A few weeks ago, my family was blessed with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl, our 10th grandchild. If you’ve ever held a newborn, so defenseless and completely dependent on you, you’ll understand why the idea that some people advocate for the murder of little babies is unconscionable.
As a father and grandfather, I believe life is precious. Too often, our society takes this gift for granted. Our government has an important responsibility to protect “the unalienable right to life” and fight on behalf of the unborn, who do not yet have a voice of their own. This week, I helped lead concrete congressional efforts to protect life.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 7), which I co-sponsored and advocated for during formal House debate. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited taxpayer funding for abortion and is estimated to have saved 2 million lives. However, Obamacare ignores the Hyde Amendment and uses your tax dollars to subsidize insurance policies which offer abortion services. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act will make the Hyde Amendment government-wide policy and ensure future federal programs don’t support abortion.
On Friday, I participated in the annual March for Life, attracting hundreds of thousands of people. Every year, I find it so inspiring to meet and speak with passionate supporters of the pro-life movement from North Carolina and around the world.
This year’s March for Life had a new sense of optimism as we now have an ally in the Oval Office. President Trump took steps on his first day in office to protect life by reimplementing and expanding President Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy,” which prohibits recipients of U.S. foreign aid from performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning.
But we still have much work to do. To cement our priorities for this Congress, I wrote a letter to President Trump, co-signed by nearly 150 members of Congress, outlining how we intend to work with President Trump to protect life.
Since Roe v. Wade, nearly 60 million precious babies have been killed through abortion — a number that equates to the entire population of England. To ensure our judicial branch recognizes protections for unborn Americans, we look forward to supporting President Trump’s nomination of pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
We also share President Trump’s commitment to enacting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide. Children suffer excruciating pain from dismemberment abortions, in which a child is literally pulled apart piece by piece. While many children born prematurely are provided state of the art neo-natal intensive care, other children at the exact same stage of development are ripped apart in the sixth, seventh, eighth and even ninth month of pregnancy. Recognizing the medical evidence that unborn children feel pain, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would establish affirmative protections for these children before birth.
Finally, we look forward to ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. This organization has killed more than 7 million innocent babies, about 320,000 children per year, while receiving roughly $500 million in annual taxpayer funding. Last year, Congress passed a budget to shift taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood to the much larger network of community health centers, which provide a broader range of preventive health care services to women and outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by a margin of 20 to 1. President Obama vetoed this bill, but we look forward to passing similar legislation for President Trump to sign into law.
With Republicans in control of the House, Senate, and White House, now is a critical moment to advance and strengthen the right to life supported by millions of Americans. As your member of Congress and a pro-life advocate, I will always work for the preservation and value of every human life.
Robert Pittenger represents the 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes all of Robeson County.