Last week was a significant moment in our world’s history as Pope Francis became the first Pope to deliver an address to a joint meeting of Congress. Tens of thousands of folks from all over the country gathered on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to hear his remarks and even more took this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see him at different places in Washington, D.C., New York and Pennsylvania. While I am not a Catholic, I admire the Pope for his humbleness, his outreach to the poor, and his strong pro-life and traditional family views.
First and foremost, Pope Francis called on Congress “to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.” It’s impossible to listen to or read the Pope’s words and not first think about the unborn — the most vulnerable and innocent among us. He further elaborated, pleading with Congress and the American people to ensure that all human beings are treated with the utmost dignity and respect, saying, “you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.”
Throughout his speech, the Pope drew on one common theme, the Golden Rule, which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Chief among the responsibilities instilled through the Golden Rule, Pope Francis reminded us “of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.” These words come at a time when too many in our country are turning a blind eye to the callousness by which Planned Parenthood is harvesting and trafficking baby body parts — possibly for profit. It’s unfathomable that Democrats in Washington have systemically ignored these horrific practices and refuse to stand up in the face of such evil.
In fact, just a few days before the Pope’s address, Senate Democrats rejected House-passed legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. They are denying the Golden Rule we’re called to live by and the scientific fact that unborn babies feel pain after 20 weeks. And on the very day of Pope Francis’ speech, these same leaders blocked a plan that would keep the federal government open while stopping funding for Planned Parenthood for one year while we investigate these charges. Shame on them for putting politics over protecting the unborn.
My fight to ban funding for Planned Parenthood and hold any bad actors accountable has always been and continues to be about respect for human life. I was hopeful the Senate would take up the House-passed bill to defund Planned Parenthood, but its obstructionism has left me no choice. I refuse to allow one more child to be murdered, dismembered, and sold like scrap parts, and that’s why I cannot and will not support the Senate’s funding resolution that contains funding for Planned Parenthood.
Every American who values life and wants to live by the Golden Rule should demand an end to these barbaric practices and demand that leaders in Washington defund Planned Parenthood. This is one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time, and a tremendous stain on our national conscience. As your representative, I am unapologetically pro-life and will continue to fight to defund Planned Parenthood and defend innocent children.
Richard Hudson, a Republican from Concord, represents the 8th District in the U.S. House, which includes most of Robeson County.