WASHINGTON (BP)–Rep. James Lankford has been in the House of Representatives less than a month, but a strong pro-life speech he delivered on the House floor Jan. 19 has received an impressive amount of social media interest.
In the five-minute speech, Lankford, a Southern Baptist, delivered what essentially was a pro-life apologetic, saying, for instance, that no one ever asks a pregnant woman about her “fetus.” He asserted that pro-choicers who support a reduction in the abortion rate are simply acknowledging that “abortion is wrong.”
“I ask: Why should abortion be reduced if it is just another medical procedure to remove some unwanted tissue from a woman? If it is just tissue, what does it matter?”
Lankford, R.-Okla., was speaking in favor of a bill, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 3, that would prohibit federal funding of abortions. After Lankford stopped speaking, Rep. Chris Smith — sponsor of the bill — thanked him for his “very powerful” statement.
The YouTube video, posted Jan. 20, received more than 8,300 hits in less than two days — an impressive number considering that most House floor speeches posted on YouTube get only a few hundred. It also has been shared more than 4,400 times on Facebook.
Lankford, 42, was program director at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s high-profile Falls Creek summer camp from 1996 to 2009 but quit his position because he said he felt God was calling him to run for Congress. He had no political experience. He is a member of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
The video can be viewed at http://bit.ly/i21tlT. Following is the transcript of Lankford’s speech:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of one of the most basic functions of any government. Three thousand years ago, a mom taught her son, the king, how to be a wise ruler. We have her words written down in Proverbs 31, where she told him, ‘Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.’ Two hundred thirty-five years ago, our founders wrote a despot king, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ This truth that all people have the right to life is so obvious, so clear that they called it ‘self-evident.’
“But in America, millions of people cannot pursue happiness and they cannot appreciate liberty because their first God-given right was denied — life. In recent days, discussion from the left has turned to reducing the numbers of abortions. I applaud this line of thinking because it admits one thing — abortion is wrong. It destroys a life and it devastates a future of a mom. I ask: Why should abortion be reduced if it is just another medical procedure to remove some unwanted tissue from a woman? If it is just tissue, what does it matter? No one is saying that we need to reduce the number of skin moles being removed or reduce the number of warts that are removed, that that is unconscionable. Why? Because we know that a wart is unwanted tissue. But a fetus, that is a baby.
“We can use any euphemism, like ‘fetus’ or ‘dividing tissue’ or ’embryo,’ or just simply ‘inconvenience,’ but no one comes to the family and says: How is the embryo? No one says to a pregnant woman or hears a pregnant woman say: Excuse me, I just felt the fetus kick. No one comes to a baby shower and says: Here is a gift for your inconvenience. Say what you want, split hairs all you want, we know that is a baby.
“Decades ago, we could not look into the womb and see the development of the child. People were told the child in the womb was just like a chicken embryo. But now, with 3–D ultrasound, we can look into the darkness of the womb and see a child kicking her feet, sucking her thumb. We can count her fingers and toes and watch their tiny heartbeat. At 20 weeks, we can look at the child inside and even say ‘boy’ or ‘girl.’ Why? Because it’s a child, not just an embryo. The difference between an adult and a child in the womb is just time. They are a person who must be given their most basic of all human rights — life.
“I strongly support defining life at conception. I strongly support adoptions. I strongly support crisis pregnancy centers and Hope Pregnancy Centers, which are doing such a great job all around the country and all around my district in Oklahoma. It is time to cut off federal funding for abortion.
“Why is it in America that taxpayers who are mortified at the thought of abortion are required to also give their tax money to fund abortions around the world? When a constituent comes to me and asks, ‘Why are my taxes so high?,’ I have to tell him, ‘partially because your government is spending some of your hard-earned money on abortion funding around the globe.’ Why is it in this chamber today we can debate for hours if an infant should be guaranteed health care coverage, but yet some of the same individuals who demand insurance protection for that child would find no issue in killing that infant only moments earlier when it was in the womb?
“Earlier today, a clinic in Philadelphia was raided, where a physician was arrested for fully delivering infants six, seven, eight months into the pregnancy and for stabbing with scissors those children after they had been delivered. This is the United States of America. This issue is not about oppressing women or denying choice. It is about protecting children and honoring the self-evident truth that everyone is endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including and especially life.
“Almost four decades ago, individuals in this chamber laid the foundation for a court ruling that has stripped the womb of its glory and its majesty. For decades since, legislators in this chamber have protected bald eagle eggs, migrating insects, snail darters and rare flowers, but we refuse to protect children. May God have mercy on our nation, and may we awaken one day to the horror of what abortion policies have done to our nation. We would rather protect our fundraising, our leadership and our convenience than protect the unborn child. This is not a difficult choice. It is a clear choice — and we should choose life.”
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.