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Our Responsibility to Protect Every Human Life

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Our Responsibility to Protect Every Human Life

by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Thirty-two years after the legalization of abortion by the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life. One would expect that a ruling of such proportions as Roe v. Wade would have achieved a general acceptance among the public for abortion, especially when it has been so strongly promoted by the media, popular culture, and the judiciary. The fact that so many are troubled still with the unlimited right of abortion is a powerful statement as to where this country stands on abortion. The thousands of Pennsylvanians who traveled to Washington to participate in this year's March for Life to voice their tremendous support for life affirming initiatives are evidence of this reality. Further evidence is the enormous pro-life victories that Congress has achieved and, most certainly, the re-election of a pro-life President.

The recent enactment of both the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act are testimony to the support behind a compassionate society that protects the most innocent and most helpless among us, the unborn child. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act also makes an important statement: that our society recognizes the loss that occurs when a woman has her child's life, at any stage of development, forcibly taken from her.

Currently, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act faces a court battle over its constitutionality. However, the law was carefully drafted to pass constitutional muster and the United States Department of Justice is vigorously defending its legality. I am hopeful that should this case be brought before the United States Supreme Court, they will respect the will of the great majority of the American people and uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

While we have made great strides in passing pro-life legislation, there are several issues that continue to face our nation. In order to continue to uphold our responsibility to protect every human life, the United States Senate has the obligation to discuss the implications of important topics such as judicial nominees, the affects of abortion on women, and stem cell research.

In my capacity as Republican Conference Chairman, I look forward to advocating strongly on behalf of President Bush's judicial nominees when they come before the full Senate. The President's nominees deserve more than a debate in committee and endless filibuster on the Senate floor. They deserve a timely up-or-down vote, and I will do everything in my power to see that each and every judicial nominee gets one. It is most likely that current nominees will be ruling on the laws Congress passes with regard to abortion; therefore, we should be nominating judges that uphold the constitutionality of the law, not those who seek to usurp the power of the people.

Additionally, we should help educate pregnant women about the facts surrounding an abortion procedure before making this potentially life-changing decision. The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act would require abortionists planning to perform an abortion on a woman twenty weeks or more into her pregnancy to fully inform the pregnant woman of the overwhelming scientific data that suggest that unborn children beyond twenty weeks are capable of feeling pain. Another important measure, the Child Custody Protection Act, prohibits taking minors across state lines for abortions in order to circumvent state parental involvement laws. I am hopeful that the Senate will act quickly in the 109th Congress to pass these important measures.

Several states, including California and New Jersey, are encouraging state-funded embryonic stem cell research despite the great successes with research on ethical adult stem cell research. We should not make unrealistic promises about speculative unproven science, but rather encourage life-saving research and focus on science that works. Adult stem cell research has shown promise in helping to cure people, without having to destroy human life in the process.

Lastly, we must commit our efforts to advancing initiatives that offer compassionate, life-affirming choices and support to women facing unplanned pregnancies. We must be honest with women and support the crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes that are already working to meet women's needs at these times and help women struggling with the consequences of abortion.

In his inaugural address, President Bush stated, "Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth." We have a responsibility to protect human life, and I look forward to working with President Bush to continue to fight for the most vulnerable in our society.

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