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We must ensure this never happens again

The right to life. It seems common sense enough that this is a right we must defend. Yet, the taking of innocent life is a practice all too common in this nation. Over 1.2 million unborn children die in abortions every year in the United States.

The recent trial and conviction of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who operated a Philadelphia abortion clinic, is a stark reminder of the horrific, reprehensible crimes committed against newborn babies and the unborn every day. Justice was served in his recent conviction, but it comes too late for the woman Kermit Gosnell killed in his clinic, the newborn babies who survived his abortions only to be murdered at his hands, and the countless unborn children lost in abortions he performed. The crimes Gosnell committed against the most innocent and vulnerable among us are unconscionable and have shocked us to our core.

What is equally troubling about this case is that the grand jury report found that numerous state and city regulatory agencies in Pennsylvania failed to monitor abortion facilities for political reasons. We must ensure this never happens again.

As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I sent a letter to the Attorneys General of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to request information about the regulation of abortion clinics and to find out if state and local governments are being stymied in their efforts to protect the civil rights of newborns and their mothers by legal or financial obstacles that are within the federal government’s power to address. If clinics like Dr. Gosnell’s were not being inspected, there are also questions about whether crimes of this nature are even being prosecuted. Therefore, I have also asked the states to provide information about the prosecution of related crimes by June 1, 2013. Federal, state, and local governments cannot idly stand by while such horrific crimes against humanity happen.

No woman, or child, should face a House of Horrors like Gosnell’s. As a federal lawmaker, a father, and a supporter of the right to life, it is important to find out whether newborn infants—who are unquestionably persons under the law—are being denied their most basic civil rights. The right to life is one far too precious not to ardently defend.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia and serves as the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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