Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered remarks in this week’s markup defending the Hyde Amendment and upholding the dignity of all life.
Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:
THE POLITICS OF ABORTION
“Perhaps abortion is the most divisive issues in America today. It’s one that drives passion and politics.
“Should the government be involved? What about the church? What is my personal conviction? What is my political position? People have strongly held beliefs and stories.
“The question before this committee today is whether taxpayer money should be used to fund abortions.
“We know that the vast majority of Americans believe taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund abortions or subsidize insurance plans that cover abortions.”
“As a pro-life woman, I want to share with you my story.
“I’ve never had an abortion but I have thought in my younger years of what I would do if I found myself pregnant and alone.
“It would have been a desperate situation.
“I can imagine an abortion seeming like an easy solution.
“It breaks my heart to think anyone would consider abortion as their only option or the best option.
“Growing up, I was not much of a baby person. I was 35 and single when I was elected to Congress. I didn’t know if becoming a mom would happen for me.
“Today, I can testify that bringing a new life into the world was the most amazing thing.
“Being a mom to three beautiful children is the best part of life.
“Our oldest, Cole, now 14, was born with an extra 21st chromosome.
“It’s the most common chromosomal abnormality, Down syndrome.
“In this debate over abortion, Down syndrome has been at the forefront.
“Many of my colleagues have heard our friend Frank Stephens tell the world, ‘I’m a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living.’
“When Cole was first born, I wanted to change the name of Down syndrome wondering who came up with that name. Then, I read Dr. John Landon Down’s biography.
“He was an extraordinary individual who in the mid-1850s first identified the common characteristics that we know today as Down Syndrome.
“Maybe we should call it, Dr. John Down Syndrome.
“He went on to build a home and provide support for people who were often cast aside from society.
“I also want to share the story of Dr. Jerome Lejeune He was pro-life and first discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome in 1958, an extra 21st chromosome.
“It was only a few years earlier they identified that people have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
“Near the same time, western countries were beginning to draft pro-abortion laws.
“Dr. Lejeune has said himself that because he’s pro-life, he was passed up for a Nobel Prize even though his research was the first to unlock the mysteries of the 46 chromosomes and he helped advance new cures and discoveries.
“Today, the results of his research are often used to identify chromosomal abnormalities and unfortunately is used many times to identify that early and terminate a pregnancy.
“Nearly a decade before Dr. Lejeune’s discovery, a neurologist shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the lobotomy.
“The procedure was controversial for its initial use and is now rejected as an inhumane form of treatment for mental disorders.”
BEING WARRIORS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY
“We learned from the science, research, and technology.
“My hope is that learn again and reject abortion because it is inhumane.
“As Pope Francis calls it, we have adopted a ‘throwaway’ culture for the weak, disabled, and disposable.
“It’s not science. It’s not the latest research. And because of technology today you can see the baby develop day-by-day in the womb and doctors perform prenatal surgeries.
“For those of us who stand for life, we must do a better job of loving. I can only imagine the fear and despair of an unwanted pregnancy.
“My challenge before us all is to be warriors of human dignity and win the future.
“Let’s focus on the very foundation of our laws – that they MUST uphold the value and potential of every person’s life.
“I urge my colleagues to join me and save the Hyde Amendment.”