February 24, 2020
The Senate will vote tomorrow on Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Video of Sasse's speech is available here or by clicking on the image above.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, the author of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and a cosponsor of Senator Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, spoke on the Senate floor regarding tomorrow’s votes on the two bills.
Excerpts of Sasse’s speech are found below.
On Senator Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act:
We have this gut feeling, when it comes to pain. When we see someone hurting, we know that this is not the way the world is supposed to be. Pain is not natural. This is not the order of things as it was meant to be. And so, our heart leaps at the sight of someone in pain – not just a child, but especially when it’s a child. A family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger. When you see somebody in pain we want to make it stop. Human beings are compassionate: that is, we feel along with each other. When they suffer, we suffer. And so, we reach out to protect. We want to give comfort.
Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to extend that reach of care, and comfort, and protection. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would protect babies as early as 20 weeks into pregnancy - that's halfway through - by inscribing in law our responsibility to protect innocent babies in the womb from the pain that is inflicted by abortion… Science has shown us that these babies feel pain, and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a simple recognition that, although the baby in the womb might be mostly invisible to us, we’re not blind to her needs. We have a responsibility to spread the umbrella of law over every vulnerable person, no matter how small. Size doesn’t determine dignity or worth.
So, the question before us tomorrow is will the Senate vote to protect these babies? It's pretty simple. You're going to hear lots of crazy commentary talking about stuff that we're not going to be voting on tomorrow but what we're voting on is: Should the U.S. Senate vote to protect these babies? I plan to vote in favor of compassion because I believe that being pro-mom and pro-baby and being pro-science is all bundled up together. And so tomorrow we're going to consider compassionate, pro-science, pro-baby legislation and I implore my colleagues - all 100 of us - ought to be doing the same. But I also know that although I am unapologetically pro-life, some of my colleagues in this body are not.
On his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
Even if you are unwilling to vote to defend unborn babies, I hope that my colleagues would at least consider joining with us in voting to protect babies that have already been born. So, Senator Graham's legislation is about protecting babies in utero, we've got a second piece of legislation before us tomorrow that's about protecting babies after they've already been born. Will we acknowledge that a baby outside the womb should not be left to die? That’s what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is actually about…
Today, there’s nothing in our federal law that criminalizes the denial of care to a baby that’s survived an abortion. So, when a baby lives through an abortion procedure and ends up born and is outside mom there is nothing in federal law that criminalizes denying care to those babies and allowing her to die - allowing her or him to die. We have to change that.
This second bill is not actually about abortion. It is not about Roe v. Wade. It’s about something different. It is about what happens after an abortion that didn't succeed in terminating the baby’s life. And so, when a baby survives and is laying on that table — cold, and naked, and alone, what does our society do?
Are we a country that protects babies that are alive, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion? Are we a country that says it’s okay to just sit back and allow that baby to die? That baby that’s fighting for life, is it ok for us to just let that baby die? It’s a plain and simple question and we all know what the right answer is. There are hard calls that we consider in this body sometimes. There are a lot of grey issues. This isn't one of them. This isn’t’ a hard call.
Since last year’s vote, we have brought before this body testimony from medical experts who have been involved in abortion procedures — who’ve had in their hands one-pound little babies who survived abortions. That was the purpose of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on this bill two weeks ago. In that, we heard testimony that made clear why this bill is necessary, and it made clear that the other side actually can’t confront the arguments head on. That’s what happened two weeks ago in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We were looking at the text of this bill. We had in front of us medical experts who had the experience with babies who have survived abortions and they talked about what's happening in their clinics, and everybody who spoke against the Abortion Survivors Protection Act didn’t talk about the bill at all. They talked about all these other things. Some of them are actually hard debates, but none of this had anything to do with the legislation that we were actually considering. That's because they couldn't actually defend opposing a bill that’s purpose is simply to prohibit infanticide.
That’s why Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the Big Abortion doctors lobby have resorted to simple misinformation. That’s all the hearing was by those who were opposed to the legislation. They say that what we are trying to do is prevent something that doesn’t happen. That’s not true. That’s a myth.
There are eight states where we have some reporting information. We should have reporting information from all states, but in the eight states that we have, we have information about the babies that survive abortions and what happens to them. They wouldn't confront those facts so they just made these blanket statements that this legislation deals with something that doesn't happen - but it does. Which is why we had a hearing, why we brought in experts and then the opponents of this legislation talked about completely unrelated things. They said there are no such things as “abortion survivors.” We’d like to introduce you to some of them. Perhaps they should consult the CDC’s records. Of the several states I mentioned, there were eight that report data on survivors. Or they should talk to the Abortion Survivors Network. They should look into the eyes of the spouses and friends and neighbors and coworkers and parents who are abortion survivors, and they should try to tell them what we’re doing is pointless or a waste. They can’t do that because their position is morally indefensible.
Who are the spouses, and friends, and neighbors who are not here today because they did not receive life-saving medical care in their first moments of life?
The terms of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act are simple: A child born alive during a botched abortion would be given the same level of care that is provided to any other baby born that same gestational stage. That’s it. That's all the second piece of legislation we're going to deal with tomorrow does. It says when a baby survives an abortion, that baby should get the same level of medical care that is provided to any other baby at the same stage of gestational development. That's all it does. It does not create - as opponents charge - some mandate to prolong the suffering of a dying child. It doesn't do anything like that. It simply says if a baby survives an abortion it has to get the same level of medical care that would be provided to any other baby at the same stage of gestational care that had a parent present that wanted that baby. It does not force doctors to do anything that violates medical best-practice. It simply says that a baby who survives an abortion is a baby, and should be treated as such – as a baby - with care and compassion.
Do Senators in this chamber believe their own campaign slogans? Our colleague from Vermont, who is on the verge of becoming the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party in our country has declared that "The mark of a great nation is how it treats its most vulnerable people.” Senator Sanders is right.
America is dedicated to the proposition that all men and women, all boys and girls are created equal — even the littlest ones, even if they happen to come into the world in the most horrific of circumstances, even if they are crippled or inconvenient or “unwanted.” America recognizes the immeasurable dignity of every human being, regardless of race or sex or creed or ability. If we’re hemming and hawing about whether it’s okay to let children die of neglect, we know we’ve lost part of our soul.
Tomorrow, we have a chance to recognize and secure the dignity of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. We have a chance to protect those babies who come into the world under the worst conditions and we have the chance to extend to them the possibility of life and of love.
Tomorrow, we can speak up for the voiceless. We can defend the defenseless. We can come to the aid of the innocent.
This is not about Roe. This is not about politics. It’s about a simple question: Will the Senate protect babies?