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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke about his new bill that would protect infants who are born alive during abortions. Thune noted that the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a basic standard of decency that should have overwhelming bipartisan support.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, later today I will introduce the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act along with my colleague, Senator Lankford.
“It’s a simple bill, Mr. President.
“It simply states that a baby born alive after an attempted abortion is entitled to the same protection and medical care that any other newborn baby is entitled to.
“And you would think that it would be a simple “yes” vote from every member of this body.
“But unfortunately, Mr. President, that’s not where we are.
“Four years ago, and then again three years ago, the U.S. Senate took up this bill, and almost every single Democrat in this body voted against it.
“And just three weeks ago, the House of Representatives took up this bill and almost every single Democrat over there voted against it.
“Apparently banning infanticide is now controversial.
“Because let’s be clear, that’s what we’re talking about here.
“Some Democrats have tried to cloak their opposition to this bill in meaningless phrases about a private decision between a woman and her doctor.
“But what is the decision we’re talking about?
“We’re talking about whether or not a living baby born after an attempted abortion should be provided with medical care or be left to die – or, I suppose, be killed outright by the abortionist.
“That’s what we’re talking about.
“That’s the ‘decision’ Democrats are referring to.
“And that’s apparently the decision they think should be left up to patients and their doctors – whether or not to let a living, breathing baby die.
“Mr. President, the Senate voted on a previous version of this bill, introduced by my former colleague Senator Sasse, four years ago when the Democrat governor of Virginia came right out and said you could keep a newly born baby comfortable while you decided what to do with it.
“In other words, while you decided whether to let the child die – or, I guess, kill it – or whether to let it live.
“That chilling statement made it abundantly clear that we needed to state explicitly that any baby, wherever he or she is born, including in an abortion clinic, is entitled to medical care.
“It’s staggering that we have gotten to the point where we need to debate this in Congress, Mr. President.
“It’s staggering that this wouldn’t be an automatic “yes” vote from every member of this body.
“But that’s where we are.
“And if anyone thinks that abortion isn’t a slippery slope – that we can somehow devalue unborn babies’ lives while maintaining respect for everyone else’s – then I’m here to tell them differently.
“Because the Democrat Party has gotten to the point where its members not only oppose legislation to protect unborn babies, they oppose legislation to protect born ones as well.
“In Democrats’ world, there are now apparently two classes of born babies – the wanted ones born alive in delivery rooms, and the unwanted ones born alive in abortion clinics.
“And apparently only one of those classes of babies is entitled to the equal protection of the laws.
“Mr. President, Democrats talk a lot about abortion when they’re talking about this bill.
“But this bill of course would do absolutely nothing to restrict abortion.
“It’s not a bill protecting unborn babies; it’s a bill protecting born babies.
“I do understand why Democrats are so worked up, though.
“Because while this bill may not do anything to restrict abortion, there is always the chance that drawing attention to the humanity and dignity of the child who has just been born will draw attention to the humanity and dignity of the child who is about to be born – the child Democrats are determined our laws should not protect.
“And Democrats are apparently so determined to preserve the so-called right to kill unborn babies that they are fully comfortable opposing a law that would protect born babies.
“Mr. President, these are hard things to talk about.
“But they must be said.
“Because that is the reality of where we are right now.
“Roughly 50 percent of the United States Congress opposes giving the equal protection of the law to born human beings if they happen to be born alive following an attempted abortion.
“And I think we’re at a real inflection point as to where we want to be as a nation.
“Do we want to be a country where the circumstances of your birth determine whether or not your right to life is protected?
“Do we want to be a country that endorses leaving living, breathing babies to die?
“That discards born babies because they are – for a moment at their birth – unwanted?
“I think we’re better than that, Mr. President.
“We have to be better than that.
“If we truly want to be a nation that protects human rights, that stands for justice, that defends the vulnerable, then we cannot be a nation that says that it is acceptable to leave living, breathing, born human beings to die in abortion clinics.
“That says that there are two classes of newborn babies, and that only one of them deserves to be protected.
“Every human being, Mr. President, deserves to be protected.
“No matter the circumstances of his or her birth.
“I want to thank Senator Lankford for his leadership on this issue.
“We will be working together to advance this legislation.
“And I pray that sooner rather than later, we will get to the day when this bill will be an automatic ‘yes’ vote from every member of this body.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”