“It is 2020, for God’s sake. It is not 1020”—Sen. Lindsey Graham
Editor’s note. Yesterday pro-life Republican senators brilliantly made the case to move past a filibuster (‘invoke cloture’) in order to have a real Senate debate over whether it is acceptable to kill unborn babies capable of experiencing excruciating pain as they are annihilated and if we think it’s okay to allow abortion survivors to die without treating them the same way we would any premature baby born at the same age. Invoking cloture requires 60 votes.
Tragically the final vote was 53-44 in favor of cloture on the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (S. 3275) and 56-41 in favor of cloture on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” (S. 311). The former was sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The latter was sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) whose remarks we are also reposting today.
The failure to secure 60 was entirely because of near-unanimous Democratic opposition.
As we reported yesterday, the Trump Administration released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) strongly supporting the bills and stating that President Trump would sign into law both pieces of legislation.
The following are the remarks of Sen. Graham.
Madam President, before Senator Sasse leaves, I say to the Senator, I just can’t thank you enough for the passion and the persuasion you bring to these issues. You speak from the heart. You speak with reason. You make a lot of sense, and over time, you will prevail. Just stick with it. Your day will come. What he is saying is, if you try to abort a child, and the child survives the abortion, shouldn’t the doctor and the nurses and everybody involved treat the child the same as if they came into the world some other way? I think the answer is yes.
Really, these two pieces of legislation are about us as a nation. This is 2020. Who are we as Americans? To me it is odd that we even need to have a discussion about this. I am just perplexed that this is even a problem.
Abortion is legal in the United States. There are certain restrictions on it, but I just can’t believe we can’t rally around the idea that if a baby survives the procedure and is alive and breathing and functioning, medical science doesn’t kick in to save the baby. It is just—I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. What happened to our country that we are even talking about this? It is 2020, for God’s sake. It is not 1020. Anyway, just hang in there, Ben. Your day will come.
My legislation—I have been doing this for a few years now. We are one of seven nations in the world that allow abortion on demand at 20 weeks, along with North Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada. What would this legislation do at 20 weeks? This is about the fifth month in the birthing process. The bill is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Why do we call it that?
Medical science has determined that a child at 20 weeks is capable of feeling excruciating pain. So if there is an operation to save a child’s life or to repair a medical defect at 20 weeks, they provide anesthesia to the child because, during the surgery, the child feels pain. You can see that when a child is poked, they actually repel against the poking. The bottom line is, I find it odd that medical science requires anesthesia to save the baby’s life, but during that same period, you can dismember the child. That is what we are talking about here.
What kind of Nation are we if, at the fifth month—this is 20 weeks into the birthing process—we are one of seven nations that allow abortion on demand? There are exceptions for the life of the mother—that hard decision if the mother’s life is impacted by the child, and we will leave that up to the family—and if the pregnancy is as a result of rape or incest. But beyond that, we want to eliminate abortion on demand at the 20-week period because, I would argue, that doesn’t make us a better nation. It doesn’t advance anybody’s cause.
The bottom line is, based on medical science, we know that this child has nerve endings intact. Medical encyclopedias encourage young parents to sing to their unborn child during this period of development because they can begin to associate their voice and recognize who they are. I find it odd that we would encourage young parents to sing to their unborn child at 20 weeks; we require anesthesia to save the child’s life; but we are also a country that allows the child to be dismembered. It makes no sense to me. They have exceptions that make sense: life of the mother, the result of rape or incest where there is no choice at all.
The bottom line is that these two pieces of legislation are going to continue to be advanced until they pass. It takes a while for America to kind of get focused on what we are saying here because abortion is an uncomfortable topic to talk about, particularly in the early stages of the pregnancy. But what Senator Sasse is saying is that in the case of the child surviving an abortion, there is really not much to talk about. We should protect the life that is now a being.
The baby survived. I don’t know why the baby survived. I don’t know how the baby survived. I just know that decent people would want to come to the child’s aid once she does survive. Just imagine what it must be like, after the baby survives the abortion, to be left unattended for 11⁄2 to 3 hours. That says a lot about us as a nation. I just think we are better than that. It is kind of odd that we even have to have this debate, but apparently we do because this happens more than you would ever think. Babies actually survive abortion, and the rules in this country are that you just let it die. There is no longer required care. That, to me, as Senator SASSE said, is barbaric. It doesn’t make us a better people, and it really doesn’t affect the abortion debate because the baby survived.
My legislation is about us as a nation too. How does abortion on demand in the fifth month advance the cause of America? I don’t think it does. We have exceptions in those instances where it is a tragic choice between the life of the mother and the unborn child and in the cases of rape or incest, which are tragic and criminal, but generally speaking, we would like to get ourselves out of a club of seven nations that allow abortion on demand at a time when the parents are encouraged to sing to the child and you have to provide anesthesia to save the child’s life because you would not want to operate on a baby in a fashion to hurt the child.
I dare say that if you are a doctor and you try to save the baby’s life at 20 weeks through surgery and you don’t provide anesthesia, you are going to wind up getting yourself in trouble. I find it odd that the law would allow the dismemberment of the child even with anesthesia, but that is where we are. To Senator Sasse, I say that you are an articulate spokesman for your legislation. One day, we will prevail. It took 15 years to pass the late-term abortion ban [the ban on partial-birth abortions]. It is going to take a while, but our day will come.
At the end of the day, the sooner America can get this right, the better off we will be.