than 10% of voters support the position of today’s radical Democrat Party that there should be no limits on abortion.
Given this very clear consensus, we have an opportunity to turn our attention to enacting a federal law that protects an unborn child when he or she can feel pain. This is why I have been a proud co-sponsor of the Pain-Capable bill, since I was sworn into office.
While I strongly support ensuring robust pro-life riders remain intact and we protect the whole Hyde Family of amendments in our appropriations process, we should turn our attention to a permanent solution and ensure taxpayer dollars never support abortions.
At the same time, standing for life goes far beyond a child’s birth. The life movement deeply understands that we must support and lift up mothers and families.
And it is why the life movement must continue to advocate for the value and dignity of all Americans throughout their lives, and we can do that by focusing on the evident needs of new mothers and fathers.
I have been a strong supporter of the Care for Her Act, legislation establishing a commitment to care for expecting mothers and their unborn children through expanding the Child Tax Credit, providing state and federal resources, distributing grants for housing, job training, and more.
I was also proud to vote for the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act to provide working mothers the access and accommodations they need while breastfeeding when they return to work, and I led the effort to hold the Biden FDA accountable and ensure new parents have access to baby formula amidst a nationwide shortage.
Many working parents within my district have told me that they struggle to find childcare options that make sense for their family. That’s why I strongly support the After Hours Child Care Act, which would expand the traditional guidelines of federally-funded daycare to include evening care, and I introduced the Family Child Care Network Act to make it easier for family child care providers and home based care to operate, especially in rural communities where there are limited child care options.
As a young mother in Congress, I am very conscientious of the importance of role models. My husband Matt and I have been humbled by the overwhelming number of families and especially new or soon-to-be parents who have reached out to us as examples of hardworking professionals and dedicated parents. I am fortunate myself to have Cathy McMorris Rodgers as a mentor and role model to me in Congress. Cathy gave birth three times while serving in the House and I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to serve in top leadership as a young mother were it not for Cathy’s example.
House Republicans are excited that later this year our congressional family is growing when we welcome three new babies with Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Max Miller of Ohio, and Anna Paulina Luna of Florida all welcoming their first child. Everything we work toward and fight for each day is for the next generation to have LIFE and opportunity.
I truly believe that the Supreme Court entrusted all of us with the responsibility of taking an important and deeply personal issue and building consensus to provide every child, mother, family, and especially the unborn this truly precious and sacred opportunity at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
While the media and the Far Left want to make this about sowing division and scoring political points, I believe that the pro-life movement can and will continue to work to save more lives and support women and families.
Protecting life and defending the unborn are not extreme positions, they are fundamental to human rights and the American Dream.
And I know the life movement will always remember our moral compass and be worthy of this fight.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.
God bless you, God bless the miracle of life, and God bless the United States of America.