Today, for the 42nd year, thousands of Americans young and old, from every background and political party, will gather in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the March for Life. It is an event dedicated to the same principle that underlies our nation — that all of us are endowed by our Creator with certain rights. And among those is the right to life.
That right has been under siege since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. Since that case was heard in 1973, a staggering 57 million unborn children have been aborted.
Fortunately, every year more people are joining the March for Life, both the event in Washington and in their everyday lives. Most Americans now believe that abortion should be as rare as possible. According to Gallup, a majority of Americans support limiting abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy — entering the sixth month under most metrics. When it comes to the abhorrent practice of late-term abortions, 80 percent of Americans support banning the procedure. And young people are increasingly more pro-life. It is estimated that half of March for Life attendees are under the age of 30.
Still, more can be done. I recently introduced the Child Custody Protection Act, legislation which would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across a state line for an abortion if it would circumvent a state law requiring parental involvement in that minor’s abortion. This has become a major problem. Ohio and a majority of states require parents' involvement if their minor children have an abortion.
Yet, 12 states and the District of Columbia do not have such laws on the books. The abortion industry preys upon minor children who live in states bordering on these outliers. These children are sometimes transported across state lines for abortions as a way to get around their home-state parental involvement requirements.
The Child Custody Protection Act would help put a stop to this practice. This legislation simply says that parents have a right to be involved in their kids' most important decisions, a view supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans. Whatever people's views on abortion, this should be legislation that we can all support.
We also must do more to ensure that every child has a loving home and a shot at success. That means supporting families who open their hearts to children in need through adoption, raising and loving them as their own. I was recently able to intervene on behalf of Ohio parents who had adopted a child from the Congo, clearing bureaucratic hurdles that stood in their way.
Giving every child a chance also means supporting efforts to end child poverty, and ensuring that every child has an opportunity at a good education and a bright future. And it means continuing to fight the scourge of sex trafficking, a crime that involves 100,000 children in the United States every year.
As I try to do every year, today I will be joining pro-life Ohioans as we make our way from the Washington Monument to the United States Capitol. Our message is a simple one. Every life should be respected, and every child deserves a chance at happiness. That is why nearly a million people are in Washington for the March for Life.
I look forward to the day when that goal is no longer a dream, but a reality.
Sen. Rob Portman is a Republican representing the state of Ohio.
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