February 25, 2019
Infanticide ban receives bipartisan majority support, fails to break Democratic filibuster
Video of Senator Sasse’s remarks is available by clicking here or on the image above.
Today, despite receiving the support of a bipartisan majority of the United States Senate, Senator Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed to receive 60 votes to break a Democratic filibuster. The final roll call vote was 53-44.
“I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether we're okay with infanticide,” said Senator Sasse. “This language is blunt. I recognize that and it's too blunt for many people in this body. But frankly, that is what we're talking about here today. Infanticide is what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is actually about. Are we a country that protects babies that are alive, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion? That is what this is about. Are we a country that says it’s okay to actively allow that baby to die — which is the current position of federal law? That’s the question before us, plain and simple… Despite opposition and setbacks, despite some strange rhetoric about this bill over the course of the last week, I am hopeful in the long term. Deep down, each of us knows that every member of our human family ought to be protected, and deserves to be cherished and loved. The love we see every day in the eyes of moms and dads for their newborn babies is an inescapable reminder of that fundamental truth. Love is stronger than power.”
Sasse’s legislation, sponsored by half of the Senate, protects newborns that are born alive after botched abortions by requiring the same degree of care that would be provided to any other newborn at the same stage of development.
Full remarks of Senator Sasse’s remarks on the floor tonight is available here:
Madam President, I just listened to the Senior Senator from New York, my friend from the gym and the Minority Leader, deliver some summaries of what he says is in the bill before us and he implored this body, he implored people watching on C-SPAN to read the bill and they would find that all these terrible things are in the bill. I see that the Minority Leader has to leave the floor now, but humbly I would urge him to come back and show us where any of what he just said is in this bill, is in this bill. What he said wasn't true.
I rise today for a simple purpose, Madam President. I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether we're okay with infanticide.
This language is blunt. I recognize that and it's too blunt for many people in this body. But frankly, that is what we're talking about here today. Infanticide is what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is actually about. Are we a country that protects babies that are alive, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion? That is what this is about. Are we a country that says it’s okay to actively allow that baby to die — which is the current position of federal law? That’s the question before us, plain and simple.
Here are the facts: We know that some babies, especially late in gestation, survive attempted abortions. We know, too, that some of these babies are left to die, left to die. No federal protections exist to shield them from this ugly fate. And only some states have protections on their books, and we've seen in our national discourse over the last month and a half a few states moving, in different ways, but to undo protections that some of these babies have had at the state level.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is trying to right this obvious wrong. The bill’s terms are simple: A child born alive during a botched abortion would be given the same level of care that would be provided to any other baby born that same gestational stage. That’s it.
This bill isn't about abortion. I'm pro-life. I'm unapologetically pro-life, but this bill is not actually about anything that limits abortion. This bill doesn't have anything to do with Roe v. Wade. This bill is about something else. What this bill does is try to secure basic rights, equal rights for babies that are born and are outside the womb. That's what we're talking about. Over the course of the next hour, as this is debated on the floor people are going to say a whole bunch of other things, please bring the text of the bill to the floor when you do it and show us where there is anything about limiting abortion in this bill. This bill is exclusively about protecting babies that have already been born and are outside the womb. Every baby deserves a fighting chance. Whether that 24-week-old baby fighting for air and fighting for life having just taken her first breaths is at an abortion clinic where she survived a botched abortion, or whether or not she's in a delivery room at the local hospital, both of those babies are equally deserving of care, protection, and humane treatment. And our laws should treat both of these human beings as babies, because they're babies, they've been born and they're outside the womb.
This really shouldn't be controversial, Madam President. In fact, my colleagues actually talk this way all the time. This place feels like about a third of the people here are currently running for president, so I'd like to just quote a few of them over the course of the last couple months.
We ought to "build a country where no one is forgotten and no one is left behind.” Amen to that.
“The people in our society who are most often targeted by predators, are also often the voiceless and the vulnerable.” That's true.
Another said, offered a promise to, “fight for other kids, people’s kids', as hard as I fight for my own kids.”
And just last week, our colleague from Vermont, announced his campaign by saying, "The mark of a great nation is how it treats its most vulnerable people.” Bernie Sanders was right.
Well, now's the chance tonight in this body to make good on that promise. Now's the chance to protect one of the most vulnerable populations imaginable: tiny defenseless little babies who've just started to breath on that hospital table having just taken their first breath. Or was that all just claptrap for the campaign trail and for soundbites? Or do people mean the stuff that they say around here?
Let's put it another way, today's vote is about whether or not you want to take the side of people like Virginia's disgraced Governor, Ralph Northam. Last month, before the news of his hideous yearbook broke, Governor Northam had made clear that a baby born alive during an abortion could and maybe ought to be killed if that's what the parents and the doctors decided they wanted to do after debate. That was his position, he said you should make the baby comfortable, and then there could be a discussion about whether or not you throw that little baby into the trash can. That's what he actually talked about on the radio for a day and a half last month.
Governor Northam is disgraceful for a whole host of reasons, but unlike some other people he actually told the truth about what he wants. He wants a society where some people count more than others and other people are worth less than others. He wants a society where some people can be pushed aside if they're inconvenient. In reality, that is what we're voting on today. Some of my colleagues want to write into our law a kind of permanent exception, every human being should be treated and protected from cruelty and offered - protected from inhuman treatment, unless they're a human being that came into the world through a botched abortion. Then you can decide later you want to kill them.
Madam president, tonight, what we're going to vote on in the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is the chance to see whether we're serious when people say around here that they want to protect the innocent. They want to speak up for the voiceless. They want to defend the defenseless. Tonight, we're going to have the opportunity to do exactly that. We can come to the aid of innocent, voiceless, defenseless little babies who've just taken their first breaths by protecting him and her from mistreatment and neglect. This should be frankly the easiest vote we ever cast in this body.
But the prospect of what we're voting on here is actually threatening to one of the most powerful interest groups in America. The abortion industry has taken to attacking this bill wildly over the course of the last two weeks. Even though, as we've made clear repeatedly, and as the text of this bill makes indisputably clear, this bill has nothing to do with abortion itself. Nothing in this bill changes the slightest letter of Roe v. Wade. Nothing touches abortion access in this bill. This bill is about living and breathing babies that are alive outside the womb. That's all the text of this bill does.
But Planned Parenthood and NARAL and their allies feel threatened by a bill to protect alive, out-of-the-womb babies. In other words: Unlike this legislation, Planned Parenthood and others refuse to draw a line between abortion and infanticide. That's what their lobbying the last week has shown. That should tell us something about what these groups are really about.
What they’re about is a society built on power: the power of some people to decide whether other people get to live or die.
And this bill is a stumbling block to anyone who thinks that some lives are less valuable than others. This bill is a stumbling block to anyone who thinks that certain human beings should be disposable. This bill is a stumbling block to anyone who thinks that we should be able to quietly rid ourselves of little people who are “inconvenient” or supposedly “unwanted.” They're not unwanted. There are lots and lots and lots of people in every single state in this union lined up waiting to adopt, including kids that have lots of hard life circumstances. In every state, there are waiting lists of people who will take so-called, "unwanted" babies.
America is a country built on a different principle. Ours is a country dedicated to the proposition that all men and women, all boys and girls are created equal — even the littlest, even if they happen to come into the world in the most horrible of circumstances, even if they are crippled or inconvenient or, apparently for a moment, unwanted. Ours is a country that recognizes the fundamental, inextinguishable dignity of every human being, regardless of race or sex or creed or ability. As a country, we have struggled for two centuries — sometimes at enormous cost — to extend these basic human rights to more and more of our fellow citizens.
Today’s vote is an opportunity to continue that work.
So, let me say, Madam President, by way of closing: Despite opposition and setbacks, despite some strange rhetoric about this bill over the course of the last week, I am hopeful in the long term. Deep down, each of us knows that every member of our human family ought to be protected, and deserves to be cherished and loved. And the love we see every day in the eyes of moms and dads for their newborn babies is an inescapable reminder of that fundamental truth. Love is stronger than power.
Thank you, Madam President.