Editor’s note. On the night of February 4, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) asked the Senate for unanimous consent to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. If enacted, the bill would extend federal legal protection to babies who are born alive during an abortion. However, Senate Democrats, led by Patty Murray (D-WA), objected, stalling the bill.
We’ve reposted several responses from pro-life Republican senators asking for unanimous consent. The following is from Sen. James Lankford (R-Ok.)
Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, the Senate often does things by unanimous consent in areas in which there is really no common disagreement. This body will do a unanimous consent to congratulate the New England Patriots for winning the Super Bowl, and, unanimously, all of us will agree to congratulate them. Yet, today, the Senator from Nebraska brought up a very straightforward, simple bill: Do we as a nation permit infanticide? For some reason, the New England Patriots is noncontroversial, but the death of children at their deliveries is controversial enough that my Democratic colleagues are blocking it.
It is not some fancy, formal bill with a trick piece in it; it is a very simple, straightforward bill. Occasionally, an abortion is botched, and while they are actually trying to take the life of a child, the child is actually delivered. At that moment, the child is delivered and is on the table, crying, and the question is, Now what do we do? Current medical practice is to back away from the child and allow him to die slowly on the table because there was supposed to have been an abortion, although the child was fully delivered and was on the table, with the umbilical cord attached, crying. It doesn’t seem like this should be controversial; it seems like this should be as straightforward as congratulating the Patriots for winning the Super Bowl. How can we as Americans say no to a fully delivered child’s life?
The question about abortion has been historically a question about, when does life begin? I am one of those crazy radicals who actually believe in science. I think, when cell division is occurring and when DNA is there that is different from the mom’s and different from the dad’s, that it is actually a different human being—a smaller human being but a different human being. That is what everyone in science believes. That child who is developing is alive. The day of his birth is just another day. Now, it is a pretty traumatic day for him to transition from being inside the womb to the outside, but birth is just another day of life for that child because he is fully developed. He was developing in the womb, and he is developing outside the womb.
Every single person who can hear this has had the exact same experience of developing in the womb. This seemed like a commonsense issue until the legislators in the State of New York, a few weeks ago, stood and cheered and applauded when they passed a bill for third-trimester abortions. These are ultra-late-term abortions. This is a fully viable child abortion.
Let me review quickly what the State of New York did. There are only four countries in the world that allow late-term abortions. There are only four left—North Korea, China, Vietnam, and the United States. Those in the New York Legislature stood and cheered that they are in the middle of the human rights-depraved nations of China, North Korea, and Vietnam. That is at 24 weeks and on. At 20 weeks, there is still Canada and the Netherlands and Singapore that are left, but by 24 weeks, at that late-term, Canada, the Netherlands, and Singapore drop off. They say: No, we are out. That is a fully viable child. Yet those in the New York Legislature stood and applauded.
It got one-upped in Virginia last week as the Governor of Virginia explained Virginia’s late-term abortion bill as one-upping New York’s. He said, in Virginia’s bill, in his words, this is how it would work. If children have deformities, however that is defined, or for the mental or physical health, however they want to define that because there was no definition, they would deliver the child, make him comfortable, resuscitate the child if the mother wants, and then would discuss what to do with the child. It is not enough for the State of New York to applaud late-term abortions and join North Korea, China, and Vietnam as the only places on Earth to allow this. No. The Virginia Democrats had to go one more and say: Let’s deliver the children and then discuss it based on their “deformities.”
Back to the Super Bowl conversation, one of the most popular commercials in the Super Bowl was for a gaming system that showed kids with disabilities who played a video game just like other kids, except now they want to decide at those children’s births whether to just take their lives then. How in the world can we as a culture run a television commercial and say: That kid is just like that kid. Look, they play games just alike. But when they are little, let’s deliver them and discuss it and figure out what we want to do. This is infanticide.
This is not about pro-life and pro-choice; this is pro-humanity. To get to the point at which we are discussing whether children live or die based on what they look like at birth and then, if they don’t quite look right, we will take those lives is inhumane and is beneath us as a society. I cannot fathom the discussion that we are having on the floor of the U.S. Senate as to whether a fully delivered child lives or dies or discuss what happens during a botched abortion when a child is fully delivered.
It used to be that my Democratic colleagues said life begins at birth. Now, apparently, it is not at birth anymore; it is unknown when life actually begins because it is a discussion we are going to have at their births now. How can we block this bill? How can this, of all things, not bring unanimous consent? It is inhumane.