By: U.S. Congressman Phil Roe

As an OB-GYN who has delivered nearly 5,000 babies, I strongly support the sanctity of life. I have seen firsthand that life is a precious and beautiful miracle that begins at conception, and I am honored to stand with the pro-life community. This week, thousands of pro-life activists will make their way to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life to mark the sad anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision; a misguided ruling on abortion that forever changed our country. The first March for Life was held in 1974, and the march continues to be the largest annual demonstration. Each year, men, women and children from all walks of life come together to peacefully march for the rights of the unborn. This year’s theme for the march is ‘Love Saves Lives.’
According to data provided by the Tennessee Department of Health Division of Policy, Planning and Assessment, since 1973, 633,861 Tennessee babies have died from abortion. This devastating statistic must encourage us to defend those who do not have a voice, and I find hope in the fact that more and more Americans are sharing their pro-life views. According to Gallup’s 2017 Values and Beliefs survey, the “slight majority (54 percent) of Americans favor curtailing abortion rights.” That same survey found that 49 percent of U.S. adults believe abortions are morally wrong, compared to the 43 percent who found them morally acceptable.
As an OBGYN, I wholeheartedly support women’s access to health care services, but abortions are not health care. It’s my responsibility and privilege as a legislator to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I will always fight for the right to life because it is my strongly-held conviction that we are all unique creations of a God who knows us and loves us before we are even conceived.
This past year, President Trump, Vice President Pence and their administration have worked to instill a culture of life in our government. And this week, I am grateful to have the opportunity to vote for a bill I cosponsored, H.R. 4712, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This important bill will put an end to the radical practice of killing living babies who survive abortion attempts. Doctors who kill babies after a failed abortion attempt would be held criminally accountable under this legislation, while mothers will be protected. Additionally, this bill will ensure that health care professionals exercise the same degree of care to a child born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion as any other child born alive at the same gestational age. I took an oath to do no harm, and it is unconscionable to me that a medical provider could kill a baby who survived a horrific procedure like abortion. To put it simply, it’s wrong and violates everything we are taught as physicians.
Each year, I am so proud of the commitment of the pro-life movement. My heart and appreciation is with everyone who marches and stands for life, and I wish all the marchers the best. If government has any function at all, it is to protect the most innocent among us, and I look forward to continuing the fight to protect the lives of the unborn.
Stronger America for Future Generations:
This week I had the privilege and honor of joining President Trump on Air Force One to travel to Nashville where the president addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. In person, President Trump is very engaging. He has a strong sense of what he wants to accomplish for the American people, and his agenda aligns very well with what we prioritize in East Tennessee. During our trip, we were able to discuss several issues of importance with the president, including how we are working to ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the best care in the world.
His speech focused on helping farmers and rural America. I’m proud of the president’s commitment to rebuild rural communities, and glad he recognizes the current levels of economic growth, which creates jobs in cities but too often passes over rural America, is not sufficient. The president outlined several ways he plans to deliver on his promise to bring prosperity to Americans in rural communities, and I look forward to working with him on achieving these goals. Some of the issues he addressed were: the benefits of tax reform for rural America, the opioid crisis and the Rural Task Force report led by Agriculture Secretary Perdue.
Last month, President Trump signed the first major tax overhaul in 31 years, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, into law. This law will allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, and pave the way for increased wages. In fact, over one million Americans have already received a bonus or pay increase because of the new tax law. The law simplifies our tax code and preserves important deductions and credits like the mortgage interest deduction and the child tax credit that was expanded under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Some Democrats warned about unintended consequences of tax reform, and they were right. I didn’t expect to hear about so many utilities in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, D.C. and others taking steps to lower the cost of electricity for their customers. This is welcome relief to families across the country right in the middle of a cold winter. It’s great to see tax reform is already working to ease the financial and tax burden of American individuals, families and businesses and I’m excited to see more ways this new law will boost the economy.
President Trump also spoke about the opioid epidemic that has ravaged rural communities for far too long – especially in East Tennessee – with more people dying from opioid overdoses than car wrecks. Last year, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a National Public Health Emergency, which allows the public health community to commit additional resources to fighting this serious and devastating problem. I am pleased the president is actively taking steps to fight this deadly crisis in our communities, and I’m proud to join those efforts. To ensure we’re taking every step possible to prevent opioid abuse, I’ve also introduced the Opioid Addiction and Prevention Act. This bipartisan bill would limit initial opioid prescription for post-acute care to a maximum of ten days in order to help ensure responsible management of pain during recovery.
Finally, in his speech, President Trump also spoke about the Rural Prosperity Task Force. This task force was established by the president last year to identify ways to help improve life in rural America and brought together more than 21 federal agencies and local leaders. In its final report, released yesterday, the task force identified over 100 regulatory, legislative and policy changes that the federal government can make to build a better rural America. The main focus of the task force’s recommendations were 1) connectivity for rural America; 2) quality of life improvement; 3) support for a rural workforce; 4) innovation in technology; and 5) economic development. President Trump isn’t wasting any time getting started on the task force’s recommendations. As soon as he finished his speech, he signed two executive orders to address connectivity for rural America by streamlining and expediting requests for broadband facilities, and by supporting broadband tower facilities. I know there are more great things to come from this task force, and I thank President Trump and Secretary Purdue for their hard work on behalf of rural communities around the country.
This past year economic growth has surged. Employment is at a 17-year low and the stock market is hitting all-time highs. We’re fighting to leave a stronger America for future generations, and our work is just beginning. I was very inspired by President Trump’s remarks, and I thank our president for keeping his promise to prioritize the communities around the country who were forgotten or ignored by the previous administration. You are no longer forgotten, and I will proudly stand with the president to fight for you as long as I have the privilege of serving in Congress.

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