Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the October issue of Townhall Magazine.
Don’t ever step between a grandmother and her grandchild. When Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) brought an ultrasound of her grandson to the Senate floor in July to speak against S. 1696, a bill that would override nearly all federal and state laws limiting abortion, the image spoke much louder than any written testimony.
Blackburn knew the consequences of S. 1696 would be fatal. Third-trimester bans on abortion, limits on abortion after five months of pregnancy, and laws against sex-selection abortion would be lifted as a result of the inappropriately named Women’s Health Protection Act. Thankfully for the representative, she found a friend in technology.
“When you look at science and how science has changed the debate on life, it’s just important to make that a part of the debate and the statement. I talk with women not just in my district, but around the country. When they hear that heartbeat, when they view that ultrasound, and especially with the 3-D ultrasound, they can see what that baby looks like and it is just such an amazing gift that we have the opportunity to have that knowledge—those first glimpses of that child.”
With such a window to the womb, Blackburn insists it’s hard to deny the humanity of the unborn.
“It’s really pretty incredible that science has opened that window and that opportunity to say yes indeed, this is a child. This is a child who is created and loved and vibrant and living and here is that child. So, it’s exciting.”
So, what led her to that profound moment that seemed to silence her fellow members of Congress? Well, her trip to Capitol Hill started on a farm in south Mississippi.
“We had great parents who really believed that you give back more than you take and you leave things in better shape than you found them. And those are a big part of my value system. In that, we were regularly participants in doing things that make the community better. Whether it was being active in our church or school or 4-H club. Making certain that we were always there as part of the political process. We were all in if you will.”
Blackburn moved to Nashville, Tennessee for a job, and after getting married, she and her husband started a young Republicans organization in suburban Nashville.
She was surprised to realize that was just the beginning of her political foray.
“While I was the county party chairman, I wanted to really build a strong and vibrant Republican Party. I enjoyed doing it, being on the backside of things. I was very active, just didn’t think I’d run for office.”
She did more than run. In 2002, she won a seat in Congress for Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District and now she’s leading the charge on a number of policy issues. In addition to her fight for life, for instance, she is helping to manage our broken borders by calling for a reversal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which delays action against undocumented children.
Blackburn’s passion for fixing our country’s ills stems from the concerned letters she receives from constituents.
“People will write and talk about how fearful they are this country is slipping away from us. We hear a lot too about the state of the economy. We hear a bit about Obamacare and the impact it is having on employers, on insurance providers, on physicians, and hospitals. We hear from people who were forced into Obamacare that now have an insurance card but they don’t have access to the physician. They have access to the card, but not access to the physician.”
As a mother and grandmother, she can relate to her fellow Americans’ woes.
“I think a lot of people are like me, they put their head on the pillow at night, they say their prayers and they pray for this country, and for their children and grandchildren to know the America they have known, and to have the ability to grow up in freedom with a certain expectation of freedom.”
Part of that freedom means time to enjoy some leisure. Blackburn looks forward to cooking for her family every Sunday and boasts a “mean chocolate chip cookie.” She’s also found weeds to pull outside of the nation’s capital.
“I love to garden—and do a lot of it. I just love to go out and dig out the dirt. It’s a good healthy activity. And I enjoy needlepoint and spending time with my grandchildren.”
Based on the ultrasound she brought into Congress, it appears she also likes hanging out with her grandchildren while working. •