Thursday, July 29, 2010

Congressman Chris Smith; pro-life hero

Since Rep Henry Hyde, there has been no Catholic statesman who deserves the title of Catholic hero like Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ). Kristen Hawkins of Students for Life will be awarding him a pro-life Wilberforce award tomorrow, and he richly deserves it. As I said in my article in Canticle Magazine, he is a living example of what can happen when a Catholic man of conviction takes office. May we send him many pro-life cohorts this November. God bless you Chris, you are a great man, who is exactly the type of man to fill the shoes of William Wilberforce.

Kristan Hawkins describes his latest efforts to keep Obama from expanding abortion through health care, and then details his noble career.

Tomorrow, Students for Life of America is honoring U.S. Congressman Chris Smith for his tireless efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the unborn and their mothers. At the 3rd Annual SFLA Summer Social in Arlington, Virginia (, Con. Smith will be awarded the Wilberforce Leadership Award.

As the chair of the bi-partisan Pro-Life Caucus in the House of Representatives, Con. Smith has lead all of the pro-life battles in Congress for decades. He is the key leader within in the pro-life movement and is responsible for saving thousands of lives through his legislative efforts.

I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Congressman Smith. He is a true hero for Life and human rights worldwide. In fact, tomorrow, Con. Smith will be introducing a new piece of legislation, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (, to ensure no federal taxpayer funds pay for abortions. Read more about all Con. Smith has done below.

Today, would you take 1 minute and write him a thank you e-mail? E-mail Con. Smith at!
and tell him thanks for all of his hard work over years to save the unborn. Let Con. Smith know how much you appreciate his tirelessly dedication to the pro-life movement.

Thank you for dedication to abolishing abortion in America.
For Life,

Kristan Hawkins

Executive Director

P.S. - The Wilberforce Leadership Award is named for William Wilberforce who was a member of the British Parliament who lead the abolition movement in Britain. Wilberforce worked for 26 years in Parliament to abolish the slave trade and finally passed the Slave Trade Act in 1807, abolishing slave trade within the British Empire.

Biography of Congressman Chris Smith

Now in his 15th term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the dean of the New Jersey delegation. First elected in 1980, Rep. Smith, 57, represents New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes parts of Mercer, Ocean, Burlington and Monmouth Counties in the central part of the state. Congressman Smith and his wife Marie have together dedicated their personal and public lives to fight against threats to human rights and to advance respect for the dignity and intrinsic value of each and every human life worldwide.

Rep. Smith is best known in Congress for his work to protect the vulnerable: such as women, children, veterans, disabled persons, the unborn, the poor, political prisoners of conscience or religion, and the elderly. His list of legislative accomplishments continues to grow, including groundbreaking new laws on issues such as health care for veterans, human rights, terrorism prevention, combating human trafficking and violence against women. The Congressman’s active legislative and constituent service agenda is born out of his faith. He often cites Matthew 25 saying “Christ said whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, you do likewise to me.” It has been the cornerstone and motivating factor in his congressional portfolio from his leadership on the pro-life issue to his work increasing healthcare and benefits for veterans, fighting for the oppressed throughout the world, protecting women and children caught up in sex-trade, supporting living wages, worker protections, child health programs and a safe and clean environment. He is the author of over 30 laws including: America’s three landmark anti-trafficking laws which have created new penalties for traffickers and new protections for the victims, mostly women and children; as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws shaping state department programs, embassy security and health care.
Throughout his tenure in Congress and as the former Chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on Human Rights, and Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Rep. Smith has played and continues to play a key role in promoting religious freedom and other human rights reforms in Romania, Vietnam, China, the Sudan, Cuba, Ethiopia, Northern Ireland, the Congo and elsewhere.

Mr. Smith’s commitment to protecting the unborn is a vital component of his human rights agenda. He passionately believes that the most fundamental human right is the right to life. Through his role as a legislator, the congressman actively works to protect universal human rights for all—from womb to tomb.

Serving as co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus for 25 years, Rep. Smith has been a leader in the advancement of numerous pro-life legislative initiatives as well as being constantly vigilant in fighting anti-life efforts.

Congressman Smith is the author of the Smith Federal Employee Health Benefits amendment which was first passed as an annual “appropriations rider” in 1982 and, despite efforts to rescind the policy, has been retained every year since except FY94-95. The Smith Amendment prevents taxpayer funding of abortions through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

For many years, Mr. Smith has been at the forefront of passing and protecting other “appropriations riders” which must be retained annually to prohibit federal funding of abortion and protect and promote the culture of life. In 2010, Smith introduced legislation to make “riders” that prohibit funding for abortion permanent and government-wide. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” is a comprehensive bill that if enacted will reduce the need for numerous separate abortion funding policies and ensure that no program or agency is exempt from this important safeguard.
As the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, which became law in 2005, Rep. Smith is an untiring advocate for ethical and effective stem cell treatments and research using umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells. These non-controversial stem cells—which are derived without killing human embryos—can be used to treat a host of diseases, and the congressman remains committed to ensuring that adequate funds are appropriated to fund this important program. When the House Appropriations Committee dramatically underfunded the program in 2007, Rep. Smith offered an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act to increase funding. The Smith stem cell amendment passed without objection.

Rep. Smith has been a long time champion of the U.S. “Mexico City Policy” which prevents foreign abortion providers and promoters from receiving U.S. federal taxpayer dollars. He led the fight to protect this administrative policy during the Reagan Administration and both Bush Administrations. When the Clinton Administration rescinded the policy, Mr. Smith made every effort to reinstate it legislatively and, in 1999, he succeeded in getting the policy reinstated for FY00. The policy has been in place every year of President George W. Bush’s presidency, but President Obama made overturning it a top priority, and rescinded it during his first 48 hours in office. The policy remains rescinded despite legislative attempts by Rep. Smith and others to reinstate it. These efforts have come in the face of persistent and vicious attacks from pro-abortion media and lobbyists.
Congressman Smith believes that women have a right to know that their child has the capacity to feel excruciating pain during an abortion and has introduced legislation to ensure proper informed consent for women seeking an abortion. His groundbreaking legislation, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, was considered in the House in the 109th Congress, but was not enacted. Rep. Smith continues to work for the passage of this common-sense legislation, and is a key advocate for passage of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, the Custody Protection Act and the Human Cloning Prohibition Act. He also tirelessly promoted the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Born Alive-Infant Protection Act and Unborn Victims of Violence Act – all of which have been enacted into law.

In addition to his work in defense of life in Washington, Rep. Smith has attended numerous U.N. forums, and travels worldwide promoting the rights of unborn children and other disenfranchised persons.

Rep. Smith has been involved in the pro-life movement since his days at Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) where he co-founded the Trenton State Pro-Life Committee. Upon graduation, Smith became Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.

Mr. Smith is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Republican on the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee and has authored numerous human rights laws in addition to his Trafficking Victims Protection Act and two subsequent laws enhancing the fight against human trafficking. He is the co-founder and co-chairman of the bipartisan Internet Freedom Caucus, which promotes free use of the internet around the world and fights repression for political, religious and other reasons.

The congressman also served a chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee where he proved to be a strong legislative powerhouse force, writing 13 laws to expand veterans programs and benefits in the areas of health care, housing, widows benefits, post-service employment and assistance to homeless veterans.

In addition to his work on human rights and veterans, Rep. Smith is very active in several environmental, healthcare and other issues. He has authored numerous bills and amendments enhancing the federal role in these matters and serves as Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Alzheimer's Task Force, the Coalition for Autism Research and Education, the Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus and the Lyme Disease Caucus.
Congressman Smith and his wife are the proud parents of four children and two grandchildren.

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