This week Washington will welcome hundreds of thousands of Americans who gather to speak out for the most vulnerable among us. Each January 22, we mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and another year of senseless loss of life. For many, this week serves as a reminder that life is a precious and sacred gift, and we must do all we can to protect it.
The question of abortion, sometimes reduced to yet another political issue to debate, is personal for me. My belief in the right to life has influenced my professional career for much longer than my time in Congress. In fact, it’s been a lifetime. Before being elected to represent the 26th District of Texas, I spent almost three decades practicing as an OB/GYN in North Texas. My medical career was rooted in my pro-life practice and the belief that all life has meaningful potential.
In the span of my medical career, I delivered more than 3,000 babies. Not only did I have the joy of seeing these babies when they were delivered, but throughout my career I witnessed great advances in the technology that allows doctors and parents to see these children developing in the womb. For those of us who have watched a baby squirm and kick during a sonogram, there is no question about the sanctity of life.
While my work has changed through the years – I now spend late nights delivering policy rather than babies – my dedication to pro-life medicine remains steadfast.
As a member of Congress, I am able to fight against taxpayer funding for abortion, and advocate on behalf of pro-life health care providers. In December, Congress passed historic tax reform legislation that maintained the adoption tax credit, which inspires families to grow by adopting children who may otherwise not have a home or a family able to care for them. Also in the past year, Congress overturned an Obama administration rule that required Title X family planning grants to go to all clinics, including abortion providers. While Texas decided in 2011 that it would no longer receive these grants, by overturning this rule, we have ensured that should Texas decide to receive such grants in the future, the funding would not be allowed to go to abortion providers.
Our work doesn’t stop there. Additionally, I have cosponsored two important bills – the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, which would prohibit abortion in any case in which a fetal heartbeat is detectable, and the Conscience Protection Act, which would preserve health care providers’ right to refuse to be involved in, or provide coverage for, abortion, and protect them from discrimination. These pieces of legislation are important in preserving the sanctity of life and defending those who are pro-life.
This week, the 45th annual March for Life will take place on the National Mall. As much as I admire this annual gathering of pro-life advocates, I hope a time will come when unborn life is valued and this march is no longer necessary. Until that time, I will remain committed to protecting every unborn child’s right to life, every health care provider’s right to refuse involvement in abortions, and every taxpayer’s right to refuse federal funding of abortions. After a lifetime dedicated to pro-life work, there is no question that it is just the right thing to do.