Joni Ernst

Remarks at 2016 March for Life- Jan. 1, 2016

Joni Ernst
January 01, 2016— Washington, D.C.
March for Life 2016
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Good afternoon!

First, let me say that there is no place I would rather be on this cold January day! So thanks for coming out. I truly am honored to be here today not only to stand, but to march, to protect the most vulnerable of our society. Thank you all – including those I met this morning from the great state of Iowa and all of the young future leaders that we have here today in the crowd – for getting in your cars, boarding those planes and those trains, putting on your coats and gloves, and fighting for life.

Over the last year, thank you for helping me fight to remind those in Washington that we are a nation that protects life. Thank you for helping me to fight in Washington to shine a light on the lack of compassion shown by Planned Parenthood for women and their babies. And thank you for helping me fight to remind those in Washington that we are a nation that will stand up and together say ‘we can and we must do better!’ The theme of this year’s march is ‘Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand-in-Hand.’ It is such an important message.

Many of those fighting against us have claimed that our efforts to defend and protect life at all stages of development constitute a ‘War on Women.’ I reject that. I reject that. Because I will remind them, I am a woman and I have been to war, and let me be clear, this is no ‘War on Women.’

Rather, to me, being pro-life means that you have a deep respect for the miracle of life and a woman’s unique ability to bring life into this world. Being pro-life means you recognize the joint responsibility of a mother, father, and society at large to protect and nurture each and every life from the moment that it is created, and you see abortion as a reflection of our collective failure to meet that responsibility – and not as a litmus test for the advancement of women’s rights.

Being pro-life means you reject the notion that the loss of millions, millions, of babies through abortion honors the civil liberties, independence, or the strength of a woman. Being pro-life means you mourn the thousands of baby girls – and boys – that are lost each year to abortion in the United States, and you believe we should cherish women and girls equally at every stage of their development.

Look around you, look to your left and look to your right. Look around you. As you can see by the crowd assembled here today – many of us are mothers, grandmothers, sisters – pro-life and pro-woman does indeed go hand-in-hand. In my first year in office, I have tried to embody that important message.

As you may know, I have been leading the fight to safeguard taxpayer dollars for women’s health care by redirecting them from Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s single largest provider of abortion, and instead providing them to other eligible entities like community health centers and hospitals, which provide greater health care services to women, but do not provide abortions. Thanks to your support, earlier this month, Congress was able to put legislation on the President’s desk to defund Planned Parenthood.

I have also joined my colleagues in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in an effort to ban abortions after five months of pregnancy – a stage of development at which evidence shows unborn babies can feel pain.

The day I took to the Senate floor to speak in favor of the bill, I had the opportunity to meet an adorable little boy, a three-year old beautiful boy from Newton, Iowa named Micah Pickering. Micah was born prematurely at just five months of development. As Micah joyfully ran around my office, his mother and father explained to me that they know Micah was just as full of life at 5 months of development as he is now. As Micah proved, an unborn baby in its 5th month of development is not just a clump of cells – they have ten fingers and ten toes, they can feel pain, and they can survive outside of the womb.

It’s what we all know, folks. It’s what we all know. Life is indeed precious, and we are a country that stands for life. In order to rise and meet that commitment, we must protect the most vulnerable in our society – particularly those who cannot protect themselves. As a mother and a grandmother, thank you for joining me today here, and every day to stand, speak, and march for life.

God bless you all, thank you.

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