In a gala Americans United for Life is sponsoring tonight, pro-life champion and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith will receive the 2012 Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award for his leadership on pro-life issues in the House of Representatives.
“Congressman Smith has shown unfailing, unflinching leadership for life throughout his 3 decades in Congress,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of AUL.
“Congressman Chris Smith’s heroic defense of life during his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives includes his fight to end taxpayer-funding of abortion, his steadfast leadership to safeguard the health and safety of women against the harmful effects of abortion, and his work to defend the human rights of all human beings both domestically and internationally,” Yoest said. “On Capitol Hill, Chris Smith has also joined AUL in calling for an investigation into the misuse of taxpayer funds by the abortion industry, a truly bipartisan effort.”
The approaching 20th anniversary of Planned Parenthood v. Casey also contributed to Congressman Smith’s selection for the award, Yoest noted.
Twenty years ago, in 1992, AUL had the privilege of representing Congressman Smith and several of his colleagues, including Speaker John Boehner and former Congressman Henry Hyde, in an amicus curiae brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in the historic Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. Although Casey failed to overturn Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement retrenched and the Americans United for Life legal team crafted a legal strategy focused on an enhanced state-based legislative emphasis that has resulted in the enactment of pro-life protections that have saved countless lives.
At this year’s Defender of Life award ceremony, AUL will celebrate Congressman Smith’s essential and indispensable leadership at the forefront of the life movement, unrelenting and unflagging in his determination to reduce abortion and expose its evils.
Speaker John Boehner hailed his colleague and applauded him for his heroic pro-life efforts.
“For more than 30 years, Congressman Chris Smith has been a fearless and passionate pro-life advocate,” Boehner said. “He has been a consistent voice for the voiceless and has fought to ensure that the United States’ domestic and international policy is to protect innocent human life.”
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Boehner added: “As the co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, Chris’s mission is to educate—and sometimes warn—his Congressional colleagues about any effort to undermine hard-earned legislative or legal victories. As the 2010 recipient of the ‘Henry Hyde Defender of Life’ award, I know of no other member who deserves this award more than Chris Smith. The esteem with which Chris is held in the pro-life community testifies to his character and his perseverance. It is an honor to work with him and I congratulate him for this high honor.”
Boehner was the 2010 recipient of the award given to recognize elected officials who demonstrate leadership within the pro-life movement.
The Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award was established to honor the legacy of Representative Henry J. Hyde (1924-2007). Hyde, former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was a renowned pro-life leader and author of the original Hyde Amendment. Representative Hyde also served as Honorary Chairman at Americans United for Life. Each year, this prestigious award is presented to someone who demonstrates outstanding leadership in the cause of Life.