Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) spoke before the House Committee on Rules in opposition to H.R. 3755, the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act.

Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:

“‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’

“I strongly oppose the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act. It’s not the will of the people.

“Since 1973, and the Roe v. Wade decision, it didn’t settle the question of abortion. It continues in each of our hearts, across states and across our country.

“Today is not about the Texas law. Today is a debate in front of this Congress — the men and women who serve as representatives from across this country — on what might be the most extreme piece of legislation ever.

“It is unprecedented. It’s hard to grasp what it would mean if this were the law of the land. Abortion for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, until birth.

“In the United States of America, we celebrate freedom. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever a person decides to do. We are free to do good and not harm. We are free to serve and to love one another.

“The Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act overrides pro-life laws and prohibits states from enacting legislation that protects unborn children.

“It removes commonsense protections for women and children like ensuring parental involvement for minors and protecting women from coercion.

“It allows for discriminatory abortions on the basis of a baby’s sex, race, and disability.

“That includes laws that protect babies with Down syndrome.”

CATHY’S STORY

“As a pro-life woman, I want to share with you my story.

“I’ve never had an abortion but I gave 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 never 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 to ever happen to me.

“It’s the best part of my life.”

ABOUT DOWN SYNDROME

“We have two daughters and a son.

“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.

“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 learned about Dr. Jerome Lejeune.

“He was pro-life and first discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome in 1958, an extra chromosome 21.

“It was only a few years earlier they identified that people have 23 pairs of chromosomes.

“Around 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.

“The results of his research should be used to advance cures. His mission was to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.

“But unfortunately today and against the mission of the late Dr. Lejuene, the results of his research are often used to identify chromosomal abnormalities as early as possible, with the aim of terminating a pregnancy.

“My hope is that we learn, that we open our hearts to the science, to the research, and technology and come to reject abortion because it is inhuman.

“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.

“Because of technology today we can see a baby develop day-by-day in the womb. Doctors perform prenatal surgeries to save lives.”

LIVES WORTH LIVING

“I think about Frank Stevens, who Tom Cole invited to testify before Congress.

“Frank told the world, ‘I’m a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living.’

“For anyone who is not convinced and plans to overturn laws that protect people with Down syndrome, I invite you to meet my son, Cole, and get to know people like Frank.

“I understand the uncertainty and the fear when doctors give the long list of challenges and chances for heartache.

“But Cole’s life couldn’t be further from what we were told. He brings my family an immense amount of joy and love.

“I know there’s an army of parents with children with Down syndrome who say the same about their children.”

THEIR LIVES ARE WORTH LIVING

“For those of us who stand for life, we must do a better job of listening and loving.

“Fear and despair leads to more arguments, anger, discord, and more insecurity.

“I believe that is why abortion is the most divisive issue in America today.

“It pierces every heart. It may be the sharpest, deepest, soul-searching question before us as a nation, and it is intensely personal.

“People have strongly held beliefs and stories and both sides are guilty of dismissing one another. Sometimes it feels like we aren’t even speaking the same language.

“I remember though when we all stood up and applauded Frank Stevens for his powerful testimony.

“I ask that today we do the same, follow our hearts, and stand up for ALL children.

“Their lives are worth living.

“Stop the Abortion on Demand until Birth Act and uphold the value and the dignity, the potential of every person’s life.”

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