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Roe V. Wade

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

ROE V. WADE -- (House of Representatives - January 22, 2008)


Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for leading this hour and for allowing me to be with him tonight and for giving me this time.

I think my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, know that my prior career, my profession before becoming a Member of Congress 5 1/2 years ago was I practiced medicine, and not just as a medical doctor, but as an OB/GYN specialist. In that specialty for 26 years, I delivered over 5,200 babies during that time. I am very proud to say that I performed no abortions. But I think it is important for our colleagues, Mr. Speaker, and for men and women across this country to understand how this Roe v. Wade came about 35 years ago in 1973.

Prior to that, abortion in many States was illegal. It could not be performed. In some instances, yes, it was true that women would have what is known as a criminal abortion done, and sometimes with very devastating consequences to the woman. If the abortion was done by a doctor with skills, surgical skills, there probably were no complications, other than destroying that human life, that little human life. But if the abortion was performed in an unprofessional, botched manner, then the life not only of the fetus but also of the woman was at stake.

When I was an intern at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, back in those days in the late 1960s, 1969, 1970, yes, there occasionally was a patient on the ward suffering from septic shock. And in one instance I very vividly remember that that patient, that mother who had had an abortion done and the complications thereof, infection set in and she died. And these cases were presented across the country to the Supreme Court eventually, basically, in Roe v. Wade. And then all of a sudden the Supreme Court said that no State, no State could proscribe abortion.

That is what we got to in 1973. And since that time, of course, as my colleague from Michigan just mentioned, something like 48 million lives have been destroyed in the abortion process, in that so-called safe, legal process, where the procedures are done by licensed physicians, and they are done under certain circumstances, maybe in a hospital with anesthesia, and it is very safe and that no mothers die.

Well, some mothers do die. But without question, some 48 million little children, potential Members of Congress in fact, lost their lives by this abortion procedure. And that is why I am so proud to be here tonight to join with my colleagues, with the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Smith, Mr. Franks, Mr. Davis, Mr. Walberg, Mr. Lamborn and others to talk about this issue.

Each of us will have a little bit of time. But I am very grateful to be
standing here tonight to know that today on the Mall, right here at the Capitol, we had so many come. I don't know how many thousands of families came. We had something like 12 or 14 Members of Congress speak on behalf of life, the life of the infant, the life of the fetus. This is a very proud day, and it is a very proud evening too for us to stand here for the sanctity of life.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus on a couple of charts that I have got. The first one, if my colleagues will look, basically says this. This is a quote from a very important person, and I will mention her in just a minute. ``Abortion, at any point, was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.'' That ends the quote. This is from Norma McCorvey, better known as Jane Roe from Roe v. Wade. In other words, she was the plaintiff.

Mrs. McCorvey wanted to have an abortion in a State that didn't allow it, so she was the plaintiff. This quote is taken from her book, ``Won by Love'' by Norma McCorvey, and she is now a pro-life advocate. She didn't have that abortion, because by the time Roe v. Wade was passed, she had gone on and had that little girl, who is in her mid-thirties now. Mrs. McCorvey, Norma, is also the proud grandmother of two children. Thank God that she didn't have that abortion.

Listen to what Susan B. Anthony, this is way long, many years ago, in another century, said even before this issue came up. ``Abortion is a reflection of our society's failure to meet the needs of women. We are dedicated to systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion.'' That is a quote from Susan B. Anthony.

What I want to point out is that many States now, many States, including my own State of Georgia, I am very proud that we have passed, as this poster shows, a ``woman's right to know law,'' required not just in Georgia, but in 23 States, that women who seek abortions be fully informed about relevant issues such as, the first bullet point, medical risk of abortion; the possible detrimental psychological effects of an abortion; a father's legal responsibility in State laws for paternal child support; and medical assistance benefits may be available to prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care.

Mr. Speaker, the Children's Health Insurance Program, SCHIP, that we just in the last month reauthorized for an additional 18 months, does include prenatal care so that women are not forced for financial reasons to terminate a pregnancy. So this is really what Susan B. Anthony was talking about so many years ago.

What we are seeing as a result of that, in my last chart that I want to present, is that over these 35 years, we are seeing a gradual and actually dramatic drop in the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Those women who are most fertile, that peaked at 29 per 1,000 women that age back in 1979. Now the latest statistics in 2005, that number has dropped down to something like 19.4. So we are making great progress.

The point that I want to make in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, is we don't need to continue to destroy life. We need to inform women. We need to inform women of their choices, the alternatives to destroying a human life, which in almost every instance they are opposed to. But they are uninformed, they are frightened, they are scared, they are concerned about raising a child as a single parent. But if they are given the opportunity maybe to place that child for adoption, if they know there is financial help available, if they know that there are counselors who want to work with them that help them if they decide to have their baby and be a single parent, if that is the case, these are the things that we need to be concentrating on, Mr. Speaker.

So as I conclude, I just want to say to the gentleman from Arizona, I thank him for giving all of us an opportunity tonight to speak on this hugely important issue. Let's stand for the rights of the unborn. Let's not be so concerned about some person who is already here, man or woman, about their property rights guaranteed under the 14th Amendment. Let's think about what we said in our Declaration of Independence and think about unalienable rights, such as the right to life. Let's think about what is in the Charter of the United Nations, that every member nation is bound to abide by, and that is the sanctity of life. And, last but not least, what God says in both the New and the Old Testament, thou shalt not kill; you shall not take another's life. That is why we stand here tonight, to bring that to our Members.

I yield back to the gentleman from Arizona, and thank him for allowing me to be part of this.

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