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Public Statements

Right to Life

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, the right-to-life movement is the greatest human rights movement on Earth, a remarkable decades-long struggle embraced by millions of selfless women and men of all ages, races, colors and creed and made up in recent years, I'm happy to say, disproportionately of young people.

We defend and seek to protect all the weak and vulnerable persons from the violence of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. We believe in the politics and policies of inclusion, regardless of race, age, sex, disability or condition of dependence.

Yesterday, January 22, marked the 39th year since the infamous holdings of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the pair of Supreme Court decisions that nullified fundamental pro-life protections throughout the United States. The catastrophic loss of children's lives since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton has been absolutely numbing. Over 54 million children have been killed by dismemberment, chemical poisoning, lethal pills, suction and starvation.

Let's not forget that RU-486 is a chemical compound. It's two chemicals, and one of the effects of one of those chemicals is to literally starve the baby in the womb to death. The second chemical brings on delivery of a dead baby. Women have been harmed by abortion as well. Over 100 studies showed significant psychological harm, major depression and elevated suicide risk in women who abort.

The Times of London wrote, senior psychiatrists say that new evidence has uncovered a clear link between abortion and mental illness in women with no previous history of psychological problems. They found that women who had abortions had twice the level of psychological problems and three times the level of depression as women who give birth or who have never been pregnant.

Younger women are also harmed by abortion psychologically. A comprehensive New Zealand study found that almost 80 percent of 15- to 18-year-olds who had abortions displayed symptoms of major depression as compared to 31 percent of their peers.

Abortion also has a deleterious effect on subsequent children born to women who have aborted. At least 113 studies showed significant association between abortion and subsequent premature births. One study by Shah and Zoe showed a 36 percent increased risk for preterm birth after one abortion and a staggering 93 percent increased risk after two.

What does this mean for subsequent children born to women who have had abortions? Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality in the industrialized world after congenital abnormalities or anomalies. Preterm infants have a greater risk of suffering from common lung disease, sensory deficit, cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment and behavioral problems.

Low birth weight, which is also one of the consequences, is associated with neo-natal mortality and motility.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, at the March for Life today, there were large, large numbers of people, tens of thousands of people. As cochair of the Pro-Life Caucus, I was proud to stay with so many of our lawmakers here, many of whom are on the floor tonight, and also with our leadership, Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Jeb Hensarling, among the most profoundly important speeches made about the sanctity and the dignity of human life.

And they have produced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 3, which not only would be a government-wide prohibition on government funding for abortion, it also had a robust, very significant conscience clause as part of that legislation.

The Protect Life Act and, of course, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, a group that aborts in its clinics some 330,000 abortions, 330,000 dead babies in its clinics each and every year. It was a great march and we had women from Silent No More campaign, post-abortive women who eloquently speak to all women not to have abortions because they are the ones who have been victimized by it, but also as a pathway to healing and reconciliation for those who have. This movement is all about forgiveness and all about reconciliation and reaching out to those who are on the other side, especially post-abortive women.


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