I thank the gentlelady from Ohio for yielding. And I want to extend a thank you for inviting me to have this opportunity tonight to speak on the floor about the issue of life, an issue that is very important to me.
I believe in the sanctity of life from birth to natural death. In fact, I often like to refer to myself as a person who is ``whole life'' in my beliefs.
This issue of abortion is very personal for me. When I was 21 and I was in college, I found myself unmarried and pregnant, and it was obviously a very difficult time of my life. There was a lot of soul searching that went on, a lot of praying. I had the support of friends and family, but I struggled; I struggled with the thought of telling my parents, and I struggled with the social stigma and the fact that I may have to drop out of school, and also the fact that I would have to be a single parent. But I knew that there was a life inside of me, a living person. And little did I know at that very early stage the joy and the beauty that that child would bring into my life. Today I have an absolutely gorgeous 30-year-old son who is married, and he made me a grandmother just a little over 2 months ago with a beautiful daughter named Charlotte. She is obviously the joy of his life right now, and certainly the joy of her grandfather and my life, too. But that's why I feel so strongly about this important issue of choosing life, an issue where there is a general consensus among American people--in fact, a recent poll shows that a majority of Americans believe in at least some restrictions on abortions, and they certainly do not support their taxpayer dollars going to fund abortion. In fact, a May 15 Gallup poll shows that this practice is opposed by 75 percent of the American people.
Now, I came to Congress just a short 5 1/2 months ago, but I came to this Chamber to represent the American people and my constituents. Therefore, I do not believe that we should be using taxpayer dollars, hard-earned taxpayer dollars for something that faces such widespread opposition.
That being said, it is equally important that we provide the support that is required to bring that child into this world; only then are we going to be able to prevent the root cause of abortion in America and, actually, throughout this world. So I would like us to use our taxpayer dollars not to fund abortions, but to use this money for the moms and for the babies for health care and other services that they need.
I was really proud during my first few weeks here in Washington, in this Chamber, to vote for SCHIP. This legislation provides critical health services for our Nation's babies, and just as importantly, it provides crucial assistance for pregnant moms as well, the first time that we've done that in this country. What a blessing it is that we are finally taking care of our brand new precious babies and providing support for moms too.
I strongly supported this bill because of another personal story that I have. When my second child was being born, when I was pregnant with number two, Gretchen, we changed jobs in the middle of the pregnancy. My husband was carrying the health insurance through his job, and we had a new health care provider. All of a
sudden, I had a pre-existing condition, and that preexisting condition was my pregnancy. And that child was born without myself having any health care coverage. Luckily, I had a very noneventful natural birth, but you still have to go to a doctor and make sure that your child's needs and your needs are taken care of. I would just like to say that a child is not a preexisting condition; a child is precious, and a life that we need to be taking care of.
So as we go forward here in Congress and we take up health care reform, we must address this issue of pre-existing conditions that too often keep mothers, fathers, and children from the care that they need. But the first step is stopping the practice of spending taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.
Once again, I want to thank you so much for the opportunity to speak on the floor tonight about an issue that is very personal for me and for millions of families across this country. And I ask all of my colleagues from both sides to join me in making the whole life of the child a priority, beginning at conception. This begins with steering taxpayers' hard-earned dollars away from providing abortions and towards health care and the other critical services for our children, as well as our moms and dads.