A Gift Taken for Granted

I support lifeand I believe that all life begins at conception. This belief has guided my mission to lead on pro-life issues and walk in the March for Life for over 30 years. I remember marching when I was pregnant with my son Stephen in 1990; I remember marching with my mother-in-law Loretto Wagner, the founder of Missouri Right to Life; and this year I will be marching just one day after my first grandchild was born.

My granddaughter, like every child, is a gift from God—a gift that our country too often takes for granted. Today, we know more than ever before about what happens during the first 9 months of life. We know that after 3 weeks, my granddaughter had a heartbeat. After 7 weeks, she began kicking her mother like any good Wagner child would. By week 12, she could suck her thumb. And, at week 20, my granddaughter knew the sound of her mother’s voice, and she could feel pain.

This is why I proudly supported and voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to end abortions after 20 weeks. Clearly, there is no arbitrary moment between 5, 10, or 20 weeks that determines when life begins, but this legislation is a critical step in protecting those who cannot protect themselves. The bill also encourages discussion, medical treatment, and counseling for women, and empowers them with a civil right of action if the law is not followed.  

In addition, I introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex-selection abortion. The sad truth is that victims of sex-selection abortions are overwhelmingly female. In fact, the United Nations estimates that 113,000,000 to 200,000,000 girls are demographically “missing” from around the world due to sex-selection abortions, infanticide, and other forms of gender-based violence.

Sex-selection abortions are crimes of gender-based violence; they reflect the abasement of women and girls around the globe, and they are linked to sexual violence and trafficking. I was surprised to learn that girls are targeted for abortions not only in countries like China and India, but right here in the United States. I firmly believe that equality under the law should begin on day one. Sex-selection abortions victimize both mother and daughter, and have no place in a just society.

As we celebrate my granddaughter’s birth, I am overwhelmed with joy for my son, his wife, and our growing family, but I am also saddened that so many precious babies will never get to meet their parents or grandparents. These children of God don’t have a voice and together we must be their voice–indeed, we must continue to fight, and pray, for the day that abortion is not just illegal, but unthinkable.