Editor’s note. Yesterday we posted excerpts from four pro-life Republican senators who spoke Monday in support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
S. 130 received 53 votes, but 60 votes were required to move the bill forward (in the jargon, “invoke cloture”). With a meager three exceptions, all Democrats voted against a measure that “would simply require that medical professionals give the same standard care and medical treatment to newborn babies who have survived an attempted abortion as any other newborn baby would receive in any other circumstance,” to quote Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Today we offer excerpts from four more pro-life Republican senators.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mt.)
Mr. President, I want to be very clear about the matter that’s before the U.S. Senate here today. We are not here to debate abortion. That is not what this bill is about that Senator Sasse has introduced. We’re here today to decide whether or not it should be legal in the United States of America to kill or neglect an infant who’s been born alive after a botched abortion. This was made very real for me just minutes ago. In fact, Melissa Ohden is standing just off the floor of the U.D. Senate, just outside here probably 50 feet from where I’m standing. She survived a botched saline-infused abortion in 1977. She was left to die, put in literally the medical waste heap. But thanks to the grace of god and a nurse that saw — that saw Melissa, they were able to revive her and she is a beautiful 41-year-old mom with two children, one being Olivia who was born in the same hospital where the botched abortion took place. She’s from Kansas City, married to Ryan. We are here to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act.
By now we’ve all heard the disturbing defense of infanticide offered by the disgraced Governor Northam of Virginia. These babies’ only crime was to survive the abortionist’s attempts to poison, starve, or tear them apart limb to limb while in utero. What this bill is about is when the abortionist wants to “finish the job” as the baby lies helpless on the table of an abortion clinic. Now currently, children that are born alive who survive an abortion attempt are recognized as persons under the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, but that law is merely definitional. Because not one person to date has been charged or convicted under it. There is no nationwide federal law criminalizing the actions of killers like Dr. Kermit Gosnell who kill or deny care to babies. The states have a patchwork of different laws for born-alive infants. The bill we’re voting on today would give federal enforcement teeth and it would be teeth nationwide to the 2002 Born-Alive law. So whether an infant is born alive in Montana or in Massachusetts, whether in a hospital or an abortion clinic, they would be guaranteed the same protection and level of care. Is that asking too much? … Is it the position of the Democratic Party that a border wall is immoral but not infanticide? The phenomenon of infants surviving attempted abortions is very real. These infants are not just statistics. Their lives matter. And their stories deserve to be told, just like the story of Melissa Ohden. … A no vote is to deny protection from barbaric violence to the most vulnerable among us, an innocent little baby. You can either stand with Governor Northam for infanticide, or you can protect the most vulnerable among us.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)
Mr. President, I rise today to discuss an issue of vital importance to our society. And that is the intrinsic value of human life. Very shortly every Senator will have an opportunity to stand up for the human dignity and condemn infanticide when we vote on the born-alive abortion survivors protect act. This should not be a difficult vote for any of us. … We must demand respect for the rights of all. This includes those in the womb as well as mothers carrying a child who are facing difficult challenges. Both deserve our utmost compassion and care. … While I and millions of other pro-life Americans continue to work to end all abortions and support measures that strengthen the dignity of life, recent actions at the state level have been deeply troubling. Pro-choice individuals are actually now supporting measures that would allow doctors to commit infanticide, even after a baby has been born alive. For example, last month the state of New York repealed section 4164 of the state’s public health law which provided
protections for an infant born after — born alive after a failed abortion. Subsequently in Virginia, legislation has been introduced that would legalize abortion up to term and even after the birth has begun. In Rhode Island the governor has vowed to sign legislation legalizing abortion even after the child is viable. These examples of abortion extremism at its worse, radical, abhorrent acts of infanticide should horrify all of us. …
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act simply protects newborns who survive abortions by requiring appropriate care and admission to a hospital. When a failed abortion results in the live birth of an infant, our legislation makes clear that health care providers must exercise the same degree of professional skill to protect a newborn child as would be offered to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. A baby who survives an abortion deserves the same rights under the law as any other newborn baby and should receive proper medical care, not to be left to die or be killed. … President Trump [in his State of the Union message] urged, and I quote, “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life and let us reaffirm a fundamental truth. All children born and unborn are made in the holy image of God.” I couldn’t agree more. All life is sacred. We must seek to protect and save lives whenever possible however possible. I urge my colleagues to support the Born-Alive Abort
ion Survivors Protection Act.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Ok.)
What if an abortion is botched and instead of the child being killed in the womb they’re actually delivered? Now a child is on the table crying, pink skin, ten fingers and toes moving, what happens now? That’s the question of this bill. It’s not the first time it’s come before the United States Senate. In 2002 this same issue came before the United States Senate. This Senate, the House, the president all agreed that if an abortion was botched and the child was delivered, that child is a child. By definition, that’s a child.
What that bill did not do in 2002 is define what happens next. … Weeks ago the Governor of Virginia made a public statement saying we need to have a law that we can deliver a child, make it “comfortable” and then decide what to do with that [born-alive abortion survivor]. Suddenly this becomes a national conversation because we thought this was a resolved issue in 2002, but it’s not. There’s still debate from the other side to say, deliver the child and then decide what to do with the life of that child. This is not just an issue that has no consequence as well. Starting after that bill was passed in 2002, the CDC started analyzing birth certificates to determine if this happens and how often it happens. …Just in the state of Arizona, just in five months in 2017, reported that ten babies were born alive after an attempted abortion attempt. … At the State of Union [address], just a couple of weeks ago, we had a staff member in the back that passed out. And Members of Congress that were also physicians jumped out of their seats to go provide care because that’s what physicians do. But in the case of a botched abortion, the child is delivered and then everyone that’s a medical professional just steps back and watches the child die. And doesn’t provide care. It is the reverse of the Hippocratic Oath. …
Sen. John Boozman (R-Mt.)
Mr. President. I rise today to join many of my colleagues in raising our voices on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. … But before I go any further, let me say this clearly and unequivocally. If we as a nation are to hold any claim to a moral character that deserves to be admired and emulated, then we must be willing to say that the lives of newborn children have inherent value and are worthy of protection. There is simply no way to credibly claim otherwise. Whether it be legislation introduced or enacted by state legislatures or comments made by public officials such as the Governor of Virginia, our country has begun to entertain the idea that the rights and privileges of the newborn babies possess is an open-ended question. … Throughout my time in elected office, I have found that giving those who disagree with me on any given issue the benefit of the doubt as it relates to their motivations, it has allowed me to consistently find commonality and reach compromise even with incred
ibly unlikely allies and partners. But in this instance, there can be no mistake or ambiguity. The common ground that we all must occupy should be shared — should be a shared commitment to uphold a basic fundamental right to protect the life of every child, no matter the circumstances of his or her birth. …
While the debate surrounding abortion has engulfed this country for decades, the goalposts are now being shifted. “Reproductive autonomy,” we are now told, must include the ability and choice to end the life of a baby who survives an attempted abortion. As a former medical provider, I believe that to end a newborn’s life either by refusing to provide lifesaving care or actively taking that child’s life, as in the case of the infamous abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell and others, violates the oath every medical provider takes to do no harm. As a dad and grandfather, I know from my own experience just how precious each life is. … Providing necessary medical attention to the lives of infants who survive an abortion is an imperative that we as a society must embrace if we are to be faithful to the promise our founders made to the generations of Americans that would succeed them. … Our abortion laws in the United States already situate us among some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, including North Korea and china. Now a national conversation about whether to provide children who survive abortions, whether or not we give them medical attention and care, has ensued. It is my hope and prayer that the final word in this discussion will end with the resounding commitment to protect and preserve life.