Forty-three years ago on January 22, the Supreme Court took the issue of abortion out of the people’s hands in order to impose its own view. It swept away the laws of all fifty states, inventing a right to abortion that could not be found in the Constitution.
Even many pro-choice legal scholars have criticized that decision, admitting that the Constitution clearly allows states to enact protections for the unborn. And so Friday’s March for Life is also a march for democracy: for the right to use democratic means to advance justice.
I applaud the marchers, and even more I applaud their noble cause.
I strongly believe that we should build a culture that respects the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death.
As president, I would move, through patient persuasion, toward protecting more and more unborn children from abortion. Many of my fellow citizens disagree with that goal, of course, but I think most Americans can agree that we should at least protect unborn children at 20 weeks of development, when they may be able to feel pain.
In an age when parents and grandparents post sonogram pictures of their unborn children to their Facebook pages, and modern medicine allows doctors to save premature babies born earlier than we ever thought imaginable, most people understand that these are young lives worthy of our protection. Nearly all European countries protect children at this late stage of development, and it is time we joined them.
I believe, as well, that taxpayers should not be the largest source of funding for the organization that performs the more abortions than any other entity in our country.
When I am president, we will reinstate the rule that family-planning money goes to organizations that do not perform abortions. Americans who oppose Planned Parenthood should not be forced to fund it.
I used persuasion and incremental change to build a culture of life in Florida. We banned partial-birth abortion and required parental notification before minors could have abortions. We forced abortion clinics to abide by basic health and safety standards for women.
We required that women considering abortions after their first trimesters be allowed to review ultrasound images.
We supported crisis pregnancy centers, so that pregnant women in difficult circumstances—too often lacking support from the fathers of their children—would have the material and emotional help they need. Some of the funding for these groups came from Florida’s “Choose Life” license plates: something I am proud to say I was the first governor to sign a law to allow. We ended Medicaid funding for abortion.
All of these measures faced serious opposition, but had strong public support. And they helped us bring the abortion rate in our state down twice as fast as the national average. Meanwhile we more than doubled the number of adoptions in our state. And I ensured that we defunded Planned Parenthood in our state, too.
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