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History Book: In defense of the unborn


WORLD Radio - History Book: In defense of the unborn

A notable speech on the devastating effects of abortion

Anti-abortion activists march outside of the U.S. Capitol during the March for Life in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 Associated Press Photo/Jose Luis Magana

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, January 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The 2023 March for Life was just a couple of days ago. U.S. Representative Chris Smith from New Jersey attended the very first march in 1974. He met his wife at the following march. He is the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee and has been the chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus for nearly 40 years. Smith has spoken at March for Life many times over the decades—on Friday he ended this year’s speech this way:

SMITH: Regrettably, the pro abortion culture of denial—a modern day Flat Earth Society—continues to deny, devalue and disrespect unborn baby girls and boys. And they trivialize the harm that is suffered by women. The United States and the world must recognize the breathtaking miracle of the newly created life of an unborn child and that women deserve better than abortion.

EICHER: Smith has been one of the driving forces behind the legislative movement to eliminate taxpayer funding of abortion. In 2011 he introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”—proposing to permanently restrict federal funding of abortion as laid out in the Hyde Amendment. The bill passed the House three times before, and is about to be introduced again in the 118th Congress.

REICHARD: Today, in place of our usual style of the History Book, we’ll hear a notable speech given just days before the 2011 March for Life. Representative Chris Smith took to the House floor to speak in defense of the pro-life movement, the March for Life, and declared abortion a human-rights tragedy. We’ve edited his comments to fit the available time:

CHRIS SMITH: Mr. Speaker...earlier today an abortionist in Philadelphia, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was arrested and charged in the death of a mother and seven babies who were born alive but then killed…

According to the CBS TV affiliate in Philadelphia, the district attorney said that in one year alone, Dr. Gosnell made approximately $1.8 million performing abortions. The abortion industry, Mr. Speaker, is a multi-billion dollar business…

The ugly truth is that abortionists often get filthy rich—not by healing or nurturing or curing—but by dismembering and…by starving the child in the womb with lethal agents like RU486 or by other means of chemical poisoning.

The ugly truth is that women are victimized by abortion, wounded and hurt physically, psychologically and emotionally. Women deserve better than abortion. The only thing the multibillion dollar abortion industry has produced in America—and worldwide—is victims. Wounded women and over 52 million dead babies in the United States alone since 1973. More than six times the entire population of my home state of New Jersey. The multibillion dollar abortion industry systematically dehumanizes the weakest and most vulnerable among us with catchy slogans, slick advertising, clever marketing, and very aggressive lobbying...particularly here.

They have made the unacceptable to be prejudiced and bigoted against a child in the womb acceptable to some. This acceptable bigotry has been promoted for decades despite breathtaking advances in fetal medicine, including microsurgery, underscoring the fact that an unborn child is a patient in need of care—diagnosis and care—just like anyone else…and despite the amazing window to the womb, ultrasound imaging.

In 1976, Dr. Willard Cates and David Grimes—then with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta—presented a paper to a Planned Parenthood meeting entitled and I quote this directly: "Abortion as a treatment for unintended pregnancy: the number two sexually transmitted disease." These two abortion doctors reduced the child in the womb to a disease, to a parasite, to something that had to be vanquished. As far as I know, no one at Planned Parenthood objected to this dehumanizing language and obvious bigotry towards children.

Mr. Speaker, the evidence of significant harm to women who abort increases each and every year. Abortion hurts women's health and puts future children subsequent born to the women who aborted at significant risk. At least 102 studies show significant psychological harm, major depression and elevated suicide risk in women who abort…

In 2006, a comprehensive New Zealand study found that almost 80% of the 15 to 18 year olds who had abortions displayed symptoms of major depression as compared to 31% of their peers. The study also found that 27% of the 21 to 25 year olds who had abortions had suicidal idealizations compared to 8% of those who did not have an abortion.

Abortion isn't safe for subsequent children born to women who have had an abortion. And this fact is so under-appreciated in the United States and really around the world. At least 113 studies show a significant association between abortion and subsequent premature births. One study by researcher Shan Zhou showed a 36% increase risk for preterm birth after one abortion and a staggering 93% increase risk after two. Same goes for low birth weight, similar percentages. So what does this mean for the children? Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality in the industrialized world after congenital anomalies. Preterm infants have a greater risk from suffering chronic lung disease, sensory deficits, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments and behavior problems. Low birth weight is similarly associated with neonatal mortality and morbidity…

I hope Americans are listening. I hope my friends on the other side of the aisle who take the other side of this issue will begin listening. There needs to be a reevaluation. America needs to take a second look—a long and sustained look—at the surface appeal arguments of the abortion rights side. Abortion is violence against children…

One thing about this prolife movement: It loves them both. It says to both the mother and to the baby, we want to put arms around you. We want to help. We want to be of assistance. And to any post abortive woman: we're all about trying to help and to assist and provide some kind of pathway to reconciliation…

I would hope my friends on the other side of the aisle would take a second long look at the carnage...the unbelievable pain and agony and suffering that abortion has visited upon women. It is not pro-women, abortion exploits women. And it's certainly not pro-child either…

And I do hope that we will move this human rights issue forward.

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