The inevitable call to criminalize abortion in the United States came a little later than usual at this year’s Values Voter Summit, an annual social conservative conference held every fall since 2006 in Washington, D.C.
Nearly two hours into the Friday morning speeches, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) revved up the crowd with his call to ban abortion, using himself as a reason.
Stutzman told a story about a woman—pregnant, young, and alone—who once considered having an abortion. Finally resorting to tell her mother the situation, she was encouraged to continue the pregnancy. The big reveal, of course, is that the mother who dissuaded her daughter from having the abortion was Stutzman’s grandmother; he was almost aborted, he claims.
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“Let this generation be the one to stop abortion in America!” Stutzman declared, leading to a standing ovation among attendants.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) continued the personal appeals to push for criminalizing abortion. Predicted to be a Republican presidential contender in 2016, Paul said he would continue to defend the “not yet born.”
“I have seen [babies] sucking their thumbs on an ultrasound,” Paul said. “So, don’t tell me that five-, six-pound babies don’t have rights simply because they are not born.”
Paul spent the bulk of his speech attacking President Obama’s recent foreign policy decisions and opining what he would do differently if he were in the White House. However, the introductory video broadcast before Paul’s speech zeroed in on his anti-choice views, opening with a sonogram image of a fetus.
“I’m one who will march for life and will continue to stand up in defense of life as long as I’m privileged to be in office,” Paul said.
Sponsored by the Family Research Council, the Values Voter Summit is an annual opportunity for Republican congressional members, presidential hopefuls, and conservative activists to engage voters who are generally moved to the polls because of their positions on abortion, LGBT issues, and their Christian beliefs. Early speeches from congressional members Friday morning centered largely on the developments with the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), immigration, and conservative rallying cries regarding Benghazi and the IRS. But calls to ban abortion and attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit were also present throughout the morning program.
Correction: Sen. Paul’s quote about “march[ing] for life” has been updated to reflect his exact wording.