Remarks given by Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser at the Life is a Human Right event held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
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Thank you, everybody. Thank you, friends, and thank you, members of the media for coming out today. It is an incredibly important moment in the history of the country. And I have a great pleasure to introduce somebody that Susan B. Anthony List has grown to know and love very well. I’m Marjorie Dannenfelser. I’m the president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear the biggest case for the pro-life movement in two generations. And today, I have the honor of introducing a longtime friend and pro-life leader, someone I admire, whose tireless advocacy personally and at nearly every level of public service has been indispensable in getting us to this pivotal moment.
I first met Mike Pence when he was serving as a congressman for Indiana, and he was leading the fight to stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. He was doing that before almost anyone else was talking about it, even in the Republican Party. Being pro-life is who he is, it’s central to the whole Pence family, including his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte, and their long life of service.
All the way back in 2011, on the eve of his decision to run for governor of Indiana, Mike gave the keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List’s gala, and he made a statement which has proven truly prophetic. He said: “We are winning this fight. I believe we are at the beginning of the end of Roe v. Wade.”
He is a man of great hope, courage and faith, and he’s been unwavering in that conviction throughout all these long years. It was no surprise eventually to see my friend elected vice president in what would become the most pro-life administration in history. It was no surprise to see him cast the tie-breaking vote on legislation to allow states to exclude abortion businesses from funding through the Title X program and to preside over the reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City policy to stop dollars from funding abortion overseas by taxpayers and the Protect Life Rule here at home. And to facilitate most importantly and for tomorrow the confirmation of three U.S. Supreme Court justices, and more than 200 federal judges who respect the Constitution…to be the first sitting vice president also to address the March for Life…and so many other aspects of his pro-life leadership.
He is a staunch ally of those on the very front lines of the pro-life movement, and also so important for what’s happening tomorrow: those of the selfless workers and volunteers of America’s 2,700 pregnancy centers all across the country who provide vital services to millions of our neighbors each year, frequently without receiving a dime in public funding.
Love is at the soul of the pregnancy care movement and the pro-life movement – and thanks to them we can say yes, we are ready to assist women and families in need so that they can choose life for their children.
As a former governor, Mike knows the road to the Supreme Court quite well. The law that he signed as governor banning discrimination abortions made it there just a few years ago. And while the Court declined to take a position at that time, at least one justice – Justice Clarence Thomas – held out hope that the merits question, whether the so-called abortion “right” is really so expansive that it includes a right to eugenic discrimination, would be revisited in the future.
The question to be considered tomorrow is even more consequential: are any limits on pre-viability abortions constitutional? The stakes are nothing less than the lives of millions of little boys and girls waiting to be born and the welfare of their mothers. There’s another great figure in the history of human rights battles who comes to mind when I think of Mike Pence – and that is William Wilberforce, the great crusader against the evil of slavery in his time. I paraphrase his words here, which resonate as a call to conscience to this day: “We may choose to look away, but we can never say again that we did not know.”
We know the truth that unborn children are as human while in their mothers’ womb as each one of us was on the day of our birth and as they are now. Science has eliminated any doubt. Unborn children have beating hearts by six weeks, and by 15 weeks they feel pain. The great majority of Americans believe abortion on demand after this point is cruel and inhumane, and they reject Roe when they understood that it puts us in the company of just a handful of nations – like China and North Korea – that allow a late-term abortion more than halfway through pregnancy, even up to the moment of birth.
Mike’s constant saying is life is winning in America. Our fellow Americans are not missing this moment. State legislatures all across the country are acting on the will of the people have enacted more than 100 pro-life laws this year alone – more than any other year since Roe v. Wade, sending a strong message to this Court. Lawmakers are eager to have the real democratic debate about abortion policy in this country that has been stifled for 50 years under bad precedent – to find consensus and fulfill their duties as duly elected representatives of the people who live there. And there’s no question that because of heroes like Mike Pence—and specifically because of Mike Pence—we are standing here today.
I could not be prouder to stand beside my friend the vice president; with the people of Mississippi and their courageous attorney general, Lynn Fitch; and with all Americans in urging the Supreme Court to do what is manifestly right, correct the injustice, correct the unjust precedents of the past, and consign Roe to the “ash heap of history.” It’s time to modernize our law and let the American people protect women and children. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the 48th vice president of the United States of America, Mike Pence.