We have an enduring responsibility

Published 3:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

Last week marked 44 years since the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand in the United States. While many abortion activists celebrate this anniversary, it represents a particularly somber occasion for those of us who advocate for life.

Since that 1973 ruling, more than 58 million unborn children in this country have had their lives ended by abortion. It’s no secret that I’m unapologetically pro-life and that I’m particularly passionate about this issue. During my time in Congress I have prioritized fighting on behalf of the unborn. I believe building a culture that truly values life requires us to assign better protections for unborn children under the law.

While not everyone shares my beliefs on certain policies surrounding the rights of unborn children, a significant majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle agree on one basic standard: No taxpayer dollars should ever be used to fund, facilitate, or subsidize abortions. There is simply no place for abortion in the federal budget.

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Last week in the House, we appealed to this common ground and passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which prohibits once and for all federal tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions. This bill extends a longstanding provision of appropriations titles called the Hyde Amendment that forbids the use of federal dollars to fund abortion through Obamacare insurance policies and certain government programs like Medicaid.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I can tell you how indispensable the Hyde Amendment has been to stopping funding for abortion through our government health care agencies. Now the House has taken action to apply that same, longstanding provision to the entire federal government – and to make it permannt.

For the last several years, this legislation and other pro-life efforts in the House have met uphill battles that conservatives have ultimately lost. The abortion industry’s fierce allies among Senate Democrats and within the Obama Administration made sure that many worthy, hard-fought pro-life initiatives met the same unfortunate fate. With a unified Republican government now seated, I believe our prospects have changed for the better.

On just the second day of his presidency last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order reinstating former President Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy, blocking federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that provide or promote abortions. Days later, Vice President Mike Pence became the first vice president in history to speak at the March for Life in Washington, a massive annual gathering of pro-life advocates in our nation’s capital. For the pro-life community, these are welcome signs that the Trump-Pence Administration will be a powerful ally in the fight to increase protections for the unborn

As a pro-life Member of Congress, I consider it my enduring responsibility to defend the unborn. There are many policy improvements I would like to pursue: reasonable limits on abortions after five months of pregnancy, stopping the shell game of public health funding at Planned Parenthood, and improving access to adoption services, just to name a few. Certainly a great place to start is prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion once and for all.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Riley and their two children.