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Public Statements

Special Order

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

SPECIAL ORDER -- (Extensions of Remarks - January 26, 2009)

Mr. SCHOCK. Madam Speaker, I rise today to mourn the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. My colleagues have provided a litany of great arguments against this decision, ranging from the legal (the court overstepped its bounds), to the scientific (fetal awareness and pain) to even their personal beliefs as guided by their religion. As such, let me bring a new perspective to this debate.

I have the unique distinction as being the only member on the Floor today to have lived their entire life within the dark shadow cast by the Court's decision on January 22, 1973. As such, I do not remember the fiery debates the demonstrations or the heartache which followed a day which saw a nine-person judicial body devoid of medical knowledge singularly arbitrate a question that has plagued men for ages, ``when does life begin?''

What I do know is that this decision has artificially divided the country for far too long, creating a single issues litmus test for every politician, judge and doctor. And while it seems this country will remain divided on this issue, it is my sincere hope that we all agree that human life is a precious gift that cannot and should not be wasted.

Throughout my life, women have been able to obtain abortions only to realize after the fact the sadness that comes with any death.

I am left to wonder about potential achievements that America could have accomplished had so many of its precious and innocent of citizens been given a chance to reach their potential. The future doctors, scientists, actors, teachers, policemen, coaches and, yes, even politicians that America has missed because nine people decided the definition of human vitality. Creating an almost arbitrarily line--above which exists human life, below which equals a mass of tissue.

But perhaps more troubling than these lost opportunities is the thought process that abortion on demand has created. A 2004 study found that women have cited ``social reasons,'' such as feeling unprepared for a child or considering themselves too immature to have a child, as the reason for an abortion in 93% of the cases. While I do not have personal experience, I know from talking to my sisters that they both felt woefully unprepared when they were pregnant. They both felt too young, worried if they would be a good parent and fretted about their children's future. But they had a support structure provided by family, friends and their church standing beside them.

Now I certainly understand that unfortunately not everyone has access to the amazing support network that my sisters had, but that is not reason to allow abortion, that is reason to provide more services to these women, services which can help provide these women the tools to make strong decisions, to see the light at the end of the tunnel and see that a child is a gift, not a burden.

I am reminded of this fact when I look into the face of my nieces and nephews, I cannot imagine thinking what my life would be like without my young nieces and nephews in it. The holidays we've experienced and the memories we shared are times I will forever cherish. I am indebted to the wisdom these children have shown me though their looks of happiness on their faces during birthday celebrations, Christmas mornings and family vacations. In fact, just recently, they have given me another memory that I will always cherish. I was touched by their kindness and support when on the opening day of this Congress; they left me letters of congratulations and support on my desk.

It's the little things they have done and the joys they have brought to my life have been unimaginable. I cannot imagine my life without the happiness they have brought. I shudder to think how different my life would be had my family chosen a natural feeling of worry and self-doubt over the gift of life.

I hope that my fellow Americans will choose life and remember the potential for every American. I yield back the balance of my time.

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