Rep. Chris Smith’s address to the 2008 March for Life :: Catholic News Agency
Rep. Chris Smith’s address to the 2008 March for Life

“Today, 35 years after the infamous Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion on demand throughout pregnancy, we mourn the estimated 50 million innocent girls and boys whose lives were cut off by abortion—a staggering loss of children’s lives, equal to six times the total number of people living in my home state of New Jersey.”

Someday future generations of Americans will look back on us and wonder how and why such a rich and seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with the capacity to protect and enhance vulnerable human life, could have instead so aggressively promoted death to children and the exploitation of women by abortion both here and overseas.

They will note with keen sadness that some of our most prominent politicians and media icons often spoke of human or civil rights, while precluding virtually all protection to the most persecuted minority in the world today, unborn children.


On Sunday, Senator Barack Obama criticized Americans for both our moral deficit and empathy deficit and called on us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. 


Can Senator Obama not see, appreciate or understand that the abortion culture that he and others so assiduously promote lacks all empathy for unborn children—be they Black, White, Latino or Asian—and is at best, profoundly misguided when it comes to mothers?


Why does dismembering a child with sharp knives, pulverizing a child with powerful suction devices or chemically poisoning a baby with any number of toxic chemicals, fail to elicit so much as a scintilla of empathy, moral outrage, mercy or compassion by America’s liberal elite? 


Abortion destroys the life of our “brothers and sisters” and the pro-abortion movement is the quintessential example of an “Empathy Deficit.”

Human life begins at the moment of fertilization. Every second thereafter is simply a stage of development. By day 22 after fertilization the heart is beating and brain waves can be detected at 44 days. By week five tiny hands and feet begin to develop and by week 7 the baby is already kicking and swimming in the womb. Ultrasound technology gives us a window into the robust lives of unborn children showing them even in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, moving, turning, and stretching. We now know that in the second trimester babies have the capacity to feel pain. 
Future generations will wonder why it took so long for Congress, the President and the courts to stop just one hideous painful method of death, partial-birth abortion. And why dismembering a child with sharp knives, pulverizing a child with powerful suction devices or chemically poisoning a baby with any number of toxic chemicals, failed to elicit so much as a scintilla of empathy, mercy or compassion by some, especially America’s liberal elite, for the victims.


Abortion can never be construed as a human right, even if Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say it is. It is a human rights abuse against the weakest and most vulnerable—treating these young persons as a sexually transmitted disease, a parasite, a piece of junk to be destroyed. And the whole notion of wantedness and unwantedness turns a child into an object. Unborn babies have dignity, inherent value and infinite worth. Because these kids are so defenseless, politicians and jurists must now, at long last, rise above perceived political self-interest, surface appeal arguments crafted by pro-abortion focus groups and pollsters, and a raft of junk science to protect the fundamental human rights of unborn children.

Let’s be blunt. Abortion is violence against children. It is extreme child abuse. It is cruelty to children. Sadly, abortion is not only legal until birth but the daily perpetrators of this terrible injustice are massively subsidized by liberal politicians who enrich the abortion industry with taxpayer funds.


Generations to come will reflect with dismay and incredulity that, notwithstanding modest pro-life legislative gains in Congress and the States, in 2008 the largest abortion provider in the nation, Planned Parenthood, continued to receive huge amounts of taxpayer funds. This ubiquitous seemingly benign organization is in the grisly business of systematically dismembering the fragile bodies of unborn children with sharp knives and hideous suction machines, or killing them with poison. As I said recently on the floor of the House of Representatives, it’s time to take a second look at Planned Parenthood, “Child Abuse, Incorporated”, for the millions of children it has killed and continues to kill, all the while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from local, state, and federal governments. 


For the abortion industry, business is good. In 2005 Planned Parenthood alone increased the number of abortions it performed in its so-called family planning clinics by 10,000 for a total of nearly 265,000 abortions. With its nation-wide clinic building boom well underway that number of slaughtered babies will likely rise to 300,000 per year or more.

Human rights defenders worthy of the name must at a minimum move to abolish government subsidies for those who destroy children. We must also tenaciously fight for the day when every life, born or unborn, is respected and protected by law.


There are at least two victims in every abortion (Three when twins are involved).  It’s time to recognize and accept the inconvenient truth that abortion exploits women.  Women deserve better than abortion. Nonviolent, humane solutions need to be found for women facing the challenge of an unexpected pregnancy without adequate financial resources or emotional support. A woman’s unborn child may be easily scraped from her womb, but the memory is not so easily scraped from her heart and mind—some women experience severe psychological consequences including clinical depression.


Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has had two abortions.  Today, she has joined the growing coalition of women who deeply regret their abortions and are “Silent No More.” Out of deep personal pain and compassion for others, they challenge us to respect, protect and tangibly love both the mother and the child. The women of Silent No More give post-abortive women a safe place to grieve and a roadmap for reconciliation. And to society at large, these brave women compel us to rethink and reassess the far-too-cheap sophistry of our abortion culture.  Reflecting on her uncle’s famous speech, Alveda King asks: “How can the ‘Dream’ survive if we murder the children?” 


Future generations will look on those who March for Life with gratitude for their unwavering resolve to protect both women and unborn children from abortion. Thirty-five years after Roe, pro-life ranks have swelled with abortion survivors—courageous post-abortive women, fathers grieving the loss of their son or daughter, siblings who mourn the abortion death of a brother or sister and students who miss every third classmate denied a chance to live. Through their efforts, combined with the dedication of pro-life advocates of all ages, and united in prayer and fasting, America’s dark night of child slaughter will soon come to an end.”


(Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is currently serving his 14th term and is Co-Chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus)

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