Remarks given by Vice President Mike Pence at the Life is a Human Right event held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
Click here to watch the speech
Thank you, Marjorie, for that introduction – and thank you for faithfully devoting your life to the cause of life.
I am honored to be here with so many friends and supporters of Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that has saved countless lives, raised up a new generation of pro-life leaders, and truly transformed America for the better over the past three decades.
To all the advocates for life who join us here today, I want to say thank you. THANK YOU for standing for life. It should fill your heart with immense joy and pride to know that every night, as the sun goes down, somewhere in America there is a young mother tucking her little one into bed, kissing her forehead, saying a prayer, and thanking God from the bottom of her heart because you helped her choose life. I thank God for you too.
As Americans, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that first among these is life.
I have long believed that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable: the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn. I did not come here today to speak about popular opinion or jurisprudence. I came here today to speak about right and wrong.
Today we gather on the verge of what may be a new era in American history… an era in which all human life is once again cherished and respected… an era in which the great moral questions of our time are decided by the people through their chosen representatives instead of unelected judges. We may well be on the verge of an era when the Supreme Court sends Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case will decide the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The pro-family advocacy group I founded, Advancing American Freedom, along with SBA List and hundreds of pro-life advocates across the country, have filed amicus briefs in support of the 15-week limit on elective abortion.
We are asking the Court, in no uncertain terms, to make history. We are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade and restore the sanctity of human life to the center of American law.
The heartbreaking consequences of the Roe decision cannot be overstated. Since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, more than 62 million unborn children in the United States have been aborted. In other words, nearly twenty percent of the U.S. population is gone – lives of incalculable promise were ended before they were born.
And countless young women have experienced sorrow and regret that can last a lifetime. One young woman victimized by the for-profit abortion industry wrote, “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my lost child…I would never wish this pain on anybody.” Their stories of heartbreak abound.
The Court’s misguided decision in Roe v. Wade has inflicted a tragedy not only on our nation, but on humanity, that is hard to fathom. Its scale is unprecedented in the history of mankind.
In the 48 years since the Court’s ruling, unborn children have been segregated into a caste of Second Class citizens devoid of the most basic human rights. Precious babies have lived outside the protection of our laws, at the mercy of a culture that devalues them, and an abortion industry that profits from their suffering.
Previously, the Court has justified abortion on the grounds that it is essential to the stability of American society. The truth is, nothing has done more to destabilize our society in the last 50 years than legalized abortion on demand.
It is no coincidence that the last half century has seen a persistent rise in family instability, single parent households, a decline in family formation, an increase in unplanned pregnancies, and an explosion of sexually transmitted diseases. Abortion is even being used increasingly as a tool of eugenics – for the elimination of children of the “wrong” sex or race, and those suffering from a disability.
Today, more than two-thirds of all babies with Down syndrome in the United States are killed in their mother’s womb. As Governor of Indiana, I was proud to sign a law banning elective abortion based on a child’s race, gender, or disability – and it is time to end this injustice nationwide.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, once wrote that eugenics was “the most adequate and thorough avenue in the solution of racial, political and social problems.” Today Planned Parenthood shamelessly builds on Margaret Sanger’s legacy, with the vast majority of its abortion clinics located in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Despite being less than one-third of the U.S. population, blacks and Hispanics account for nearly two-thirds of all abortions performed.
As long as Roe remains in force, the radical left in this country will never stop pushing for more and more extreme abortion related policies.
Abortion providers have been caught on video discussing the sale of aborted fetal body parts. Recently unsealed documents show abortion providers charging tens of thousands of dollars for body parts harvested from unborn children – treating human beings like nothing more than a cash crop.
Democrat-run cities across America are now providing financial incentives for abortion by implementing paid abortion leave. In Boston, for example, government employees can receive 12 weeks of paid leave for an abortion – the same benefit provided for childbirth.
In days gone by, progressives viewed abortion as a necessary evil to be tolerated – today, many believe it is a moral good to be celebrated and encouraged as it was on a recent broadcast of Saturday Night Live. It is not hard to imagine that the day will soon come when the radical left begins touting abortion as a tool for managing population growth as the Chinese Communist Party did for decades.
Today, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in those hallowed halls, we are here to declare with one voice NO MORE. We will never stop working to create a world where every child, born and unborn, is protected by law and cherished in life as a precious gift from God.
And today, there is hope on the horizon that the days of Roe v. Wade are coming to an end.
Every serious legal scholar in America knows that the Roe decision was manufactured out of whole cloth to achieve a predetermined political and ideological goal. Even the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once wrote that the Court’s decision in Roe was QUOTE “heavy-handed judicial intervention” that “was difficult to justify.”
Now our Supreme Court has a chance to right that historic wrong once and for all.
Despite what the abortion lobby says, the 15-week limit set forth by the Mississippi law is perfectly reasonable from a moral, scientific and constitutional perspective.
Thanks to advances in modern medicine, the humanity of a 15-week-old child in the womb is undeniable. At 15 weeks of development, a baby’s face is well-formed. She has fingernails, eyebrows and hair. She can make a fist and suck her thumb. She has a beating heart. She can feel pain. And she is created in the image of God, the same as you or me.
A 15-week limit on elective abortion is not extreme by any measure – rather, it is the radical left’s demands for taxpayer-funded unlimited abortion on demand up to the moment of birth that is extreme. And that is exactly what Roe v. Wade makes possible.
Consider the nations of Europe – often held out by left-wing politicians as a model for America to emulate. According to the Lozier (LOE-zhure) Institute, 47 out of 50 European countries limit elective abortion PRIOR to 15 weeks. France, Spain and Belgium have a limit of 14 weeks. A majority of European countries are even more restrictive, with Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Italy, and Ireland banning abortion on demand after 12 weeks.
When it comes to abortion policy, America has more in common with China and North Korea than it does with the nations of Europe. By upholding Mississippi’s law, the Supreme Court can move America away from the radical fringe and squarely back into the mainstream of Western thought and jurisprudence.
The fact is, Americans are ready for an end to the judicial tyranny of Roe v. Wade, and a return of this issue back to their democratically elected representatives and the people.
This is an important point to stress, because the left desperately wants to obscure it: the end of Roe does not mean an end to the debate over abortion policy. There will still be plenty of debate. But the decisions will no longer be made by unelected judges – but by elected officials chosen by, and accountable to, the American people.
It is easy to understand why progressives oppose allowing the democratic process to work when it comes to setting abortion policy. From the very moment Roe was decided, the American people have been making their preferences clear through the steady march of pro-life legislation enacted by their democratically elected representatives each and every year.
In the decades since Roe:
- Congress has banned partial birth abortion.
- Congress and the states have restricted taxpayer funding for abortion.
- 38 states have passed laws to require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion.
- 33 states require expecting mothers to receive counseling before an abortion is performed.
- 26 states have enacted a mandatory waiting period.
- And nearly every state in America has allowed healthcare providers to decline to perform abortions for reasons of faith or conscience.
When the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade – and I believe with all my heart that day will come, either now or in the near future – it will not come as a surprise to anyone. It will simply be the culmination of a 50-year journey whose course and destination have been set by the will of the American people.
Like all of the pro-life champions in this room, I am not new to the cause of life. I stood for life during my years in congress and offered the first legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. As Governor of Indiana, I championed the unborn and adoption reform. To be pro-life, you must be pro-adoption.
I am also proud to have served as Vice President in the most pro-life administration in American history. Every day, we stood without apology for the sanctity of human life. Under our administration, we reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy to ensure that American tax dollars were never used to fund abortion overseas. We cut funding to the United Nations Population Fund, and we opposed efforts at the UN to make abortion an international human right. And it was perhaps my highest honor when as the president of the Senate, I cast the tie breaking vote to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood.
We also confirmed nearly 300 conservative judges to uphold our constitutional rights, including the right to life.
But how times have changed. Today, a new administration is advancing abortion on demand at home and abroad, and President Biden has even abandoned his historic support for the Hyde Amendment, and now supports taxpayer funding of abortion. Now more than ever, we need the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States to return the question of life to the states and the people.
Traveling across this great nation of ours, I can tell you that the groundswell of support for the pro-life cause is growing stronger by the day, thanks to all of you. Nearly 500 pro-life bills have been introduced nationwide this year alone.
And while I can’t say how the Supreme Court will rule, today, I can say with absolute confidence that the tide has turned for the pro-life movement, and momentum for the cause of life has never been stronger.
Life is winning through the quiet counsel between mothers and daughters, grandmothers and friends.
Life is winning through the relentless advocacy of groups like SBA List.
Life is winning through the compassionate work of more than 2,700 pro-life pregnancy centers nationwide that are solely devoted to supporting mothers in the courageous decision to give their children life, even under the most difficult circumstances. In 2019 alone, these centers served nearly 2 million expecting mothers. And it was my honor in August of last year to be the first sitting Vice President to visit a crisis pregnancy center.
Life is winning in America. And now we need life to win in the highest court in the land.
Life is winning as a new generation has been awakened, the eyes of millions have been opened, and we are changing the culture for life, one life at a time. As I have witnessed at every March for Life these past 20 years, this rising generation is the Pro-Life Generation.
And the American people deserve to know that our safety net for mothers and babies has never been stronger. America is ready, willing and able to support women in need.
Even as states work to reduce abortions, they are also working to increase support for vulnerable mothers. Texas, for example, has created a $100 million dollar Alternatives to Abortion program to provide counseling, material assistance, and housing support to women experiencing a crisis pregnancy.
In the coming days, as the Supreme Court takes up this fateful decision, I want to encourage conservatives – those here today, and all across America – to be confident, keep the faith, and pray. The effective and fervent prayer of a righteous people availeth much.
We have not struggled for so long, we have not travelled so far or overcome so much, to turn back so close to the finish line.
And never doubt: the American people are on our side. They are ready for a fresh start. They know that the decision before the Supreme Court is the same choice voters will face in the next election. It is a choice between two distinct worldviews that are as far from one another as the East is from the West.
The left believes children are a burden. We believe children are a gift from God.
The left believes the institution of family is outdated and unnecessary. We believe that family is the bedrock of civilization.
The left believes it is right to force their radical beliefs on society through unelected judges. We believe in the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The question before the court, and before the American people, is no less than this: what kind of nation do we want to be? Do we want to be a nation that tolerates abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy? Because that is what the left wants us to be.
Or do we want to be a nation that champions and celebrates the gift of human life… a nation that comes alongside women in need… a nation that stands up for the weak and fights for the defenseless… a nation that says proudly, without apology, that every life matters, and every child deserves a chance? Because that is who we can be once again.
So on this day, before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Dobbs case, we hope and pray that our renewed conservative majority on the court will restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.
This is about saving the lives of millions of children yet unborn.
But make no mistake about it: this is also about justice and the future of this nation.
I believe that ending an innocent, defenseless human life grieves the heart of God.
The one who said quote, “before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” admonishes us in the Proverbs with these words:
“Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
Thomas Jefferson was right when he wrote: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
To everyone here, thank you for bringing us to this day when the American people have the opportunity to reclaim a society where every life is treated with compassion, dignity and respect. Life is winning because of all of you.
For our children and grandchildren, born and unborn… for young women facing the crisis of an unexpected pregnancy… for the rule of law and for America… I urge every American to pray tomorrow and every day between now and next Spring for the justices of our Supreme Court to have the courage to seize this moment for life. And join us as we humbly ask our new conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade and give America a new beginning for life.
Thank you, and God bless you.