House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) joins Americans United for Life for their “Women after Roe” conference.
Chair McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, highlighted how important it is for conservative women to be at the table in representative government, for all of us to help others live to their full potential, and to share our own stories.
Chair McMorris Rodgers’s Remarks as Prepared:
Thank you Catherine, and thank you AUL for hosting us today.
Together, we’re reaffirming that all life is worth protecting, that all life is sacred.
And that everyone, including women and the unborn, deserves their God-given chance to reach their full potential.
I’m grateful for your efforts, especially as this Congress has worked with President Trump on a number of pro-life priorities. To name a few:
The House has passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act and the Pain Capable Unborn Children Protection Act.
The Hyde Amendment is now permanent.
We’ve appointed a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court.
And the administration just recently announced the Protect Life Rule to stop Title X family planning funding from going to abortion providers.
These are important wins that have put us one step closer to protecting all lives.
During the March for Life this year, I encouraged everyone to find ways to reach out to those who aren’t yet friends of the pro-life community.
And, to do so by sharing their stories of love and human value.
I didn’t know that just a few weeks later, I would be challenged to take my own advice.
Ruth Marcus with the Washington Post published an op-ed that said women need the right to abort children with Down syndrome.
She wrote, “I would have terminated those pregnancies had the testing come back positive. I would have grieved the loss and moved on.”
I was shocked, disgusted,and deeply offended…so I shared my story.
I’m a pro-life mom of three. I see huge potential in all my kids, Cole, Grace, and Brynn.
Cole’s my oldest and he was born with that extra 21st chromosome.
When my husband and I received the news that he had Down syndrome, it wasn’t what we expected.
It was tough news to hear. We were given a long list of challenges and chances of heartache.
Well today, Cole is living a life full of huge potential. He’s in the fifth grade. Finds joy in learning. He is a great big brother.
So my message to Ruth was this: Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean that it’s not positive.
Cole has made me a better legislator and he’s given me a whole new purpose and passion to be an ability advocate.
I’m empowered because of Cole, and my two daughters, too.
I believe it’s stories like mine that will pave the way for us to overturn Roe v. Wade.
It’s also not lost on me that it takes courage to share these stories.
I remember the Doritos commercial that pro-abortion groups called “controversial” because it featured an animated baby on an ultrasound machine.
A provision in tax reform that would have allowed parents to open college savings accounts for their unborn children was called “dangerous.”
And because we are pro-life, many are quick to call us anti-woman.
What do all these examples have in common?
It’s the rhetoric that shuts down debate about the humanity of the unborn, and it’s further dividing us by creating an “us vs. them” mentality on what it means to empower women .
So how exactly do we break through and use our pro-life platform to bring Americans together?
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 make change so we become a culture that values every life.
That is how we will identify the common ground that unites us and allow us to change hearts and minds on Roe v. Wade.
I’m hopeful and encouraged that we will succeed. It really is on all of us.
The shortest distance between two people is their story, and this year, it was Arthur Brooks who challenged me to write my own in just 10 words.
- Working Mom of 3
- Ability Advocate
Each of my ten words resonate with people differently. For some of you, you can identify with being a working mom. For others, you nodded your heads when I said “trustbuilder,” because you want to build trust in your communities, too.
This is why I believe that we as conservatives have the moral high ground — because we believe in the dignity of every person.
We see their abilities, not their disabilities. We focus on their potential, not their victimhood. We see a future full of choices and opportunities, waiting to be seized.
And this is why the Left’s version of the women’s movement does an injustice to women.
They focus on reproductive rights and women’s status as victims almost solely– they send a message that women’s opportunities are tied directly to their option to have an abortion.
Again, they create an “us vs. them” platform that portrays they are speaking for all women.
We know that isn’t true, and that’s why this program, “Women Speak,” is so aptly titled.
Because when women speak, we realize that our education, our careers, our relationships, and our families are so richly complicated.
Most of us don’t spend our days thinking about our lives in terms of our “reproductive rights.”
We care about finances, security, health care, and everything in between.
And as conservatives, we know that conservative policy solutions empower all people — men and women of all kinds.
Take tax reform as an example. One of the untold stories is about how it benefits women.
Women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce—and 42% of working moms function as either the sole or primary breadwinner in the home.
So when we got to work on overhauling our tax code, I made sure this major economic policy was written with women in mind.
We expanded the Child Tax Credit.
We Preserved the Adoption Tax Credit.
We Expanded 529 savings accounts.
And for moms like me–who are raising a child with a disability–my ABLE 2.0 provisions will allow individuals with a disability to explore the workforce and reach their God-given potential.
In addition– because of tax reform–companies are now expanding their parental leave benefits.
Tax reform and our stronger economy is giving women more freedom and choices in the workforce, and that’s something we can all celebrate.
“Speaking for Women” is about empowering us at every stage of our lives.
I see so many unique women, with equally unique stories in this room who are ready to change the cultural narrative.
I challenge you to join me, and tell your stories proudly.
My advice to you is don’t be afraid to be bold, live courageously, and to be a positive disruptor.
Together, we can build a brighter future for everyone from the moment of conception and beyond.
Thank you and God Bless you.