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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today expressed his gratitude for the participants in the annual March for Life, especially all of the South Dakotans who traveled to Washington, D.C., to stand up for the rights of the unborn.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, on Friday, as they have done for decades, Americans from around the country – many of them young people – took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to march for life.
“This year, of course, was a little different.
“Because for the first time since the March began nearly 50 years ago, pro-lifers marched in a post-Roe America.
“On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and recognized that the Constitution does not contain a right to abortion.
“That our founding document does not confer a right to deprive one group of citizens of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness simply because they are small and defenseless.
“Mr. President, the Supreme Court’s decision marked the righting of a constitutional wrong.
“And it opened up the chance to right a great moral wrong – the legalized killing of unborn Americans.
“The Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade does not of course make abortion illegal.
“But it does allow state governments and the federal government to finally begin to establish meaningful protections for unborn children.
“Mr. President, the Dobbs decision marked a major victory for the pro-life movement – and for the babies whose lives are in jeopardy from abortion.
“But the Dobbs decision does not mark an end to the pro-life movement – or the March for Life – but a new beginning.
“The legal fight turns from the courts to Congress and state legislatures – in other words, to the democratic process, where this issue belongs.
“And the work to change hearts and minds and support moms and babies continues.
“The Dobbs decision may have opened the door to meaningful legal protections for unborn Americans.
“But abortion extremists – who unfortunately count the majority of the Democratic Party among their ranks – are doing everything they can to stand in the way of those protections.
“To give just one example of how far the abortion-on-demand caucus has taken things, two weeks ago the House of Representatives took up legislation to ensure that babies who survive abortions and are born alive are guaranteed medical care.
“Almost every single Democrat in the House of Representatives voted against the legislation.
“That’s 210 men and women who apparently think that living babies who have already been born can legitimately be left to die – or, I suppose, be killed outright by the abortionist.
“That is a horrifying position, Mr. President.
“And there is much work to be done to get to a day when a country that is supposed to be dedicated to the protection of life and liberty actually guarantees the right to life of all Americans, including the most vulnerable and most innocent Americans – our unborn children.
“And so the March for Life is today more important than ever.
“The March of course is just one small facet of the pro-life movement, which works every day in every state around the country to provide help and hope to moms in need.
“But it is nevertheless a vitally important facet.
“Because the March for Life provides a public witness to the humanity of the unborn child and to the great injustice that is happening behind closed doors.
“Abortion happens away from public view.
“And so it can be all too easy to forget that every year in this country hundreds of thousands of babies are being killed by abortion.
“The Guttmacher Institute – a pro-abortion research organization – reported that there were more than 900,000 abortions in 2020.
“To put that number in perspective, 900,000 is roughly equivalent to the entire population of South Dakota.
“The entire population of South Dakota.
“That is a lot of lives lost, Mr. President.
“A lot of love lost.
“And our society is a poorer place without those babies.
“And the March for Life reminds us of that.
“It reminds us that every day thousands of babies lose their lives to abortion.
“And it reminds us of our responsibility to confront this injustice and to work for a day when every child enjoys the right to life and the full protection of the laws.
“Mr. President, I am profoundly grateful for all those who spent last Friday marching for life.
“And for all the men and women – and young people – in the pro-life movement who work every day around the country to help mothers and their babies and secure legal protections for unborn Americans.
“I know there are many days when it feels like an uphill battle.
“But you all are on the right side of history.
“And I am confident that in the end life will prevail.
“Mr. President, in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.’
“And again, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’
“There is no greater work than standing up for these defenseless little ones.
“And I pray that God will bless the efforts of all those marching for life, and that one day soon, every child, born and unborn, will enjoy the full protection of our laws.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”