Earlier this week, Senate Democrats cast a tragic vote. Before them was a piece of reasonable legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It sought to do one thing: to prevent late-term abortions that result in pain and suffering for the unborn child.
Medical research and science has shown that children in the womb develop remarkably fast. By the time the five-month mark passes, the unborn child’s fingers, toes, eyelids, eyebrows, nails, and even eyelashes have all formed. The child can suck its thumb and yawn. It has a heartbeat. And it can very much feel pain.
What the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act proposed was to update the law to reflect this scientific reality. The bill’s protections, I believe, reflect the moral instincts of any just and humane society.
Under its provisions, a doctor would have been barred from conducting late-term elective abortions on babies that were at 20-week gestation or older. The bill made an exception for when the mother’s life was at serious risk, but for the most part it eliminated as a category a procedure that not only ended an innocent life but ended it in such a way as to constitute torture.
I had hoped that my Democratic colleagues could see the merits of such legislation. I had hoped that they could recognize the barbarity of ripping apart a suffering child and put in place at least some limit of what we as a nation are willing to carry out in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade.
The radicalization of the Democratic Party on abortion in recent years, however, means that most cannot countenance even the slightest restriction; or the slightest acknowledgement that “abortion on demand, without apology” has its downsides. Instead, virtually every Democrat filibustered this commonsense legislation.
Indeed, Senate Democrats remain blind as to any and all harm inflicted by abortion, even when that harm is directed at the woman.
For example, according to a 2003 report published in the Medical Science Monitor, women whose first pregnancy ended in abortion were significantly more at risk for clinical depression than women whose first pregnancies resulted in birth. Subsequent studies echoed these findings, identifying an increased suicide risk as well as symptoms that mimic post-traumatic stress.
What is more, for all the rhetoric about “choice,” the evidence paints a more grisly picture. A recent report published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons reveals that out of nearly 1,000 women surveyed, 74 percent felt that their decision was pressured by others. Nearly 30 percent said they aborted their baby because they feared losing their partner.
In a 2013 study published in BMC Women’s Health, 40 percent of the women surveyed identified financial strain as a reason for their decision to terminate their pregnancy. One wonders how many would have chosen life had there been somebody close by who could have reassured them that everything would be OK; that there are resources nearby and options they could consider.
How many families would be whole had a radicalized Democratic Party approached abortion with a bit more skepticism rather than reducing all moral questions to a collection of misguided slogans?
That is why I am grateful to be part of the pro-life movement. In this debate, it is pro-lifers who seek to realize the dignity of all – both mother and child.
We understand that a woman can feel trapped by an abortion, and that the proper response to unplanned pregnancy is not coercion; nor is it the cold, harsh hallways of an abortion clinic. The proper response is a helping hand. The proper response is love.
Love, after all, saves lives.
Because of this, the movement has made great strides in its accommodations to women in crisis, and those who have been left victimized by abortion. Churches, retreat ministries, counselors, adoption, and family services agencies all across America offer resources and encouragement to women facing unplanned pregnancy
As I continue to serve in the Senate, I remain committed to supporting pro-life legislation in efforts to protect the health and well-being of all women, and to save as many unborn children as we possibly can. I hope and pray that one day, all unborn children will be awarded the most basic of all human rights – the right to life.