Washington D.C., Jan 23, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) — Pro-life politicians spoke to participants at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. about the need for America’s leaders to guide the country in affirming the value of every human life.
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) explained that “life and liberty” are two foundational principles that are intertwined to “form the core of our national character.”
“When we affirm the dignity of life, we affirm our commitment to freedom,” he said. When we fail to defend life, “freedom itself is diminished.”
Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including many young people, gathered in the nation’s capital for the annual March for Life on Jan. 23, one day after the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
Prior to a march to Capitol Hill, attendees gathered on the National Mall to hear from congressmen and pro-life leaders.
Speaker Boehner delivered opening remarks at the march, in which he affirmed that “human life is not a political or economic commodity.”
The Speaker explained that he has 11 siblings. “So I’ve never considered ‘pro-life’ to be a label or a position,” he said. “It’s just who I am.”
Defending life is “not a matter of party,” he said. Rather, it is “about standing on principle.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, told the crowd that the violent death of innocent children “is not an American value.”
He thanked those present at the march for their “selfless struggle by prayer, fasting and works” to participate in what he called “the greatest human rights movement on earth.”
The congressman also criticized President Obama for instituting policies and funding decisions that promote abortion throughout his last three years in office.
He explained that by appointing abortion advocates to key administrative positions, the president has worked to integrate abortion into national and international programs.
Rep. Smith observed that under President Obama the federal government has given more than $100 million dollars to the U.N. Population Fund, an organization that supports China’s one child policy, which relies on forced abortions and sterilizations.
The administration is also “lavishly” funding embryo-destroying stem cell research, he added, and organizations including Planned Parenthood are now titled “partners” of the U.S. government.
In addition, Congressman Smith warned, the pro-life movement is being threatened by the president’s “systematic undermining of conscience protections.”
He pointed to a federal contraception mandate that was finalized by the Health and Human Services Department on Jan. 20, as one of those actions by the Obama administration that is targeting people with pro-life convictions.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Jan. 20 that the administration would not expand a religious exemption for employers who object to a requirement that insurance plans cover contraception as part of “preventative services.” The policy requires free coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that can cause abortions.
“Everyone must comply regardless of moral objections or religious tenets simply because Obama says so,” Rep. Smith said.
He also noted that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was recently “thrown out” of a federal grant program to aid human trafficking victims because it would not offer referrals for abortion and contraception.
The congressman emphasized the importance of the 2012 presidential election and said that if President Obama is elected to a second term, he will work “aggressively” to force “conformity and complicity” on the matter of abortion.
“No one who values life can sit this one out,” he said.