Creating Public Policy So Life Can Flourish | Lila Rose at the 2022 Lawmakers Summit

Creating Public Policy So Life Can Flourish | Lila Rose at the 2022 Lawmakers Summit


Thank you, all. Thanks, Noah. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Today has really been an honor to get to spend with all of you.

There are some  extraordinarily high caliber people in this room, with hearts of gold, with sharp minds, and most importantly, the determination to forge a new path for this country.

And I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for being, for making our first annual Lawmaker’s Summit such a success. Thank you. So let me just give a round of applause for all of our speakers today for all of you.

Thank you. And I also just want a big shout out to Noah for his yeoman’s work to make this happen. Where’s Noah? There he is, hiding the back. And Stacey, you saw her. Here she is serving coffee. I mean, Stacey’s been phenomenal. Thank you, Stacey. Thank you, Stacey. And another man behind the scenes, Joseph Fliparcio. Joseph, thank you.

And Devin. Devin, of course. So thank you, all of you. It’s just, it’s been a delight. And, you know, this is, this is really the beginning. This is the beginning, not just for what we hope to do to support legislatures across the country, but it’s in many ways the beginning of the pro-life movement, a new beginning of our movement in this post-Roe America. 

And I want to go back 10 years, do a quick trip down memory lane when I was a very much younger and in some ways scrappier, but other ways just to say less-experienced activist. So I was just graduating college and I was walking the halls of Congress or stalking the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

I spent four miserable years in D .C. before moving back to California. There are some joys, but there are also many miseries. I was there because the big goal at the time was  to put politically on the mapthe defunding of Planned Parenthood. Because at the time, Planned Parenthood was untouchable. I mean, 10 plus years ago, you didn’t criticize Planned Parenthood.

And lawmakers, certainly, that wasn’t acceptable to criticize. Because they were helping women, right? They were  saving lives. They weren’t talked about as the biggest abortion chain in the country. And the Republican Party hadn’t made it a focus to unroot the abortion funding from across their country.

It was existing in state legislatures across the country, and it was actually Tennessee. Where’s Tennessee? Yeah, Tennessee was one of the first states in the nation in 2010 to defund Planned Parenthood, right here at this table. So it was 2020, 2021, 10 years ago, it was 2011, and it was after we released a lot of investigative reporting of Planned Parenthood, I’m in D .C., we wanted to get the first vote in the House of Representatives to defund Planned Parenthood, that was the goal, make it politically possible to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level.

And I was in a meeting, one of these kind of off-the-record meetings in D .C., where they go in a basement, and they drink wine, and they talk.I don’t know about the wine, but they were talking a lot, and, y’know, some very important people were in the room, and I was there. And there was this chief of staff for the then-Speaker of the House, if anybody wants to do the math and think about who that would have been. 

And the speaker of the House, God bless his heart, was explaining passionately why they couldn’t defund Planned Parenthood, and keep in mind this is a GOP -led house, right, you know, GOP majority house, woohoo, look at us, we’re a majority, what are you gonna do with your majority guys, right? And he was complaining, he was telling us, and I’m there saying Planned Parenthood did x, Planned Parenthood is just caught on tape, not just covering up sex trafficking, but actually talking with traffickers of young girls, explaining how they can use abortion services and contraceptives to continue to exploit young girls, I mean, really horrific things.

We have to defund them, they’re getting half a billion dollars a year in federal tax dollars, right? And so I’m there hopeful, like,  this is the moment,  because if it happens at the federal level, even just in the House, we can make it happen more in the States, right, we gotta create the wave, the momentum. 

So I’m there, given my case, and some other people backing me up, and the speaker of the House, see, you know, chief of staff gets up there, and he says, “Guys, guys.” 

 – Why don’t you just say what state?  – 

We’ll just leave that off-the-record. You guys can do the math, you do the math. But he says, “Guys, guys, listen, “it’s just very difficult to do.” And I’m saying, they’re like, “What’s he gonna say? “Is he gonna go for it?” He says, “Listen, ’cause we needed the Speaker of the house to get behind this, right?” And he says, “Listen, guys, guys, if we defund Planned Parenthood, “it’s gonna be on the front page of Politico.” 

And I was like, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I mean, that was my naivetë, I’m like, okay. And he’s like, “so we can’t do it. No, we can’t do it.” And I was like, okay, is this really happening to me?

I graduate college, I come to D .C. to try to change the world, and they’re telling me that Politico, which I had never even heard of, no one cares about it in the rest of the country, Politico is running the United States of America? The front page of Politico?

In the next few weeks, we succeeded in getting the first bipartisan majority vote in the House of Representatives to defund Planned Parenthood. So, you know, they say, and I’ve talked with some of you, and  there’s a saying, you’ve heard it, I’m sure, as state legislators, as politicians, and those working in politics, that politics is the art of the possible, right? You’ve heard it. But I say politics is the art of defining the possible, right? We do not let our opponents define what is possible, because if we do, what happens? We lose, we lose every time. And so it’s on us to define what is possible, to seize what is possible.

And when we have the truth, and also the compassion of the fight for life that we believe in behind us, we can make not just the possible, possible, not just the impossible, seemingly impossible,possible, but we can make it beautiful. We can make it winsome for this country, and we can change the country through that, right? That’s what you all can do.

You have the power with your pen and with the words that you speak to literally save lives. We’ve been entrusted with that power here. Some of you are already doing it and have succeeded to do it in places like Texas.

It’s an amazing gift that we’ve been entrusted with. Whether you’re a lawmaker or you have an ability to communicate, no matter our role, we can save lives in today America because there’s so many lives at risk.

The battlefield is great. And we can also envision what some would say is impossible, we can envision it as not only the possible, but the necessary, right? Because this country, as great as it is, as beautiful as it is, we’ve had many failings in our history, and we’ve worked to rectify them over time.

We’ve failed, we’ve rectified, we’ve failed, we’ve rectified. And I want to speak to you specifically about four American epochs, EPOCH, not EPIC. 

Epoch is a historic moment that captures a generation that defines, you could say, a generation. And I want to go through four American epochs tonight with you, walk you through them to enter us into the epoch that we are in today that each one of you specifically are leaders in today. Because, this is a special moment in our American history where we can not only define what is possible, but we can change the course of this history towards one that embraces human lives instead of rejecting them, which is what our country has done for the last 50 years since Roe is the savagery, the savagery of abortion, permitting it. And so, you know, our country, America, is based on ideals. I think we’re proud of that. We’re based on ideals that are not only beautiful, but ideals that have been seared into our hearts by, I believe, God. 

It’s the natural law that’s been given to us, the consciences that we have. There’s a sense of right and wrong that’s seared into our heart. And from that, we get things like the ideas that came to us in our Declaration of Independence, upon which this American beautiful experiment was founded. And our American epochs are moments when American ideals have prevailed or when American ideals have failed.

And so, looking back, let’s start with the Declaration of Independence. It was surely the first epic. And the words, we all know these words, we hold these truths to be self -evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

These words began an epoch and they still impact us today, dearly impact us. The Gettysburg Address was another epoch. Given during one of our greatest national tragedies, the Civil War, where we mercilessly killed one another in the millions, the death toll  over two million, in order to fulfill, ultimately, the founding enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. It was a war over what did it really mean to be American?

What are the rights that were really promised us, black or white? And at Gettysburg, President Lincoln said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here had thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, “that from these honored dead, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their last full measure of devotion. That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

Some say that this is the most, at least one of the most consequential, it is one of the most consequential speeches in American history, but some say it’s more consequential in our memory than even the entire war. It’s what we remember, we remember this speech by President Lincoln.

And President Lincoln was wrong, though. He was wrong that the world would little note nor long remember what he said that day because we remember, and then a new epoch began. See, when a new epoch begins, sometimes you don’t even realize it. The people who listen and see what’s happening in the middle of a new epoch, sometimes we don’t even know what’s happening. And then we had another epoch in 1973, and you know this epoch.

And I quote from the decision. “State criminal abortion laws, like those involved here, that accept from criminality only a life-saving procedure on the mother’s behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy. These are the words of Justice Harry Blackman, writing for the majority in the case Roe v. Wade. Over 50 million dead since then. The death toll in the Civil War and any American war doesn’t even compare.

Like it or not, Roe was an epoch and in the same nation that had previously defined her national character by expansions of freedom and protection of the rights of peoples, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, we now had legalized the killing of innocent children. This was now the stain on our national charter. And instead of exporting freedom, America became one of the greatest exporters of death for children, expanding death, paying for the deaths of children globally, as well as here in the United States. The Roe v. Wade epoch was finally ended on June 24th this year when the United States Supreme Court, led in a majority by Justice Samuel Alito, wrote– let’s hear it from Justice Alito– 

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled until the latter part of the 20th century, such a right was entirely unknown in the American law. Indeed, when the 14th Amendment was adopted, three -quarters of the states made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy. The abortion right is also critically different from any other right that this court has held to fall within the 14th Amendment’s protection of liberty. Roe’s defenders characterize the abortion right as similar to rights recognized in past. But abortion is fundamentally different as both Roe and Casey acknowledged because it destroys what those decisions called fetal life and what the law now before us describes as unborn human beings.” 

And so, with those words, welcome to our new post Roe v. Wade epoch, an era, an epoch that will be defined by the brave actions of the men and women in this room tonight.

You see, we have the power now to define this new epoch, this new post Roe v. Wade epoch. And we are blessed to be living in this time of truly limitless opportunity in our country, not just because we’re Americans blessed to be in this country, but limitless opportunity to forge a path forward legally and culturally for the protection of all human life, for the reverencing of all human life.

We heard some amazing speeches today, content about the 14th Amendment, Josh Craddock, Erica here, Josh Hammer, spoke about that the Constitution already is clear. It already is clear just like their declaration was clear and our history, our story of the last hundreds of years has been acknowledging what the Founders originally intended, originally wrote and that could have imagined , expanding those protections for all people so that no person would be left behind And before I get into three things that I think I want to leave you with tonight for the forward path that we have  before us, I want to take a note on law, o talk about law for a minute. 

You’re lawmakers here. So this is not news to you, but I find this concept particularly important for us. What is the purpose of law?  The purpose of law, someone said, to protect life, to protect life …the purpose of law, especially in a society where we have you have the strong, you have the weak, the purpose of law is to protect the weak.

Ultimately, we have rule of law to curb the worst excesses of the human heart, right? And those in power that can wield that power to harm others we want to curb that power , and the purpose of law is to protect our freedom, to what with our freedom? To do the-the good, our freedom is given to us so that we can do the good, not so that we can do the bad, and with our rights come what? Responsibilities. 

And so, laws that are weaponized against the weak are ultimately no laws at all. They are unjust and there are no laws at all And so now we have the opportunity to make laws to do what they are intended what they should be doing, which is to protect the most vulnerable who can’t fend for themselves. Who need the protection of rule of law and order so that they too can be free, so that they too can live and grow and enjoy this beautiful world and this beautiful America, this beautiful country and the promise that it has. 

And so, we must define what is possible, we must unite our house divided because our country is divided and we must save every child, valorize parenthood and make America a more welcoming place to raise a family. And so three things here, three…our action plan, and many of you spoke to this or heard this already or you’re working on aspects of this, but number one, we have to save every child. We have to save every child, we cannot leave a single child behind. Every child is a life, every child matters. 

And so our Save Every Child Act, abortion abolition, the complete legal protection of the preborn, and also the 14th amendment state resolution,  reaffirms what the Constitution already says about equal protection under the law for all, right? 

Number two, we have to valorize parenthood. There is conversation today, wonderful conversation today, but very convicting conversation today about how mothers and fathers, how they have this lower status in our society or our society obsessed with success and prestige, and even education and wealth and fame, and, you know, physical health or beauty, all these things and instead we forget that what ultimately brings us joy as human beings is our relationshipshat brings us the most meaning, is our families. And so valorize parenthood,valorize and celebrate motherhood and fatherhood. And part of that is forging a path to  reclaiming the idea that matters. Marriage matters.

It’s a proven fact born out in hundreds of social studies that this God -given institution has been given to us for our flourishing and that it’s not only best, children  don’t only fare best when they have a mother and when they have a father, so that children don’t just need a mother and a father, but children need a mother and a father who love each other and who are married and who sacrifice for each other and that children hurt most when they don’t have that.

This is an unpopular truth in many parts of our society today, but it’s a necessary one not only for the sake of children, but for the sake of adults, for our sakes, too.

Harvard did the most longitudinal study on happiness over almost 100 years, following different groups of men to find out what actually makes them happy. They took away factors like their health and their wealth and their socioeconomic status, even how they were raised and they found that the single most defining factor for happiness wasn’t how well they were educated, where they grew up, who their parents were. The single most defining factor for happiness was whether or not those men had found ultimately who would be the love of their lives in monogamous lifelong marriages.

That relationships ultimately, not just any relationship, not just a relationship for a year, but that sacrificial, loving, lifelong commitment to another was what ultimately brought them the stability, the security, and the meaning that brings happiness. And so this is something that we have to speak for, we have to fight for, and make public policy for, and that’s the last thing: Make America a more welcoming place for families.

I was talking with one of you earlier, and you know there’s some great, fantastic ideas and thought leadership in the room, but even the idea of adoption, not celebrating adoption more, not celebrating what it means and the value that a mother brings, a working mother, not working because she’s out in office, but she’s working to raise her kids, right? Celebrate family and make this country more welcoming for families.

Our family, the American family, is our country’s greatest, most precious natural resource. And so,  make the public policy for that. We heard some great thoughts on public policy here from Erica, from Eric, from others. That is our fight. And so there’s two things, obviously, we’ve spoken to these already, but Romney Family Security Act, the Holly Parent Tax Credit, there’s some fantastic public policy innovations already in the works that we need to get behind, that we need to craft, we need to innovate on to continue to make America a more welcoming place to raise a family.

That ultimately is the culture of life, right? Anti-abortion is just to stop the killing. We got to stop the killing, the bloodletting, you know, complete legal protection for the child, protect them, but protect them for what? Protect them for life, a life there where they can flourish because their families are also supported and uplifted, right? We want flourishing human beings in this country, that’s the vision of a culture of life where life is seen as sacred and life is celebrated and life is supported. And so that’s why making America a more welcoming place to raise a family is so crucial.

I want to close with a very well -known quote that you’ll remember, but it’s so important for today. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

In the words of our great president, Lincoln, “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half -slave and half -free. I do not expect the union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

These are words of inspiration, but also words to convict us. It will become one thing or all the other. What will we become? We can’t remain in the division of abortion.

We can’t remain in the division of the killing of the most vulnerable, of this rejection of, ultimately, family. So what will we become? How will we get there? Remember, politics is not just the art of the possible. Politics  is what we define to be possible. And so what will we define?

Where will we take this new American epoch? 

Thank you all so much. Thank you.