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Public Statements

Protect Life Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I am humbled to stand in this Chamber and engage in debate over such a critical matter as this. Like the civil rights movement, the pro-life cause has always been about one of securing rights for those who cannot speak for themselves and who cannot on their own obtain them. The fight goes all the way back to our Nation's beginning.

What more could our Founding Fathers have envisioned when they drafted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming to all that America would ``hold these truths would 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''? There it is.

The first unalienable right designated by the Declaration of Independence is our right to life. Our Founding Fathers must have deemed this an indispensable right, for its placement signifies it was not an afterthought.

From the start of our great Nation until now, countless men and women have fought and even sacrificed their own lives to protect that right for others. Yet, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that has changed the course of history in this country. A right that had been protected for nearly 200 years was tossed aside by a court decision to legalize abortion. Up until that point, an unwanted pregnancy was likely to lead to an adoption, a process that placed an unwanted child in a caring home.

The legacy of the late Steve Jobs reminds us of the impact an adoption can have on the entire world. Fortunately for us, Jobs was born 18 years before Roe v. Wade. Shortly after his birth to a single mother, Jobs was adopted by a married couple in central California. He would go on to be the founder of a tech company that has literally changed the world. His was the route of many unexpected children before 1973.

Maya Angelou, Babe Ruth, and Eleanor Roosevelt are just a few of the many adoptees that have transformed the world we live in today.

Unfortunately, since Roe v. Wade, more and more women are being persuaded that abortion is nothing more than a simple medical procedure that will help them move on with their lives. This could not be further from the truth.

A study of Medi-Cal patients in California revealed that women who had had an abortion were 160 percent more likely to be admitted for psychiatric treatment than those who had carried the child to term and delivery. These women who chose to terminate their pregnancies then had to deal with the psychological devastation that is often associated with such a decision. Adding harm upon harm, abortion is a procedure that brings mental trauma to the mother and irreparable damage to the unborn.

Because of this, the policy of the Federal Government for the last 35 years has been to ban funding for such a procedure. Studies have shown that when the government subsidizes abortion, their number increases. The President, a supporter of abortion rights, has stated his commitment to reducing the amount of abortions in this country. Restoring the policy of prohibiting Federal funds for abortion would be a good first step. The American people, to a large degree, agree with this policy. In fact, as recently as last year, a survey revealed that 67 percent of Americans support a ban on abortion funding. But the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act failed to include this prohibition, and that is why we are here today.

President Obama indicated his support for upholding the ban on Federal funding for abortion in health reform, and that is exactly what the Protect Life Act does. The issue of prohibiting taxpayer funds for abortion is important to the American people. And so it should be important to Congress as well. Protecting the unalienable right to life is important to the American people. It should be to the Congress as well.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. PITTS. Madam Speaker, a vast majority of Americans, regardless of whether they support or oppose abortion being legal, believe that the Federal Government should not be subsidizing abortions. Some on the other side are bringing up a red herring in an attempt to continue to allow Federal funding of abortion.

To dispel the myths being disseminated by opponents of H.R. 358, every Member should understand that this bill would not change the Hyde amendment, the EMTALA statute, or the standard of care required of providers under the EMTALA law. Section 1867(e) of the Social Security Act, commonly known as EMTALA, calls on emergency personnel to respond to distress on the part of a pregnant woman or her unborn child by stabilizing the condition of both mother and the unborn child.

It is ironic that opponents of H.R. 358 claim it will establish an objectionable standard of care when that balanced standard has long been recognized under EMTALA.

My colleagues, the question before us today is simple: If you favor federally funded abortion coverage, then you should support the motion to recommit and oppose the bill. If you believe, like a majority of Americans, that the Federal Government should not be subsidizing abortion, then you should oppose the motion to recommit and support H.R. 358.

Vote ``no'' on the motion to recommit. Vote ``yes'' on this critical legislation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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