Editor’s note. On Tuesday pro-life Republican senators moved to ‘invoke cloture” (overcome a filibuster) so as to be able to debate the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” (sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse) and the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham). NRL News Today posted both of these Senators’ remarks on Wednesday.
While each bill secured a majority vote, invoking cloture requires 60 votes. As a consequence, both attempts fell tragically short. The failure to secure 60 votes was entirely because of virtually-unanimous Democrat opposition.
The following are some additional powerful remarks made by Sen. Sasse.
“Every baby dies if you leave her to passively die of exposure. …Today, we have a chance to advance our commitment to human dignity”—Sen. Ben Sasse
Madam President, this afternoon, we are going to vote on the simplest bill in the history of the U.S Senate. It is the simplest bill we have ever considered here. It says that if a newborn baby survives an abortion, she deserves medical care. That is the bill. That is it.
Sadly, a lot of Senators are going to come to the floor, and they are going to read or they are planning to read— I hope they will reconsider—but they are planning to read talking points that were written for them by Planned Parenthood, and they are going to talk about a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with the bill we actually have before us. Senators are going to muddy the issue, and, sadly, too many in the press are going to report with headlines like ‘‘Abortion Restrictions’’ and with antiscience jargon like ‘‘A Fetus That Was Born.’’ That was an actual portion of the headline this morning: ‘‘A Fetus That Was Born.’’ Sadly, a lot of folks seem determined to look the other way.
Looking the other way from the issue that we are considering today in this body shouldn’t be an option, so let’s start with four straight, undeniable facts— four simple facts.
First, Federal law does not criminalize the denial of care to newborn babies who survive abortions. Federal law doesn’t criminalize the denial of care to babies who survive abortions.
Second, we know that babies sometimes survive abortions, and the data backs that up. If Senators don’t like this inconvenient fact, they can take it up with the CDC and the States that have mandatory reporting about babies who survive abortions.
Third, this bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, simply says that if a baby survives an abortion, she should get the same degree of medical care that any other baby would get at that same gestational stage. It is really important—same care that would be provided to any other baby at the same gestational stage.
It is a short bill. I know my colleagues are busy, but all of them could read the bill.
So instead of coming to the floor and reciting prepackaged talking points that Planned Parenthood wrote for you, take a few minutes and actually read the bill, and you will find that the talking points don’t actually match up with the actual bill you are called on to vote on today. Those are the facts.
Finally, this is not about abortion. My colleague, the senior Senator from South Carolina [Lindsey Graham], the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has a really important piece of legislation that he is going to speak on in a moment, and I am going to support his legislation. It is a really important pro-life piece of legislation. I am in favor of it.
But my legislation, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is not actually about abortion. It is about babies who have already survived a botched abortion. My legislation is not about Roe v. Wade.
It is about what happens after a baby is already born when an abortion failed to accomplish the purpose it had—the sad purpose, in my view—the purpose it had to terminate that pregnancy. This is about the babies who have already been born.
This is about whether that baby who has survived the abortion and is now lying on the abortion table or on the medical table—whether or not that cold, naked baby alone has a right to medical care. We all know the answer. The answer is, of course she does.
Every baby dies if you leave her to passively die of exposure. Whether she was born in a gold plated hospital with a lot of fancy, expensive cars in the parking lot outside that NICU unit or whether she was born in the unfortunate circumstances of an abortion clinic in a strip mall, every little baby who has already been born—they will die if you deny care to them. So, of course, we shouldn’t do that.
Of course, the U.S. Senate should stand up and defend those babies. We all know that denying care to the most vulnerable among us is barbaric, and this body ought to be able to stand 100 to 0 against that barbarism. It is inhumane, and it is passive infanticide, and the Senate should today condemn and prohibit that practice.
Is that practice what my colleagues really want to defend? I can’t believe they do.
The 44 who filibustered this legislation a year ago this week, when you talk to them one to one, they get really uncomfortable, and they try to change the subject to all sorts of other culture war debates because they don’t want to have a conversation about the actual legislation and the actual babies we are considering today. Why?
Because they are scared to death of Planned Parenthood’s army of lobbyists, that is why. It is not because any of them really want to defend the morally reprehensible and the morally indefensible practice that is passive infanticide. None of them want to defend it. They are just scared.
Last year, 44 Senators filibustered this legislation. They said that it was OK to look the other way while newborns were discarded. They said that Federal law should not ensure that these babies are treated with care. They seem to have a hard time saying that human beings outside the womb have the same right to life as you and I ought to have and that we get care; we need care. They need care, and they should get care.
Put down your talking points. Please read the bill before you vote today. Read the expert testimony that the chairman of the Judiciary Committee allowed us to hold in his committee room 2 weeks ago, where we brought in both medical and legal experts to talk about what happens in these abortion clinics. For those in this body who are not on the Judiciary Committee or who didn’t do the preparation for today’s vote, I want to summarize the testimony of one of the people who came before our Judiciary Committee—Jill Stanek, who now works for the Susan B. Anthony List.
She was at an Illinois hospital in the 1990s and early 2000s. Here is a quote from her:
Of 16 babies Christ Hospital aborted during the calendar year 2000, four that I knew of [were born alive, and they] were aborted alive.
That is 25 percent—4 out of the 16 abortions at that hospital. She continues:
Each of those babies—[there were] two boys and two girls—lived [somewhere] between 11⁄2 and 3 hours. One baby was 28 weeks’ gestation [age]—7 months old—and weighed two pounds, seven ounces.
Numbers from the CDC and the States that report data on abortion survivors—that is about 8 of the 50 States that do some reporting and data collection on this—tell a story of babies who were breathing, whose hearts were beating, who stretched their arms, wiggled their fingers, and kicked their legs. This is the actual data.
You want to talk about being pro-science— being pro-science is pro-baby. What happened to the babies? Medical practitioners have testified before Congress about walking into rooms where living babies were lying naked and alone on countertops, where they would be left to expire by themselves— alone, cold, naked, and denied care.
Opponents of this bill don’t want to deal with the facts.
They prefer to stick to talking points and claim that this never happens. If they will not listen to the medical experts, perhaps they will take the word of the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam.
In January of last year, disgraced Governor Northam was explicit during a radio interview in which he said that a baby born alive during an abortion ‘‘would be kept comfortable. . . . then a discussion would ensue’’ about whether that baby should be left to die. That is actually what Governor Northam was talking about on the radio in Virginia.
What he did is make the terrible faux pas of saying in public the true stuff about this procedure and this practice of walking away and backing away from these babies and letting them die. He just decided to talk in public about the reality of what happens in some of these abortion clinics.
Governor Northam is not an outlier. Just 3 weeks ago, one of the Democratic candidates for President was asked point blank on national television about infanticide: Would he be comfortable if a mother invoked infanticide to kill her now already born alive child? Mayor Buttigieg’s response: ‘‘I don’t know what I’d tell them.’’
Really? Somebody asks you if you can kill a baby who has already been born, and you say you don’t know what to say?
Every one of us, especially somebody running for the highest office in the land to uphold the laws—laws that promise to protect the right to life– should be able to say without any hesitation that leaving babies to die is unacceptable. This isn’t horrid stuff, people. There are actually some horrid debates we have in this Chamber. This isn’t one of them. This is about babies who have been born alive and whether you can decide to kill them.
There is really no debate to be had here, which is why so many people who were planning to speak on the other side decided not to speak this afternoon, because you can’t defend the morally reprehensible procedure that is backing away, that is passive infanticide.
There are no exceptions. There are no special circumstances. We should protect every human being, no matter how small they are, no matter how weak they are. And if the Senate says that it is OK to ignore born-alive babies, what we are really saying is that we are OK with a society where some people count more than other people.
We would be saying that we want a society where some people can be pushed aside if other people decide those folks are inconvenient, a society where we can dispose of you if you happen to come into the world a certain way.
It is unbelievably telling that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, which is the extremist abortion lobby and their armies of lawyers and slick public relations teams and influence peddlers, cannot draw this line. It is pretty amazing.
This bill is not about abortion. Again, I want to be clear. We are voting on two things today.
One of them is a piece of legislation about abortion. It is the pain-capable bill. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is going to speak in favor of it in a minute. I am an original cosponsor of his legislation. I support it, and I am going to wholeheartedly vote for it.
But the other piece of legislation we are going to vote on today isn’t actually even about abortion. This should be 100-to-0 no-brainer. This bill is not about Roe v. Wade. This bill will not change one word of abortion law in the United States.
My colleagues can vote up or down, but they can’t pretend that they don’t know the stakes of what we are talking about. America is a country built on the beautiful principle of equality, and the terms of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act are intended to reflect that.
A child born alive during a botched abortion should be given the same level of care that would be provided to any other baby born at that same gestational stage, which is just to say that a born-alive baby is a human being with fundamental human dignity, which is undeniable. They should receive the care and affection due to every other human being.
Today, we have a chance to advance our commitment to human dignity. We can protect those babies who come into the world under the worst of conditions. We can welcome them into a world with love and hope and help and care.
My colleagues, please do not turn your backs on those babies.