By Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
New Legislation Promotes a Culture of Life
Each January, along with millions of Americans, I observe Sanctity of Life Month. Across Mississippi, churches, nonprofits, and elected officials are commemorating the cause that began over fifty years ago when Roe v Wade was wrongly decided. Since 1973, the movement has evolved, but our core values remain the same.
I am continuing to promote policies that protect life at all stages. In Congress, my colleagues and I are fighting the Biden administration’s pro-abortion efforts, and we are working to facilitate adoption services.
Biden Administration Tries to Make Abortion Decisions for the States
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ended one phase of the pro-life movement and launched us into another. The ruling returned abortion policy deliberation to the people and their elected representatives. But to no one’s surprise, the Biden administration has spent the last year and a half trying to reclaim that power for themselves.
Before the ink dried on the Dobbs opinion, the president’s appointees began looking for workarounds. Bureaucrats at the Pentagon incorrectly claimed abortion restrictions would prevent more women from enlisting, diminishing our military capabilities. In response, they unveiled a policy to reimburse service women who travelled across state lines to receive an abortion.
For decades, Congress has retained the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. The travel policy violates that law, and we have learned it is also unnecessary.
If abortion access is such a problem for military members, we could reasonably expect widespread usage of the Pentagon’s travel policy. Instead, only 12 women – of nearly 230,000 female active-duty service members – have taken advantage of the program. It has become clear that the president is simply engaged in a poorly-disguised attempt to expand abortion access on the peoples’ dime.
The president’s officials are also threatening to bar states from distributing federal funds to pro-life pregnancy centers. These organizations generously provide free services to low-income families, and most of their staff are volunteers. The Biden administration’s commitment to the pro-choice cause blinds them to the ways these organizations help their communities and save taxpayers’ money. I am working with Senator Hyde-Smith and others to oppose the Biden administration’s effort.
Helping Every Child Find a Home
In the wake of the Dobbs ruling, Mississippi has enacted commendable “culture of life” laws that support babies, mothers, and families. Among them are incentives for adoption and foster care. At the federal level, I am also supporting two bills that would make it easier for more children to be welcomed into loving homes.
The first piece of legislation would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against faith-based adoption agencies. Democratic presidents have sought to limit the funding religious agencies receive, but I am working to secure permanent protections for these organizations.
Another bill would benefit small adoption facilitators. Today, agencies of all sizes must undergo an expensive process to receive certification. But some providers perform only a few key functions, making much of the certification training unnecessary. This legislation would create a narrower, more affordable certificate, lowering costs that burden many small-town agencies.
Honoring a Pioneer
Over the holidays, Mississippi lost a champion in the pro-life movement. Don Wildmon, Tupelo resident and founder of the American Family Association, passed away days after Christmas. He lived to see the dismantling of Roe and its most joyous result: Since June 2022, approximately 30,000 babies have been born in our country who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to experience life. Don’s vision drives us to continue the work we will celebrate all month long.