U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday evening in advance of the 46th annual March for Life event in Washington.
As prepared for delivery:
This Friday, more than 100,000 individuals and families will join together and March for Life in Washington.
They will brave the cold – and quite possibly some snow or sleet this year—for one simple reason: to give a voice to the voiceless.
The unborn are the most vulnerable among us but are still deserving of the right to life.
Jeremiah 1:5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you."
To everyone who comes to March for Life, know that we hear you and we’re standing with you – just as we have for years.
This is not a new topic for me to speak on either.
Twenty five years ago I came down here to tell the story of Ana Rosa Rodriguez. Here is what I said:
Mr. Chairman, there is a big misconception regarding abortion and the issue of women and their right to protect their bodies. It is not that right that I object to, but the right that is given them to kill an unborn fetus-an unborn child.
I want to share with you a story that my colleague, Chris Smith told some time ago on this very floor. Ana Rosa Rodriguez is an abortion survivor. At birth she was a healthy 3 pound baby girl except for her injury-she was missing an arm.
Ana survived a botched abortion. Her mother attempted to get an abortion in her 32nd week of pregnancy when she was perfectly healthy-8 weeks past what New York State law legally allows. In the unsuccessful abortion attempt the baby's right arm was ripped off, however they failed to kill Ana Rosa. She lived.
Pro-life supporters agreed that nightmare situations like the Rodriguez case are probably not common, but abortion related deaths and serious injuries occur more frequently than most people are aware.
It is amazing that we can pay so much attention to issues such as human rights abroad and can allow the violent destruction of over 26 million children here at home. We are fortunate that Ana was not one of those children-she survived.
That was in 1992. But today, we still don’t have federal protections for the babies who survive the brutal abortion process.
I’m working with Senator Sasse who is leading the effort this year to reintroduce the Born Alive Abortion Survivor Act, which would ensure that a baby who survives an abortion will receive the same treatment as any child naturally born premature at the same age, without prescribing any particular form of treatment.
That’s just morally right and I don’t see why there would be any disagreement about it.
Just a few years later, 1997, I was on the floor often with my good friend former Sen. Rick Santorum to try to pass the partial birth abortion ban and end the horrific practice of late-term abortions.
I spoke then saying: I thank the Senator from Pennsylvania for yielding time. I think he made one of the best presentations I have heard on the floor of this body. I want to say that, when he deals with the facts, he is dealing with the facts but, you know, we are also dealing today with perceptions.
I tried to make a list of those things I have heard over and over. There is a lot of redundancy on this floor but there are some things that have not been stated. I would like to share a couple of those with you.
I am going to do something that is a little unusual, because I am going to read some Scriptures to you. It is not totally unprecedented in this body. In fact, the distinguished senior Senator from West Virginia does it quite often. So I would like to read a couple of Scriptures, just for those who care. Anyone who does not, don’t listen.
First of all, I have used this a number of times, Jeremiah 1:35 says, ‘‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.’’ Or the 139th Psalm, no matter which interpretation you use, it makes it very clear when life begins.
Then, I was, not too long ago, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I had been to the museum in Jerusalem, and I found the same thing was printed on the last brick as you are going through. This is Deuteronomy 30, verse 19. It said: ‘‘I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.’’
And, last, I am always concerned that something that is as dramatic and is as significant as this issue is going to go unnoticed; that maybe there are Senators out there who are not really into this issue and they might want to vote the party line, or they might want to say, well, maybe there aren’t as many of these procedures out there, so they just really are not knowledgeable of the subject. So, I will read Proverbs 24, 11 and 12: “Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death. Don’t stand back and let them die. Don’t try to disclaim responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it, for God knows. Who knows all hearts knows yours, and He knew that you know.”
Mr. President, I was listening to the Senator from Massachusetts who said it does not do any good if we pass this because the President is going to veto it anyway. But I suggest to you that the President may not veto it, and if he does veto it, maybe some people will come over who were not here a year ago on this side of the aisle.
Ron Fitzsimmons who just last year insisted that the number of partial birth abortions were a relative handful now admits ‘‘I lied through my teeth.’’ He was lying. So if the President is predicating his decision to veto this ban on the basis of what was told to him by Ron Fitzsimmons, there is every reason he could turn around on the issue. I suggest also that we are talking now not just about a procedure, but a culture.
I have a very good friend by the name of Charles W. Colson who gave these remarks upon winning the prestigious Templeton Prize for contribution to religion. Listen very carefully. He puts it all together, not isolating one procedure or one issue: Courts strike down even perfunctory prayers, and we are surprised that schools, bristling with barbed wire, look more like prisons than prisons do. Universities reject the very idea of truth, and we are shocked when their best and brightest loot and betray.
Celebrities mock the traditional family, even revile it as a form of slavery, and we are appalled at the tragedy of broken homes and millions of unwed mothers. The media celebrate sex without responsibility, and we are horrified by plagues. Our lawmakers justify the taking of innocent lives in sterile clinics, and we are terrorized by the disregard for life in blood-soaked streets. I think that kind of puts it into a context, which we are now approaching, that this is not just a normal type of an abortion.
I have a great deal of respect for one of the most intellectual Members of this body. It is Senator Patrick Moynihan from New York, who is a self-proclaimed pro-choice Senator. He said: “And now we have testimony that it is not just too close to infanticide, it is infanticide, and one would be too many.” This is where we get into the numbers game. I heard it said on this floor many times that we are talking about maybe 1 percent or maybe talking about those that are in the ninth month may be an infinitesimal number. But, in fact, one is too many. It was said on the floor that we may be only talking about 200 lives being taken during the normal delivery process. That is when a baby is given a natural birth and, yet, they take the life by using this barbaric procedure. We have all kinds of documentation that it is being done in the ninth month and during the normal birth process. They say only 200.
Mr. President, I am from Oklahoma, and we lost 168 lives in the Murrah Federal Office Building bombing. This was the largest domestic terrorist attack in American history. Did anybody say that is only 168 lives that were lost in Oklahoma City? No, the entire Nation came with compassion and mourned with us. One life, I agree with Senator MOYNIHAN, is too many.
One other issue that has not been discussed in this debate this year is that of pain, and rather than go into it, I do not think anyone refutes the fact that a small baby, if that baby is certainly past the second trimester, feels pain every bit as much as anybody who is in here, as any Member of the U.S. Senate would feel pain.
There was a study conducted in London, and I have the results here, but I think everyone understands that this is something that is very real, that these babies do feel pain. I have a picture of a good friend of mine with me. His name is Jason— James Edward Rapert. Back when people our age were having babies, they would not even let you in the hospital, let alone the delivery room. When my daughter, Molly, called up and said, ‘‘Daddy, the time is here, could you come over,’’ and I went over to the hospital, she said, ‘‘Would you like to come into the delivery room?″ ‘‘Wow, yes, I would.’’ So I saw for the first time what many of you in this room have seen, and many of the women have experienced personally, but I was there when this little guy was born.
It is hard to describe to some of the men here who have not been through that experience of seeing this wonderful life begin, and I can remember when, in that room where the delivery took place, it occurred to me that when Baby Jase, my grandson, was born, that that is at a moment when they could have used this procedure inflicting all of the pain you have heard described so many times: Going into the cranium with the scissors, opening up the scissors, suck the brains out, the skull collapses. Awful.
And there are individuals who want to keep a procedure like this legal. If you did that to a dog, they would picket in front of your office. Somehow we have developed a culture that puts a greater value on the lives of critters than human life. So I watched Baby Jase being born, and I suggest to those of you who are concerned about choice that this is really the choice. It is either that choice or this choice. Those are the choices we are faced with today.
Mr. President, this is something on which I agree with the Senator from Pennsylvania. We should not be having to talk about it. To think 100 years from now they may look back and talk about that barbaric society that killed their own young, and here we are just trying to save a few lives from a very painful death. But nonetheless, that is the issue we are faced with today.
Now, I gave that speech in 1997. And again in 1998. And year after year until we won that battle and finally ended the practice of partial birth abortion in 2003. The ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
But there is still much more we need to do to end the abortion on demand culture.
President Trump gets this. He was the first sitting president to speak at March for Life, but his administration has made real progress to advancing the pro-life agenda.
He has reinstated the “Mexico City policy” which bans taxpayer money from funding abortions abroad and directed the Justice Department to formally investigate Planned Parenthood.
President Trump also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to expand religious and conscience exemptions to protect individual religious liberty.
I’m working here in Congress to end the practice of abortion on demand that strips opportunity away from unborn babies and deprives them of their right to life.
This week, I’ve joined my colleagues in introducing five common-sense bills, in addition to the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act that I mentioned earlier, that will stand for the unborn.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act –working on this with Sen. Wicker-- would establish a government-wide statutory prohibition on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage. Simple enough.
I’m especially pleased that Majority Leader McConnell has set up a procedural vote for this bill tomorrow.
The Life at Conception Act with Sen. Paul that would recognize that life begins at conception.
The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, led by Sen. Blackburn, would prohibit Title X Family Planning Program funds—those are taxpayer funds now—from being used to subsidize abortions.
Now you might be wondering how that is different from the one I just talked about. Here is how. Every year, Planned Parenthood receives nearly $60 million from the American taxpayer through the Title X Family Planning Program.
The program is intended to assist low-income women with family planning services. Unfortunately, this money is being used to subsidize massive organizations that engage in abortion activities such as Planned Parenthood and we need to stop that.
The Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act, led by Sen. Ernst, would prohibit all federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
I also cosponsored The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, led by Sen. Rubio, which would prohibit individuals from taking minors across state lines to have an abortion, thwarting states that have parental notification laws.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I am cosponsoring Sen. Graham’s Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would prohibit abortions from being performed on unborn babies after 20 weeks—when we know they can feel pain.
Only five countries allow abortion after twenty weeks, including the United States and North Korea. Unacceptable.
I’d also like to acknowledge a very important day—Religious Freedom Day is today.
It is clear our founding fathers recognized and enshrined the importance of religious liberty, one of our most precious and foundational religious freedoms, that allowed them to live their lives according to the teaching of the Bible.
I have long been a strong advocate of the basic human right to freely worship and I am glad we can take a moment today to recognize that.
So anyway, all from speeches in 1992 and 1997 – as true today as it was then. We’re ready.