INCREASING THE STATUTORY LIMIT ON THE PUBLIC DEBT -- (Senate - January 22, 2010)
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Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from North Dakota. I will miss his voice around here. He and I both are leaving this body at the end of this year, and I have appreciated the chance to serve with him and work on many different issues of significance and concern for the country. He has always had a strong voice, done an excellent job in representing his constituency and his point of view, and I will miss serving with him.
Mr. President, right now, at this very minute, hundreds of thousands of people are amassing in this town for the 37th annual Right to Life March--hundreds of thousands. It will be a crowd where 80 percent will be under the age of 25. It is a young movement. It is a movement that believes in human dignity and that life begins at conception and goes to natural death. They are energized, motivated. They are here and they need to be heard. They stand to be a voice for the voiceless; to stand for a cause they believe in, that they believe is right, and I believe they are right. I believe they are winning this cause.
In 1973, the Supreme Court banned most impediments to having an abortion in the United States. Since that tragic decision, many experts estimate that between 40 and 50 million--40 to 50 million--abortions have happened in the United States. It is a number that plagues our government and defies our constitution.
This tragedy is why we continue to call for the end of abortion in the United States. Today, in memory of the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we want to talk about how the pro-life movement should be credited for changing America's attitude on the issue of abortion. The President's campaign theme in 2008 on change is also relevant to the pro-life movement, which has effectively changed millions of hearts and minds by challenging the central tenets of the flawed Roe decision.
The Roe decision, which took State law and said State laws can no longer cover the issue of abortion and federalized the whole issue, has been the centerpiece issue of this whole debate, saying this should be an issue decided at the State level. These protestors are here en masse to again call for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. The decision has been proven to be antithetical to individual liberties and to human dignity.
There will be young people at the march who have learned they have lost siblings because of abortion. They will never know a younger brother, an older sister, and they are profoundly saddened by such a loss. There will be women at the march for life who have had abortions and now regret making that decision; they are still grieving for their lost children, and they will say that which is politically incorrect: Abortion hurts women. The number of women who have joined this ``Silent No More Campaign'' represents a fundamental change in attitudes regarding the controversy of the issue of abortion.
I hope Congress will listen to those who mourn and advocate for their government to do something to right this wrong. If they do listen, they will notice that the country is changing in several significant ways. The pro-life movement has transcended beyond my generation into a new movement that is young, passionate, energetic, creative, and resilient. President Obama said during his campaign last year:
A new generation inspires an old generation, and that is how change happens in America. It doesn't just happen in elections and campaigns. We know that young people everywhere are imagining something different than what is.
I believe that this younger generation is inspiring an older generation. Today, there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans--many of them young people, who believe in defending innocent human life--who will march across the National Mall for real change.
We found out earlier this week, with the upset victory by Scott Brown in Massachusetts--one of the bluest of blue States--that politicians have to respect the voters on the issues they care about. The American people are dismayed at our government's radical approach to promoting abortion. The American people don't want government-run health care that includes abortion mandates and Federal subsidies for abortion. They don't want foreign aid going abroad to promote abortion. They don't want to relax commonsense regulations that are proven to reduce the incidence of abortion.
Even for those who are pro-choice, the mantra around here for some period of time was to have abortion be safe, legal, and rare. The policies I just listed are all policies that would expand abortion. The last time the Federal Government paid for elective abortions, we paid for nearly 300,000 a year--a shocking number and certainly not a rarity.
People are realizing that abortion had promised liberty but instead has brought death. Doubters have turned into believers and people are waking up to the reality and the truth about abortion. Our movement is truly changing hearts and minds.
Although it is true the pro-life movement saw many setbacks this past year, we also have much to be thankful for and hopeful for in the future. A Gallup poll earlier this year--for the first time since Gallop started asking this question in 1995--showed our country to be a pro-life majority country. This year, 51 percent of Americans called themselves pro-life on the issue of abortion and 42 percent pro-choice.
In 1995, 56 percent of Americans called themselves pro-choice, and in 2008 that number was 50 percent. I see our movement changing, striving to continue getting a little better each day.
The movement continues to value people over ideology and political parties. Pro-lifers found a hero and strong ally in Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak this year for taking the tough stance in defense of life in the health care reform debate.
It was a blow to the abortion advocates when Democratic Congressman Stupak led the charge and continues to lead the charge in that fight. The pro-life movement is changing because it has rallied new leaders from both major political parties, which is something for which we should be very grateful.
Another way our movement is changing is through new outreach tools. Pro-lifers are sharing the truth about abortion with friends on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iPhone, and countless other new technologies. Young people are utilizing these new media tools to uncover and expose an abortion industry. I am excited about this because I know the pro-life movement's focus and energy has never been so devoted or determined.
The movement's message is more expansive. We have changed and attracted a majority of the country to our cause with compassion for all human life--being pro-life and whole life. Our movement has become more consistent and attractive because the pro-life movement speaks to the respect for human life in all places and in all stages--for those who are in the womb, for those who are in prison, for those who are in Africa, for those who are in poverty, for those who have plenty, for those who have experienced natural disasters such as the recent earthquake in Haiti.
The pro-life movement has been successful because it has changed people's views on the issue. We are now seeing more and more studies coming out about the impact on people who have had abortions. Even the evidence has been changing and we now know that 80 to 90 percent of children diagnosed with genetic defects such as Down syndrome are aborted. We are getting that evidence in. We also have evidence now that shows children in the womb feel pain when they are aborted. New science, ultrasound equipment, and other advances in technology are giving new-found hope in spreading the truth about abortion.
Ultimately, the cause for human dignity cannot be silenced and will not stay still. Human liberty and freedom will prevail and I hope this year's March for Life will again inspire a country that longs for change and that many hope will embrace, fully embrace, the culture of life.
I yield the floor.
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