STATEMENT AT THE 2012 MARCH FOR LIFE
U.Congressman Boehner Delivers Opening Remarks at the 39th March for
Congressman Boehner: “America is an idea, and our duty is to preserve
its blessings, the first and dearest of which is life.”
Jan 23, 2012
Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today delivered opening
remarks at the 39th March for Life. Following are Congressman Boehner’s
remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Nellie, and let me thank all of you for braving the
elements. I’m truly honored to be here.
“I come before you as Speaker of the whole House of Representatives and
leader of the bipartisan pro-life majority in Congress. With your help,
this bipartisan majority is standing up for life and working to restore
the damage of Roe v. Wade. We are heeding the voice of the people, who
overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. The House has passed
bipartisan legislation to codify the Hyde Amendment across all federal
programs. And we’ll continue to press the Senate for a vote.
“It’s an honor to serve with men and women committed to protecting the
sanctity of life. We may disagree in other areas, sometimes starkly, but
we are one and the same on this. Because human life is not a political
or economic commodity. And defending life is not a matter of party …
it’s about standing on principle.
“In that spirit, I think it’s important we take a moment to reflect on
the first principles that bring us all here today.
“We’re blessed to gather on this National Mall, hallowed ground kept
hallowed by footsteps and echoes. Here, half a century ago, John F.
Kennedy let the world know Americans would ‘pay any price, bear any
burden, meet any hardship’ to keep freedom alive and well.
“Like many of you, my family of Kennedy Democrats was moved by those
words. I’m from what you might call a big family … I’ve got 11 brothers
and sisters. It wasn’t easy for my mother to have 12 children. But I’m
sure glad she did.
“Respect for life, at every stage, was instilled in us early on. My
heart still grows restless at the story in Scripture that says ‘whatever
you do to the least of my people you do unto me.’ No life is an island …
we’re all taught that. We’re taught to extend a helping hand, especially
to those in need.
“So I’ve never considered ‘pro-life’ to be a label or a position. It’s
just who I am. It’s who I am, and it’s who we are as a people. If you’re
like me, when you climb the steps on the other side of the Tidal Basin,
you’re awed by Jefferson’s immortal words: ‘God who gave us life gave us
“These two founding principles, life and liberty, are intertwined.
Together, they form the core of our national character. They comprise
the standard by which the world looks to us. When we affirm the dignity
of life, we affirm our commitment to freedom. When we don’t affirm life
… when life is cheapened or weakened, here or abroad, freedom itself is
“Here on this Mall, many solemn vows have been made in the long fight
for freedom. America is an idea, and our duty is to preserve its
blessings, the first and dearest of which is life.
“That is why Nellie Gray marches on. Let us rise to Nellie’s example and
raise our voices together in defense of life. Let us pray that more of
our countrymen, whether you belong to one party or no party, will join
this noble cause.
“God go with all of you, and God bless the United States of America.”