By Julian Pecquet - 01/24/11 06:57 PM EST
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) vowed Monday to leverage the "biggest and the most pro-life freshman class in memory" to institute a "permanent government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion."
Cantor told the tens of thousands of anti-abortion protesters in town for the annual March for Life event that the legislation faces "an uphill battle in the Senate and in the White House," but that "the people's House will stand unapologetically for life."
About a dozen lawmakers addressed the crowd for the annual protest that marks the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, was the first to speak. He vowed to press forward with his bill that establishes a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion and for healthcare plans that cover abortion.
"We need your help in persuading the abortion president, who put abortion in ObamaCare — not withstanding a flawed executive order — to get this legislation passed," Smith said.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he'd introduce legislation Tuesday that establishes in law that human life begins at conception. Wicker argues that the Supreme Court did not tie the hands of Congress in its Roe vs. Wade decision, because its decision left unresolved the question of when life begins and explicitly acknowledged that if "personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."
The bill currently has five co-sponsors — Republican Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Roy Blunt (Mo.) — with more expected to join after the bill is formally introduced. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House last week.