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Opinion

Marsha Blackburn and David Vitter: Ending the travesty of taxpayer-funded abortions

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Opinion,Op-Eds

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That tragic decision -- with no act of Congress or vote of the American people -- made it the law of the land that all life is not created equal. Since its issuance, we've lost more than 55 million innocent lives.

It's important to remember that horrible day in history. It's important to grieve for the 55 million Americans we'll never know. That's why we support the March for Life -- both to express our sorrow over this injustice and to inspire each other to continue our fight for a positive culture of life.

And our message is being heard. According to the Gallup polling firm, the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as pro-life today is significantly higher than those who consider themselves pro-choice. It's so sad that, even in the face of this news, Washington continues with its radical agenda of promoting abortion.

Perhaps the single most egregious example of this disconnect is the forced taxpayer funding of abortion that is now the law of the land. That's right: Taxpayer funds are used every day to promote and enable abortions in this country. Washington's insistence that it's prohibited is a big lie. What's worse is that Americans' hard-earned money not only helps sell abortions, it also helps big abortion businesses make big profits.

Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year, almost 1 million in the past three years. Last year, federal taxpayers gave Planned Parenthood a record $542 million, which is an 11 percent increase over the past two years. Planned Parenthood receives 45 percent of its revenue from Uncle Sam. Abortion mills are dependent on the federal taxpayer to pay for their overhead and countless items necessary for them to take innocent human lives.

To put the numbers in perspective, consider that every 94 seconds, Planned Parenthood performs an abortion. In that same amount of time, the federal government gives Planned Parenthood more than $1,600.

That's why we've introduced legislation, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, in the U.S. House and Senate that would help end this de facto taxpayer funding of abortion. Our legislation would stop the Department of Health and Human Services from providing Title X grant money to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood until they certify they won't provide and refer for elective abortions.

Instead, we should use taxpayer funds to promote important options that unite all Americans, most notably adoption.

In less than two weeks, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will play in the Super Bowl. Kaepernick was adopted, just like the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Another example of the amazing opportunity of life is Justin Bieber, a pop star who was named by Forbes as the third-most-powerful celebrity in the world. Bieber's single mother was pressured to have an abortion at age 17, but she chose life and raised her son in poverty.

There's so much more work to be done. That's why we've put forth our common-sense proposal regarding Title X funds in both the U.S. House and Senate. And that's why we're so excited -- really energized -- that the pro-life movement is being led by a young generation with vitality and passion.

Every life matters, so let's show that we mean it. Let's do all that we can to help build a culture that respects the right to life as the central human rights issue of this generation.

A true end to taxpayer funding of abortion is a great place to start.

Marsha Blackburn is a U.S. congresswoman from Tennessee. David Vitter is Louisiana's junior U.S. senator. Both are Republicans.

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