I spent 31 years as a practicing OB-GYN. Pregnancy and birth was my life’s work, and I could not more strongly support the sanctity of life. I saw firsthand the precious and beautiful miracle of life, which begins at conception.
Every year I am pleased to see the commitment of those protecting life, and this year is no different. Whether it is Members of Congress fighting to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act or the annual March for Life gathering in Washington, D.C., the pro-life movement is as strong as ever.
As a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, I will continue promoting pro-life gains from the last few years and push for new initiatives to further our efforts.
President Trump is the most pro-life president our country has ever had, and under his leadership we saw great progress enacting positive pro-life reforms. One of last year’s biggest wins was preventing Title X family planning funding from being used to refer patients for, or to conduct, abortions except in life-saving circumstances – as it was before the Clinton administration.
While, I support using taxpayer funds for women’s health care, abortion is not health care. In 2018, I wrote to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, along with 152 of my colleagues, urging him to create a clear distinction between family planning centers and abortion centers, so no Title X funds would be used for abortions.
Thankfully, last year HHS released the final rule prohibiting organizations that perform and advocate for abortions from receiving Title X funds. Title X funds help around 4 million patients a year receive care, and this aid will now be redirected to organizations that only support the essential care and family planning services women need.
Coupled with that rule change, the Trump administration promoted a Conscience Protection Rule, preventing medical providers from being forced to perform procedures that violate their conscience or religious beliefs. Forcing health care professionals to choose between abiding or violating their sincerely-held beliefs is wrong.
This rule protects health care providers from discrimination if they choose to act according to their conscience. Americans enjoy a First Amendment freedom of religion, and the government forcing someone to act in a way that violates those beliefs is in direct opposition to the very foundation of our Constitution.
This is not about forcing a medical provider’s religious beliefs on anyone, this is about not forcing a medical provider to abandon their beliefs due to arbitrary government action. I am encouraged that the Trump administration is continuing to fight for this rule to go into effect by appealing two federal courts decisions striking this rule down, and I hope these efforts are successful.
One of the most sickening developments to me in recent memory is a push by some Democratic legislatures to repeal any limits on late-term abortions — in some cases going so far as to allow doctors to perform abortions on babies who have been born alive after failed abortions. Twenty-four states lack protections for born-alive abortion survivors. That’s why I’m working so hard to help build support for H.R. 962, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – of which I am an original cosponsor – to protect these babies across America.
This bill, introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), requires physicians to perform necessary medical care for children who survive an abortion and makes it a federal crime for those who do not provide that care. It is mind-boggling that House Democrat leaders refuse to bring this bill, to protect living babies, to the floor. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to fight for these children. On April 2, 2019, Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) filed a discharge petition to force floor consideration. If 218 Members of the House sign, then it will receive a vote. Protecting living babies should be something everyone can support. I remain hopeful one day this bill, or something similar, will become law.
This week, thousands of people from across the nation will be in Washington to stand up for the right to life, and it is an honor to support them. My heart and appreciation are with everyone marching and supporting life, and I wish all the marchers the best. I will continue to stand and fight along with every one of you.