Pro-life policies are now in the spotlight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

By Rep. Bradley Byrne

Last Friday, thousands of people arrived in Washington, D.C., to march for an important cause: pro-life policies. The annual March for Life brings together people from all different backgrounds: Democrats and Republicans, men and women, young and old, southerners and northerners.

This year’s march was notable as Vice President Mike Pence spoke, marking the highest ranking United States government official to ever address the March for Life. The crowd was really energized, and I was excited students and pro-life advocates from Southwest Alabama traveled to D.C. to take part in the march.

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Pro-life issues have always been very important to me. One of the greatest joys of my life has been to experience the miracle of birth. As the parents of four wonderful children and a grandparent to an adorable grandson (with another grandchild on the way), Rebecca and I have been blessed to watch our children grow and mature into talented and unique individuals. More than anything, this has reinforced my strong belief that every life is truly precious.

One of my first official acts after being elected to Congress was to join the Pro-Life Caucus and sign Online for Life’s “Pro-Life Declaration,” which outlines that the right to life should be protected and defended. I have also made it a priority to support pro-life policies throughout my time in Congress, earning a 100 percent rating for National Right to Life.

In fact, just last week in advance of the March for Life, I joined 237 of my House colleagues in voting to pass H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.

This legislation amends Title 1 of the United States Code to implement a ban on all taxpayer funding of abortion, regardless of the funding sources. A similar provision, known as the Hyde Amendment, has been included in annual government funding bills for decades, but H.R. 7 makes the Hyde Amendment permanent.

I know the abortion debate can be especially heated and personal. However, regardless of your views on abortion, I believe we should all be able to agree that taxpayer money should not be used to perform abortions.

Another important victory for the pro-life movement came when President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the “Mexico City Policy.” This policy, started under President Ronald Reagan, has been instituted by every Republican president since.

The policy blocks federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortions overseas. A recent poll found that over 80 percent of Americans oppose their taxpayer money being used to support abortion in other countries, so I was pleased to see President Trump reinstate this policy.

These were two victories for the pro-life movement, and I am hopeful for another positive step as Trump nominates someone to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. He has pledged to nominate a judge who values human life and supports pro-life policies, and I look forward to his decision.

Ultimately, I expect there are great opportunities, as well as challenges, ahead for the pro-life movement, but there is no greater cause to fight for. I pledge to continue working every day to represent our common-sense, pro-life Alabama principles in Washington, and I am optimistic we will continue to make strides to create a culture that values life and opportunity for all.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.