Rep. Scholten’s abortion stances are not moderate

On Jan. 20, I attended Representative Hillary Scholten’s Henry Institute event. After her speech, Professor Micah Watson, director of the Henry Institute, asked her several questions regarding her votes on abortion-related policies. In response, Scholten suggested that she has a moderate stance, saying that although she wants fewer abortions to take place, the government must approach abortion reasonably.

However, her positions regarding abortion are actually quite extreme, as several of her recent statements and actions related to abortion show.

When campaigning as a strongly pro-choice candidate, endorsed and funded by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Scholten said, “I don’t know when life begins, that is a question for the ages.” Furthermore, at the Henry Institute event, she said that she does not believe abortion can be banned because that would require “a consensus on what Scripture says about exactly where life begins and preclude any decision or faith.”

Although some debate when life actually begins, an unborn child’s heart starts beating at six weeks. I ask Rep. Scholten: “Are not developing babies with beating hearts alive? Are not such children deserving of the law’s protection? If so, why did you strongly support Proposal 3, which extends abortion access well beyond six weeks?”

At the Henry Institute event, Rep. Scholten also stated that she voted against H.Res.1233, which addresses violence against pro-life organizations and churches. Her reasoning? That it did not go far enough to address violence against pro-choice institutions as well. She then said that she is co-sponsoring H.Res.27, which she said addresses violence against all health care facilities.

However, H.Res.27 does not actually protect pro-life organizations. H.Res.27’s wording specifically addresses violence against Planned Parenthood offices and abortion clinics, “health care centers,” and areas where “reproductive health care services” are sought out; furthermore, the resolution is meant to protect health care facilities and health care personnel.

But H.Res.27 does not call for protection for pro-life facilities. Significantly, many pregnancy resource centers are not officially categorized as health care facilities, and there are at least several Democrats who are calling for pregnancy resource centers to no longer be designated as health care facilities because they supposedly promote misinformation about abortion.

Does Rep. Scholten understand that this resolution likely will not protect pregnancy resource centers from violence? Why is she not exhorting her congressional colleagues to make sure that H.Res.27 specifically protects pregnancy resource centers also?

Another issue that Rep. Scholten addressed at the event was the argument she made on the Congress House Floor against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R.26), which ensures that infants born alive after an attempted abortion receive the same protection of law and degree of care as any newborn. During her argument, she recited Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Scholten emphasized that the verse refers to “the mother’s womb,” not the government’s womb.

My concern about this statement is that she actually uses this verse to oppose government regulations that would save the life of a child who is already outside the womb! If this is her position, then would she also oppose the government’s prohibition of life-endangering neglect of a born baby who is a day or even a week old? If not, what is the difference between such a baby and a baby that has just survived an attempted abortion?

Is it the location of the child, the size of the child, the child’s level of development? Or is it simply a matter of which post-birth children are wanted by their parents? Is it not the job of the state to protect such defenseless children?

Of additional note is that at the Henry Institute event, Scholten also incorrectly stated that the resolution would “take away the choice of palliative care for mothers who had had a preterm birth.” But the resolution in fact only addresses abortion, not preterm birth.

In light of these concerns, it is clear that Scholten’s positions regarding abortion and related matters are deeply problematic and inappropriate for someone like herself who is a deacon in the Christian Reformed Church, a denomination whose official position on abortion “calls believers to speak out against the atrocity of abortion” and “to promote action and legislation that reflect the teaching of Scripture regarding the sanctity of human life.” I humbly ask Rep. Scholten to prayerfully reconsider her statements and positions regarding abortion.