(CNSNews.com) – At a Capitol Hill briefing to announce the theme of March for Life 2016 “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand in Hand,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) cried as she related her experience as a teacher discovering that one of her students had been coerced into having an abortion.
Drawing on the pro-woman theme of the event, Hartzler related some stories from her 11 years as a teacher in Missouri, which she said were “prime examples of how the other side is not really pro-woman even though they claim to be.”
Hartzler recounted that she had a student who requested not to attend a unit she was teaching on child development, because she had recently had a miscarriage. After complying with the girl’s request, Hartzler learned the truth in a parent-teacher conference later that month.
“Sherrie (name changed) came in with her head down looking absolutely miserable with her mother,” Hartzler said. “We looked at her grades and talked about assignments.”
Hartzler recounted the mother saying, “‘Well I wanted to thank you for giving Sherrie another alternative assignment, because you know when she told us she was pregnant, I told her we are not having a child in this house, and then we’re going to go down to the clinic, and we are going to take care of that, and we did - whether you like it or not.’”
Hartzler said the mother then complained about her daughter “blubbering right now.”
“I tell you it was all I could do to restrain myself. I just wanted to embrace the girl,” Hartzler said, crying as she recalled the experience. “It’s so important that we get to the kids and the parents with accurate information as well.”
Hartzler also told a story about one of her students, who “shared with me that she was pregnant and that she had gone to Planned Parenthood the day before."
The student was “about three months along,” she said.
“She had asked them, ‘Well what does it [the unborn baby] look like,’ and they had said to her, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s just a blob of tissue,’” Hartzler said.
The girl asked Hartzler for pictures of an unborn child three weeks along, since Hartzler taught child development at the time.
Hartzler gave the girl the information, “showed her the different stages of development of a baby, and she looked at that three-month-old unborn baby, and she said, ‘Mrs. Hartzler, this isn’t a blob of tissue. This is a baby.’
“She said, ‘Why would they tell me that?’ Well, I didn’t have an answer for that,” Hartzler recounted. “She said, ‘I don’t want to have this abortion,’ and her parent was encouraging her to do that, and fortunately, she had a neighbor that, that night took her to a maternity clinic in the area, and she ended up staying there, choosing life.
“It is so important that we get knowledge out to people about the truth about abortion and about baby development, and certainly, that’s one thing I’m working on,” Hartzler emphasized.
She cited these encounters with young girls in crisis pregnancy situations as her reason for introducing a bill Tuesday to recognize “National Pregnancy Center Week,” to recognize and raise awareness for local crisis pregnancy centers.
“Pregnancy Care Centers are a shining example of what we should be doing more as Americans—individuals and communities working together to protect and promote life,” Hartzler said at the bill’s introduction. “These centers and the teams of dedicated people working tirelessly to assist women in need and save unborn lives - they deserve our admiration and support.
“From medical help, guidance, housing and material assistance, parenting lessons, emotional support, and promotion of life over abortion, roughly 2,500 pregnancy care and resource centers in America provide support and care to millions of women each and every year. It is an honor to dedicate a week to recognize their tireless efforts,” she added.