WASHINGTON, D.C.—Before the 45th annual March For Life, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered a message of unity to the pro-life community at the Family Research Council headquarters. The following are her remarks as prepared for delivery.
WELCOMING THE MARCHERS
“Good morning. First, I want to share my appreciation to all of you. Thank you all for being here. Like previous years, I’m excited to see so many people, from so many different walks, of life coming together to recognize what it means to be a member of the pro-life generation.
“Together, we’re reaffirming that all life is worth protecting. That all life is sacred. And, that everyone, including the unborn, deserves their God-given chance to reach their full potential.
“[This] marks a day to celebrate all that life has to offer. It truly is a day of joy and hope. So to all those marching, thank you.”
HER PRO-LIFE STORY
“Every year, when I see tens of thousands of young people, moms, dads, religious leaders and more who march to the Supreme Court, I am amazed at the thought that everyone has a story to share. A story that defines who they are and why they are here.
“For me, as a pro-life mom of three, part of my story is with my oldest son, Cole, who was born with that extra 21st chromosome. When my husband and I received that news, it wasn’t what we expected. We were given a long list of challenges and chances of heartache.
“Now, 10 years later, Cole is working his way through the fifth grade. He lights up a room. People are drawn to him. He is in Cub Scouts and plays sports. Last weekend, he scored 3 points in his basketball game. He is living a life full of huge potential.”
ON FINDING WHAT UNITES US
“Stories like my family’s of kids beating the odds and [reminds] us that all life is a precious gift… Every story is an opportunity for the pro-life movement to grow. As online activists, you all play a vital role in sharing them. And, it is not lost on me that this is a tall order.
“I remember the Doritos commercial that pro-abortion groups called “controversial” because it featured an animated baby on an ultrasound machine. Even language that our tax writing committee considered to allow parents to open college savings accounts for their unborn children was called “dangerous. And right now, as the House considers legislation to protect children born alive after a failed abortion, the left is once again accusing us of joining the war on women.
“This rhetoric is keeping both sides from having an honest discussion about the humanity of the unborn and it is further dividing the American people. It is pushing the left and right so far apart on life issues, it begs the question, how exactly do we break through and use this pro-life platform to bring Americans together, particularly on the internet?
“How do we move past the “us versus them” mentality and foster constructive conversations?
“I believe the answer is going outside our comfort zone and identifying what ties us together as people and as fellow Americans.”
“Over the past year, I’ve held a number of Unity Dinners in my district to build trust and bring people in my community closer together– even when we disagree on the big issues. I am always reminded that everyone has a story. There are stories of hope and love. And stories of deep pain and heartache.
“And every story is a chance for us to come together and develop a deeper understanding of one another.
“I believe this marks an incredible opportunity for all of you. I encourage you to keep up the hard work of telling stories of new moms, medical miracles, and children with disabilities who are making lasting contributions to the world. I also challenge you to find ways to reach those who aren’t yet friends of the pro-life community.
“Lead by example, and think about how you can foster welcoming and courageous conversations. The stories you share have the power to open hearts and minds so we change the culture to one that values every life.
“That is how we will identify the common ground that unites us and it will pave the way for us to affirm the dignity of life. It really is on all of us.
“Again, thank you very much. May God bless you during today’s march and always.”