46 years ago this month, the Supreme Court of the United States offered its infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand in this country. While many abortion activists celebrate this anniversary as a victory for so-called “women’s health,” it represents a very somber occasion for those of us who advocate for life at all stages.
Since that 1973 ruling, more than 60 million unborn children have had their lives ended by abortion. To say this is a tragedy is an understatement. I don’t think it’s any secret that I am unapologetically pro-life. I believe life begins at conception and that our laws and policies should protect it.
Of course, not everyone shares my convictions about life or the rights of unborn children, but still, our pro-life momentum is strong – especially around this time each year. On Friday, January 18, thousands of Americans gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to participate in this year’s March for Life. As you may know, this is an annual event where the pro-life community comes together to advocate for the lives and rights of unborn children.
I had the opportunity to speak on the House floor to offer encouragement and thanks to participants of this year’s march. I’m truly grateful for the individuals who made the trip to Washington out of dedication to what I believe is a deeply worthy cause.
When Republicans held the majority in both the House and the Senate during the 115th Congress, we made great progress in our pro-life efforts. In the House, we passed a number of important bills to protect the unborn, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks based on the medical evidence that babies can feel pain at this point.
We also passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to require that medical care be given to any child who survives an attempted abortion and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which makes the Hyde Amendment permanent and government-wide. If you’re not familiar, the Hyde Amendment is a longstanding measure directing that no taxpayer dollars be used to perform abortions.
During the Obama Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that prevented states from redirecting Title X dollars away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. In the 115th Congress, we passed H.J. Res. 43, which I proudly cosponsored, to overturn this rule. President Trump signed the measure into law in April of 2017.
Of course, now that Democrats gained the majority in the House, our pro-life efforts will likely face significant challenges. So, I recently joined 168 of my House colleagues in sending a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to reject any legislation that would weaken our existing pro-life policies. For some background, Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both promised, in writing, to veto any legislation that weakened pro-life laws during their presidencies. I believe this type of commitment is a great way for President Trump to underscore his dedication to the pro-life cause, and I am eager to see him make this promise.
Regardless, as I said during my most recent speech on the House floor, my commitment to the people I represent and to all pro-life Americans is that I will continue to use this platform I have been given in Congress to be a vocal advocate for the unborn. This is a very important responsibility, and it’s one I do not take lightly. We’ve made some real progress, but a lot of work remains, and I won’t stop fighting until our laws and policies protect life at every stage.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.