REMEMBERING LINDY BOGGS
Over the past month, we have seen many tributes written about the inspirational and humble Lindy Boggs. The personal stories and memorials honor her career and her character as a legislator, a mother, a mentor, and a friend. She passed away on July 27, 2013 at the age of 97.
We are all greatly inspired by her many accomplishments and her advocacy for women's rights and civil rights. I was surprised, however, not to hear more about her pro-life views. She clearly opposed abortion, but I was expecting a great quote or an inspirational speech espousing the reasons she opposed abortion. It could have been that the media decided not to focus or acknowledge her position as a pro-life Democrat.
As I read the many tributes, I began to realize that while the many tributes did not mention her opposition to abortion, they did not need to say anything. She did not need some grand explanation because her whole life position was so clear. She understood what many pro-life advocates fail to recognize today: there is more to opposing abortion than putting arguments in a political advertisement or using a sound bite to win an election. Lindy Boggs represented and voted a whole-life philosophy, not for political reasons or to gain an advantage, but because she believed that life was valuable. She understood the necessity of providing tools for families to prosper and succeed.
She possessed an understanding that women and families who faced unplanned pregnancies and single mothers raising children needed more support. She voted, lived, and acted with kindness, always extending a helping hand or advocating for a legislative initiative that would help and support people.
She voted for and supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited federal funding of abortion. However, she also fought for pay equity and health care equity for women- including breast and cervical cancer screenings. She advocated against domestic violence and for food programs to assist low-income families. She opposed the death penalty and advocated for people at every stage of development no matter their race, their age, or their disability.
When the House of Representatives was considering, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, a bill to prohibit creditors from discriminating against applicants, she understood right away that there was an oversight. As a new Member, she authored an amendment to include sex and marital status as protected from discrimination under the Act. Her amendment passed without a single nay vote after she handed a copy of the Amendment and spoke to each Member of the Committee about this oversight. As a widow, she understood the importance for women, particularly single women, to have access to credit.
"The committee takes very seriously its responsibility to provide for the health and well-being of our country, especially for its vulnerable populations-the children, the disadvantaged, the elderly, and the handicapped. I have often said that if you educate your children and take care of the health of your people, you live in the strongest country in the world."
Lindy Boggs led by example. As pro-life Democrats, we must carry on this tradition to embrace support for the whole person from conception to natural death.