As a mother, a grandmother, and a nurse for more than 40 years, I know that there is no more precious gift than the gift of life.
Tragically, over the past 41 years since the Supreme Court’s devastating decision in Roe v. Wade, an estimated 57 million unborn children have been denied this fundamental human right.
This week, Americans across the country will commemorate this somber anniversary by partaking in prayer vigils, rallies, and marches to show support for the sanctity of human life.
While we have a long way to go to protect our children’s right to be born, there are encouraging trends across our country.
For example, last year I introduced the Health Care Conscience Rights Act—legislation to protect the religious freedom of health care providers who refuse to perform abortions and offering full exemption from the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate, which requires coverage for abortion inducing drugs.
It has been an uphill battle, but over time our legislation saw increasing bipartisan support. To date, we have garnered more than 190 cosponsors, including a handful of Democrats who have boldly stood down their own party leadership’s support of the big abortion industry.
Last November, our efforts saw an important victory when the Supreme Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s abortion mandate with the case of Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius. My pro-life colleagues and I will submit an amicus brief, urging the court to rule in favor of religious freedom by striking down this coercive law.
Our movement has also seen gains at the state level where, according to the New York Times, “22 states adopted 70 different [abortion] restrictions, including late-abortion bans, doctor and clinic regulations, limits on medication abortions and bans on insurance coverage” last year alone.
This momentum was mirrored in Congress when my House colleagues and I successfully passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, bipartisan legislation would ban late-term abortions after twenty weeks based off sound scientific evidence which tells us that unborn children by 20 weeks into pregnancy can feel pain and that late-term abortions pose severe health risks for the mother.
The American public has shown overwhelming support for measures like this as well, with one Gallup poll showing that as many as 80 percent of Americans believe late-term abortions should be illegal.
Furthermore, the heinous crimes committed by Kermitt Gosnell – the Philadelphia abortion “doctor” -- were a stark reminder of the dangers of abortion.
While Gosnell’s actions were especially egregious, sadly abortion clinics exist across the country that fail to protect women’s health by neglecting to follow the most basic health standards.
By shedding light on the true nature of the abortion industry in our country and the harm and dangers to women, we can continue to push public opinion in favor of protecting human life.
As those of us in the pro-life community rally to make our voices heard this week, we should also pause to take stock of where we have been successful.
As Americans open their eyes to the barbaric truths of abortion and as medical science continues to make advances in prenatal care, I am confident that we will prevail in our efforts to bring this decades-long injustice to an end.
Republican Diane Black represents Tennessee's 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.