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Public Statements

Right to Life

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you so much, Congressman. It is an honor to be here tonight on the anniversary of the 39th year of the Roe v. Wade court decision. And today it was so encouraging to see the hundreds of thousands of people from all across this country come here to march and to commemorate this deadline, this decision, and to celebrate life and to pray for the day when all life is valued in this country.

It was cold, about 36 degrees here, and it was rainy, but people stood for hours out in the rain, not minding, because they believe in life. And people may say, well, why are the people doing this? And why are you pro-life?

And I'd just like to summarize it, Mr. Speaker, in that, basically because it's a child, not a choice. We see those bumper stickers around and we don't think about them very much. But those words and that reality certainly has meaning for me because words matter.

I was in sixth grade when the Roe vs. Wade decision came down, and I remember hearing a little bit about it, but not thinking too much about it. I was just busy being a 12-year old kid. But I remember one day in the hallway at school when a girl stopped me and said something about well, what do you think about abortion? What do you think? And I said, well, I don't know. And she said, well, do you think a woman should have a right to do with her body whatever she wants, and the government shouldn't tell her what to do? And I said, well, yeah. And she said well, you're pro-choice. And I said oh, well, okay. And I didn't feel quite right about it, but I didn't have much information, I didn't have much facts, I didn't know. So I remember in the future somebody asked me whether I was pro-choice, and I said yeah.

But then something happened. I got some facts, I got some information. It was in high school, in a child development class. And all of a sudden I got to see, for the first time, pictures of a developing baby. And let me show one to you now. This is one of the pictures that I saw, and this is of a 2-month old baby.

And I looked at all of these pictures, and I heard the information, and I realized that abortion is taking this life, and it's alive. It is a child. It is not a choice.

Here's some facts that I learned: That at day 22, that's just over 3 weeks, when most girls don't even know they're pregnant yet, the heart begins to beat. By the end of the third week the child's backbone, spinal column, and nervous system are forming.

By week six, brain waves are detectable, fingernails are forming. Week seven, eyelids and toes form. The nose is distinct and the baby is kicking and swimming.

By the end of the second month, which is how old this baby is here, every organ is in place. Bones begin to replace cartilage. Fingerprints begin to form, and the baby begins to hear.

By week 9 and 10, the baby can turn his head and frown, and the baby can hiccup. By weeks 10 and 11, the baby can breathe amniotic fluid and it can grasp objects in its hand. Perhaps you've seen that famous picture of that surgery on that unborn baby and how that hand came

out and grasped the doctor's finger.

Week 12, end of the third month, the baby has all the parts necessary to experience pain. Like my colleague talked about, its vocal cords are complete, and the baby can suck its thumb.

Some facts that I also learned are, for instance, in 2008 there were 1.21 million abortions done and of those, 92 percent of those abortions were done during the first 3 months of life. So what that means is that there are abortions, and it would average out to about 138 an hour, I figured up, two for the minute that I'm talking here, where abortions are taking place on babies that can hear, that have a beating heart, that have brain waves going, and that have vocal cords.

It is about a child. This is not about a choice. And I commend all the people who came here today to Washington to speak out on behalf of life. And with them, I celebrate, and look forward to the day when all Americans are granted the right to life, whether they're born or unborn.

So thank you, Mr. Speaker, for having us today.


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