House Speaker Mike Johnson: ‘My parents were teenagers when I was born’ a year before Roe

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CNA Staff, Jan 22, 2024 / 19:00 pm

House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke with EWTN News on the eve of the March for Life about his belief “in the sanctity of every human life at all stages” and shared a bit about his personal history.

“I’m the product of an unplanned pregnancy. My parents were teenagers when I was born, exactly one year before Roe v. Wade in 1972, in January,” Johnson told Capitol Hill correspondent Erik Rosales in an interview that aired Monday on “EWTN News Nightly.”

“Often we talk about the unborn, which is certainly important because we believe life has value from the moment of conception because it’s our Creator that gives us that and gives us our value,” Johnson said. “But it’s all the way through every stage of life.”

“This is an important thing to support young mothers who are in times of crisis in unplanned situations, to support families, to support them all the way through the pregnancy,” he said. 

“And then after, we need to be promoting adoption, cutting red tape that hinders the foster children system. So there’s a lot of work to do to build a culture of life.”

Johnson said Congress also has a role to play in protecting the pro-life community from attacks. In the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many pregnancy resource centers were victimized by arson attacks and acts of vandalism

“We have to, again, bring accountability,” he said. “We have a very important responsibility here in Congress to ensure that the rule of law is maintained, to ensure that the inherent and fundamental freedoms of all people are respected.”

The speaker pointed out that religious freedom is “literally the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights,” which he said was “not by accident.”

“The founders understood that was essential not only to who we are as Americans but to who we are as human beings,” he told Rosales. 

“And so Congress has a role to advance that, to maintain those founding principles and to defend them at all costs.”

The weaponization of the U.S. government

Johnson also told EWTN that Congress needs to hold government institutions accountable for incidents like last year’s controversial federal investigation into traditionalist U.S. Catholics.

Rosales asked Johnson about last year’s revelations that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had circulated a memorandum that described an investigation into traditionalist Catholics for possible ties to domestic terrorist activities. 

The memorandum was the subject of hearings held by the House Judiciary Committee and its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. FBI Director Christopher Wray said in December that the bureau “[does] not and will not conduct investigations based on anybody’s exercise of their constitutionally protected religious [expression].” 

Johnson told Rosales that lawmakers describe the FBI as “weaponized” because “that’s exactly what it is.” Congress “[has] to bring accountability for agencies that have been spun out of control,” he said.

“It’s alarming,” Johnson said. “So we’ve called it out, we’ve drawn attention to it, and we’re demanding accountability for those who are in charge to ensure that those abuses of our agencies don’t happen again.”

“Ultimately, what’s at stake here is the people’s belief in our institutions, their faith in our institutions of government,” Johnson continued. “And that faith is at an all-time low right now. That’s what the polling shows. And that’s a very dangerous thing.” 

“To keep a constitutional republic — a government of, by, and for the people — the people have to believe that their justice system is fair and that they’re not picking on or discriminating against people of faith. And we’ve got to make sure that that happens,” Johnson concluded.

“EWTN News Nightly” airs weekday evenings at 6 p.m. ET.


Daniel Payne

Daniel Payne is a senior editor at Catholic News Agency. He previously worked at the College Fix and Just the News. He lives in Virginia with his family.

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