To former Republican Rep. Mia Love, abortion represents no less than an affront to life.
At a Zoom event hosted by the Cornell College Republicans and Cornellians for Life, Love discussed her background and career as a two-term Congresswoman, but largely focused on what she sees as the importance of pro-life policies.
Love has a biography highly unique to her disproportionately white party: The daughter of Haitian immigrants, in 2014, she became the first and only Black woman to be elected to Congress as a Republican. She served for two terms in her Salt Lake City-based district before narrowly losing to Democratic opponent Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) in 2018 by a razor-thin, 700-vote margin.
That background, Love said, was key in informing her steadfast belief that abortion “kills our potential.”
“Some 41 years ago, a struggling couple arriving in America left their faltering country. It was absolutely inconvenient for them when they found out that they were going to have their third child while both had to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This couple had a choice to make. They could have made a choice to abort, but they didn’t. They chose life,” said Love — before pointing out that that child was, in fact, her.
While most of society “accepts abortion as merely healthcare,” Love said, she argued that it disempowers women, while sapping communities of potential future leaders.
“A child that’s born today may become the astronaut that takes the first human being to Mars or the CEO that leads a global business, or that child may become a friend that saves a peer from suicide or the volunteer who eradicates hunger or the teacher that inspires a struggling student,” Love said. “Every time we kill a child, we, all of us, actually suffer. We lose a little bit of ourselves and we lose a whole lot of our future.”
Love also highlighted what she said are the disproportionate impacts of abortion on communities of color, reserving particular criticism for providers such as Planned Parenthood
“We don’t know what might have been when we allow groups like Planned Parenthood to convince our young girls in inner cities that the only way that they can be empowered to save a life is by choosing to end a life,” Love said.
From a policy perspective, Love said this means “protecting life at all stages stages of development,” while maintaining exceptions in the case of rape, incest or the safety of the mother. But it also means supporting a measure that drew opposition from some religious groups: While in office, Love sponsored legislation that would make contraceptives more affordable and accessible.
Called the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act, the bill, according to Love, would have allowed women over the age of 18 to purchase birth control pills over-the-counter, while reducing their average cost from $10 to $3 dollars.
“We’re [too] short sighted when we get to the point where we have to make those [abortion] decisions,” Love said on her support of making contraceptives easier to purchase. “The more options we have in the beginning, the better it is for the woman.”
The issue of reproductive rights has once again been brought to the political forefront after President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — a decision widely believed to be motivated by Barrett’s antipathy for Roe v. Wade.
The specter of Barrett’s confirmation — which, if successful, would bring the number of conservative justices to six — has sparked renewed hope in anti-abortion quarters that the 1973 precedent will be struck down, while drawing dread from pro-choice supporters.
On this goal — one that has animated pro-life activists for decades — Love expressed reserved optimism that a future Justice Barrett would follow “her duty as a Supreme Court justice” and “protect the sanctity of life.”
According to Love, one of the biggest frustrations she faced while serving in Congress was combating the notion that opposition to abortion is purely the domain of white, conservative men.
She recalled listening to a Congressman from Massachusetts who argued that “this is nothing but a ploy of angry white men, wanting to take away the rights of women.”
Walking as quickly as possible to the Capitol floor, Love responded: “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not angry. I’m not white. And I’m not a male. What I am is a mother, and an American that is disappointed that we are here on the House floor debating about ending a 21 week pain-capable life. I hear some people advocate to end life in a way that they would be appalled if anybody advocated to end an animal’s life”