Date: January 22, 2016

By: Bob Goodlatte

Life – it’s a gift that with every new breath many of us take for granted. Life is a right that I am proud to stand in strong support of and one that must be protected. This fundamental human right to be born into the world is what thousands of Americans gather to honor each January on the National Mall in snow, rain, bitter cold, or sunshine. The date of the annual March for Life, January 22, is significant. It marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in the infamous case of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.  

We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. As a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, I have strongly supported efforts by Congress to advance legislation aimed at protecting life. I was proud to vote in the House of Representatives in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation bans abortions, with limited exceptions, in the United States after 20 weeks post conception – the point at which scientific evidence shows the unborn can experience great suffering. 

However stark Americans’ differences of opinion can be on the matter of abortion, generally there has been long, bipartisan agreement that federal taxpayer funds should not be used to fund this practice. As part of the House of Representatives’ work to protect the sanctity of life, we also passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This vital piece of legislation permanently frees taxpayers from subsidizing elective abortion or insurance coverage that includes abortion. 

I have also led the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the alleged atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood that came to light last year, and this investigation into Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices continues today. Another bill passed by the House to protect life, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, severely penalizes abortion practitioners who violate federal law by killing innocent children who are born during failed abortion procedures. This bill directly addresses concerns raised throughout our Planned Parenthood investigation and sends a strong message that there are real consequences for those who would kill or abandon children after they are outside a mother’s womb. 

As thousands of people from across the country come to Washington to honor life at the annual March for Life, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the positive impacts these bills will have when enacted into law. As a country, we must renew our commitment to protecting life and encouraging a society that supports it. As a father and a grandfather, I know that the gift of life is one that must be fiercely protected, and I will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn. I stand in solidarity with those who march.

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