A picture of Representative Joseph R. Pitts
Joseph P.
Republican PA 16

About Rep. Joseph
  • Protecting the Rights of the Unborn

    by Representative Joseph R. Pitts

    Posted on 2015-01-21

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    PITTS. Mr. Speaker, first, I want to thank Chris Smith for his leadership over the years. He is one of the people, along with Henry Hyde, that I admired from afar, and when I was elected 18 years ago, I told him I want to come and hold up his arms in this fight for life. He has been a real champion and just a terrific leader here in the Congress. I want to thank him for that.

    I heard in a congressional life forum a few years ago a lady by the name of Frederica Mathewes-Green--she was president of the Feminists for Life--and she said something I will never forget. She said: Abortion is the most violent form of death known to mankind. It is death by dismemberment, decapitation, and poisoning.

    [[Page H466]] She said: Abortion breaks a mother's heart.

    She said: There are always two victims in an abortion. One is the baby, and one is the mother; one is dead, one is wounded.

    I never forgot those statements of this great feminist leader. I think her focus is right. We need to keep that focus where it is, where she had it: on the mother, on the baby.

    We are talking here about babies who are in their 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th month of pregnancy. For the first 5 months, a woman could have an abortion, but after that, it bans abortion, and I want to say this: I was first elected in 1972, inaugurated 3 weeks before Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, so I have been involved in these battles for the whole time.

    This is the first time in my memory that our leadership has moved substantive legislation on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on the day of the march. They should be applauded for that. This is significant.

    In 2 years, if things go the way we hope, with a new Republican President and a House and a Senate, 2 years from tomorrow, we could very well see this legislation signed into law. That is how important this is. It moves the bar back on Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, those two infamous decisions that have resulted in 55 million unborn children and women being affected by abortion.

    As Chris said, I was involved in authoring the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, but I also was involved in the Medicaid funding cutoff bill that passed in Pennsylvania--I think that was about 1978--and we had a reporting requirement in that bill, so that the abortions that were due to rape and incest had to be reported to the appropriate law enforcement or social service agencies.

    The year before our bill was passed into law, there were some 740 abortions, Medicaid-funded abortions, due to so-called rape. The year after our bill was signed into law, there were 38. This shows the importance of that provision into law of reporting to the appropriate authorities.

    If you remove that provision from the law--and some people want to do that--that would create a loophole for late-term abortions. As I said, for the first 5 months, a woman could have an abortion, but in the later term, they could not without the appropriate reporting to appropriate authorities. It would, I think, be a mistake, as some would like to do, to remove those requirements.

    I just might conclude by saying that we are one of only seven countries that allow abortion at any point of pregnancy. Some countries are appalled that the United States would permit these late-term abortions. We had a famous case in Pennsylvania, the Kermit Gosnell clinic, which was outrageous when people find out what happened in those late-term abortions.

    Scientific studies tell us that children feel pain in the womb. These are the children at this age who smile in the womb, who suck their thumb, who hiccup, who have dream patterns on the brainwaves, who react to light if it is intrauterine or a pinprick.

    These are very tiny but knowing, learning individuals. They have no one to speak for them. They are voiceless, so we have an obligation to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, who can't run away, who face this horrific type of death, and the mothers who carry them.

    I would urge Members, just like as shown in the public polls, the majority of Americans support the legislation. I would like to thank the leadership for moving the legislation and like to say that we are admonished in the scriptures that if we see someone drawn to death and we do not speak up, we do nothing, that we will be held responsible because, really, nothing is doing something, silence is consent.

    With the other pro-life people, Members, and our great champion, I urge the Members to support this legislation.

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