Quick, quick - what happened in 1973? I graduated high school, of course. It also happened to be the year that the Supreme Court determined that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to have an abortion. As a high school senior, I was perplexed that it was suddenly perfectly acceptable to stop the beating heart of an innocent unborn child. Last week, tens of thousands of people traveled to our nation’s capital to participate in the annual March for Life; I was especially encouraged to see the huge number of young people that turned out to show their support to protect the innocent unborn. United in their cause to fight for the unborn, pro-life advocates gathered on the National Mall where, for the first time in U.S. history, a sitting president addressed the crowd, a stark contrast from President Obama becoming the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood a few years ago. In his speech, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to protecting Americans at all stages of life, and I am proud to stand with him in his effort to protect and preserve the rights of the unborn.
On the 47th Anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade ruling, March for Life participants gathered outside of the Supreme Court to speak up for the millions of lives lost as a result of that landmark decision. Not only did this ruling completely ignore the rights of the unborn child, but it created the perfect opportunity for states to exploit the vague terms in order to promote their own anti-life agendas. Recently, New York passed a law allowing women to receive third-trimester abortions; Virginia took it one step further, proposing a law that would allow infants to be aborted until the moment of birth. These policies extend well beyond the health of the mother and teeter dangerously on the brink of infanticide. It is unfathomable that states could blatantly disregard the rights of the unborn under the guise that it is medically necessary.
From 2007-2016, statistics show that we have seen abortion rates decrease by 24 and 26 percent respectively. Additionally, the rate of teen pregnancy—the majority of which are unplanned—has steadily decreased over the last quarter-century, contributing to the lowest rates of abortions among teens since it was legalized. While this is encouraging, there is still much to be done in terms of fighting for the rights of the unborn. President Trump understands the importance of protecting Americans at all stages of life, which is why he chose to break from tradition and address this movement last week. During his address, the president assured the crowd that he is working to dispel the notion that abortion is a fundamental human right, and twenty-four nations have joined him in this cause. The president recognizes that as long as abortions are legal, the United States will remain one of only seven countries that permit elective abortions after twenty weeks (along with China, North Korea, and Vietnam). This is something that needs to change, and I fully support the President in his efforts to do so.
As states continue to pass laws that allow late-term abortions, it is more critical than ever that we pass laws on the federal level to protect the unborn from suffering such a cruel fate. I acknowledge that abortion is a deeply personal issue; however, I personally believe that life begins at conception and will continue to vote my conscience on abortion-related issues. As long as I serve Missouri’s Seventh Congressional District, I will continue to fight legislative measures that allow taxpayer dollars to fund abortions and will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect the rights of the unborn. I am proud to be pro-life, and I am proud to have a president who is unafraid to be the voice for life at its most vulnerable stage.
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