For the past 44 years, hundreds of thousands of all backgrounds have journeyed to Washington to take part in the March for Life, which calls attention to the tragedy of legal abortion. In addition to those attending in Washington, thousands of others in their homes states marched in solidarity. Were it not for the historic participation of Vice President Mike Pence this year, most Americans would have been unaware of this peaceful demonstration as it is often ignored by mainstream media. Yet the determination to march year after year, often in bitterly cold Washington winters, only highlights the determination of the pro-life movement. Though others may turn their eyes, many of us in Congress are squarely focused on defending the fundamental right to life.
For the first time since 2006, the leaders of Congress and the White House identify as pro-life. The new congress, led in both chambers by Republicans, is pursuing several pieces of legislation to protect innocent children, the American taxpayers and medical providers. I joined Senator Joni Ernst in introducing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and Senator Roger Wicker’s effort to deny tax dollars from being spent for abortion or for health coverage that includes abortion. I also sponsored Senator Ben Sasse’s effort to protect babies who survive abortion procedures, and Senator James Lankford’s legislation to offer medical providers the right to legal action when forced to violate their consciences. I will continue to look for opportunities to protect the most vulnerable among us. What could not be accomplished under the previous administration, we will hope to have made into law under the new president.
The administration has taken the welcome move of reinstating by executive order the so-called Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. aid to foreign groups that provide or promote abortion overseas. His decision followed Senator Mike Lee’s introduction of a resolution calling for the policy’s reinstatement and codification. For decades, the United States has alternated between instating and rescinding this policy based on the administration, and it should be a priority to see this important policy codified, no longer contingent on the whims of changing administrations. Additionally, with Judge Neil Gorsuch’s recent nomination to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, I look forward to the Senate considering and approving a justice who adheres to the text of the Constitution and does not legislate from the bench.
An even greater reason to be encouraged: The number of abortions performed nationwide has declined to the lowest level since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Additionally, there is more common ground on this topic than what we might be led to believe. A recent poll conducted by Marist College in December 2016 found solid majorities of Americans oppose the use of tax dollars to support abortion, whether at home or overseas, and even 55 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton support abortion restrictions after the first trimester. With improved understanding of science that details how life functions at its earliest stages, we can expect appeals to reason, if not morality, to help this polling data to continue to improve and to enable the pro-life movement to continue growing.
Those who once again marched for life can be assured that they are being heard in the halls of Congress. They are changing attitudes among their neighbors, and they can look forward to the day when the first right of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is upheld.
Jerry Moran represents Kansas in the United States Senate.