GOP lawmaker to leave open SOTU seat to protest abortion

Greg Nash

A top conservative lawmaker will leave his guest seat for the State of the Union in the House chamber empty to protest abortions.

President Obama is similarly leaving one of his guest seats empty to honor the victims of gun violence, a week after announcing executive actions to expand background checks on gun purchases.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is countering the president's gesture with one of his own to highlight opposition to abortion.

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“I have reserved it to commemorate the lives of more than 55 million aborted babies, 'the chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world,’” King said in a statement hours before Tuesday’s speech.

King, for his part, won’t be in the House chamber for President Obama’s final State of the Union address. Instead, he says, he’ll be praying in the Capitol chapel near the rotunda for a new president who aligns more with his views.

“I will be in the Member's chapel praying for God to raise up a leader whom he will use to restore the Soul of America,” King said.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Iowa), who will not be attending the speech to stay on the presidential campaign trail, also proposed leaving a seat empty to mark opposition to abortion.

“If I’m elected POTUS, there’ll be an empty seat for the over 50 million unborn children killed since Roe,” Cruz tweeted last Friday. 

King has endorsed Cruz in the GOP presidential primary. 

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