WASHINGTON —Members of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus on Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by highlighting the stories of women who regret their abortions.
“Women who have been so hurt by abortion [are] truly the untold story that needs to be told on Capitol Hill and everywhere else in the United States,” said the co-chair of the caucus, New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, who called the years since Roe v. Wade “40 years of government-sanctioned violence against women.”
Smith lamented the approximately 55 million fetuses that have been aborted since the practice became legal nationwide, and called President Barack Obama the “abortion president.”
“Future generations will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society — so blessed and endowed with education, advanced science, information, wealth and opportunity — could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient,” Smith said. “They will wonder how and why a Nobel Peace Prize-winning president could have also simultaneously have been the abortion president.”
Standing behind a podium with a sign reading “40 Years of Victims – Abortion Hurts Women & Babies,” Smith, caucus co-chair Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski and Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black put the spotlight on five women who spoke about how abortion has caused them immense emotional and physical distress. (RELATED: Poll shows majority of Americans support legalized abortion in all or most cases)
“I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder, to name a few. I felt damaged, humiliated, and hopeless after my abortion. Women deserve better than abortion,” said Irene Beltrain, who had a late-term abortion and went on to become a California director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
Kelly Stauffer, who had a second-trimester abortion at age 14, spoke about how the abortion did not “erase” her problems, saying that she still cries about her decision.
“I remember feeling utterly alone as I was forced into labor, delivering my baby’s lifeless body,” she said. “Life sadly was never the same. I hated myself. I tried to dull my pain any way I could find: drugs, alcohol, food, meaningless relationships.”
Linda Shrewsbury, a founding member of American Victims of Abortion and Black Americans for Life, who had an abortion shortly before Roe v. Wade, spoke about all the pain women can experience because of abortion.
“In the years I spent just crying over abortion, I would have this vision that if we could put together everyone’s grief, all the women involved, all the families, the grief of 55 million abortions … if we put it all together, it would be this incredible volcano of grief and truth. Something that would just erupt and sweep abortion away,” Shrewsbury said.
Black, who recently introduced legislation to eliminate Title X federal funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions, added that the real war on women is furthered by the lack of uniform informed consent laws for abortion.
Obama issued a statement reaffirming his commitment to abortion rights on Tuesday.
“Today and every day, my administration continues our efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion,” Obama said. “On this anniversary, we recommit ourselves to supporting women and families in the choices they make and redouble our efforts to promote safe and healthy communities.”