On Thursday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) gave a speech on the Senate floor regarding an upcoming Democratic presidential “candidate forum,” which will be hosted by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
First, Sasse explained what exactly Planned Parenthood is:
Planned Parenthood is the country’s largest abortion business. That’s their main staple operation. Last year, Planned Parenthood reported committing more than 330,000 abortions – somewhere between one-third and one-half of all abortions in America committed last year. Planned Parenthood’s president has said that “providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion” is part of the organization’s “core mission.” It does that with the help of more than $500 million in annual subsidies from the federal government. That is, from taxpayers across this country, many of whom believe that abortion is immoral.
According to Planned Parenthood’s latest report, the abortion organization received $563.8 million from the United States government (taxpayer money) in fiscal 2017-2018.
Although the organization claims that abortions only comprise 3% of “services,” that’s because they count each service separately. Looking at their annual report, there are roughly 25 “services” offered by Planned Parenthood. STI testing, Pap tests, HPV vaccinations, pregnancy tests, and abortions are all counted as equal under their rubric. Of the 9.69 million “services” counted in their most recently released annual report, 332,757 of those were abortions.
Sasse continued, noting how the former Democratic position on abortion was “safe, legal, and rare.”
But the position of Planned Parenthood is, and has long been: abortion anytime, anyplace, for any reason, for free. That used to represent the most extreme position anywhere in the Democratic party, shared by only a very small, hard fringe portion of their elected leaders. Just to review some history in 2008, Hillary Clinton was still calling for “safe, legal, and rare” abortion access, and she would regularly emphasize “and by rare, I mean rare.” But today, the radical things that the nation’s largest abortion business wants are basically indistinguishable from the position of almost every Democrat running for president: Abortion – anytime, anywhere, for any reason, for free.
And in fact, it’s actually worse than this – because the position of every senator running for the Democratic nomination, and at least one governor, is that a living, breathing baby who survives an abortion procedure can be left to die after birth. All seven senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act earlier this year, and Governor Bullock, of Montana, vetoed a state-level version of the bill, just before he entered the race. So, as things currently stand, it’s entirely possible that the Democratic nominee for the highest office in our land in 2020 will be publicly agnostic about the moral status of post-abortion infanticide. Morally agnostic about post-abortion infanticide.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which Democrats voted against, simply stated:
(1) If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.
(2) Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.
In the case of an abortion or attempted abortion that results in a child born alive:
…Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall—
(A) exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age; and
(B) following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.
…A health care practitioner or any employee of a hospital, a physician’s office, or an abortion clinic who has knowledge of a failure to comply with the requirements of paragraph (1) shall immediately report the failure to an appropriate State or Federal law enforcement agency, or to both.
According to the proposed law, the mother of the child would be exempt from prosecution.
Similarly, 29 Democratic senators, including former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.
Sasse then pointed out that the Democratic candidates are far outside mainstream American thinking on abortion:
Let’s be clear: These candidates are wildly and spectacularly out of the mainstream in American life. Gallup polling over the last two decades has consistently shown that a majority of Americans are opposed to unrestricted abortion access beyond the first trimester. The Gallup numbers show that well under one-third of Americans support abortion beyond the first trimester. And a new NBC/PBS/Marist poll found that only fully four out of five Americans are opposed to abortion in the third trimester — and that includes a majority of self-identifying pro-choice voters. I want to say that again, a majority of self-identifying pro-choice voters in America is opposed to abortion in the third trimester.
So, the polling of America is actually quite different than what Democrats are gonna pretend when they talk into their echo-chamber. But even more important than public opinion is that Democrats are also out of step with our fundamental American conviction that “all men are created equal.” All men and women and babies. Instead, they are increasingly committed to the proposition that some people are less than human, and therefore disposable.
Sadly though, the most radical left-wing voices are winning in their party’s echo-chamber, and Democratic candidates have now decided that they must prostrate themselves before the flushed-with-cash abortion industry.
Indeed, according to a May 2018 Gallup poll, only 29% of Americans said that they believe “abortions should be legal under any circumstances.” 50% said that abortion should be “legal only under certain” circumstances, and 18% said that abortion should be “illegal in all.”
In a February poll conducted by Marist, only 13% of respondents agreed that abortion “should be available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy.”
When asked: “Do you think abortion should generally be legal or generally illegal during the last three months of pregnancy?” 71% of respondents said “generally illegal.” Even 60% of Democrats surveyed agreed.
Sasse continued, speaking about how abortion activists (even among those running for the Democratic nomination) have compared the pro-life position to racism or homophobia:
That has consequences beyond policy. As Democrats’ abortion positions have become more extreme, they have not sought to even persuade fellow citizens with whom they disagree. Rather, they have become openly hostile to Americans who disagree on this great moral challenge. My colleague from New York, for instance, Senator Gillibrand — who will be attending this weekend’s forum in South Carolina — made her feelings clear earlier this month in an interview with the Des Moines Register. In promising that she would only appoint judges who would uphold Roe v. Wade, here’s what she said. Listen to this quote:
“I think there are some issues that have such moral clarity that we have as a society decided that the other side is not acceptable. Imagine saying that it’s okay to appoint a judge who’s racist or anti-Semitic or homophobic. . . .
This is not an issue where there is a fair other side. There is no moral equivalency when you come to racism, and I do not believe there is a moral equivalency when it comes to changing laws that deny women reproductive freedom.”
What? What are we talking about here? Are you kidding me? Did you catch what she just said? According to a sitting United States Senator, and a candidate for the Democratic nomination to be president of the United States, holding pro-life views is “no longer acceptable.” It is not a “fair” position, she tells us. It is the “moral equivalent” of “racism” or “anti-Semitism.”
He added that it is actually the Democratic Party, through their affiliation with Planned Parenthood, that has ties to racism and eugenics:
Perhaps in the Senator’s next interview, my colleague will suggest that pro-life Americans belong in a basket of deplorables. There is so much wrong with this statement that its difficult to know where to begin. We could note the plain, simple fact that it is not pro-lifers who have an ugly link to racism. Rather, since the very beginning, the American abortion industry has been intimately connected to eugenics. This is the origins of the movement. As Planned Parenthood Margaret Sager put it herself, think about this quote, “The unbalance between the birth rate of the unfit and the fit is the greatest present menace to civilization.” Sanger’s racial opinions are a matter of some dispute, but this part is clear. She intentionally targeted efforts at black neighborhoods in Harlem and in the deep south. And many of the people involved in her efforts took things a step further, going so far as to forcibly sterilize African-American women that they deemed to be unfit to procreate. We could also note that it’s in part because of this ugly history that black women in America are three and a half times more likely to have an abortion than white women. And in some parts of Senator Gillibrand’s home state, black children are actually more likely to be aborted than to be carried to term.
Or we could point to the continued eugenic use of abortion. For example, to kill children who have non-life-threatening diseases. In the United States today, two-thirds of all babies in the womb who are found to have down syndrome are aborted. Two-thirds of all babies found to have down syndrome in the U.S. are now aborted. And in some parts of Europe the rate is pushing 100% and there are public ad campaigns in two nations in Europe to celebrate the fact that they’ve gotten rid of all of their down syndrome babies. But instead of going point by point, I’ll just recommend that anyone who wants to better understand this disturbing history should read Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky last month, which came down late last month. I guess that, according to my Senate colleague, Justice Thomas is one of those racists – those notorious pro-life racists that are stalking America.
Sasse commented on the lack of civility being seen from Democrats, and how slandering pro-lifers could lead to the silencing of opposing opinion, and further, violence against those with whom one disagrees:
In their leftward lurch to become the Planned Parenthood candidate, it’s not just that Democrats seeking this office are losing touch with where Americans actually are on the question of abortion, or with our fundamental American convictions. It’s that, as my colleague from New York shows, they’re losing touch even with how to do politics like Americans where you argue about the ideas.
Americans have a genius for talking with each other. Our constitutional system was set up to debate fora like this to be able to facilitate, channel, and elevate debate – even heated, feverish debate, about really sensitive topics. Our framers held firmly to the principle that men and women, in the exercise of their reason, could come to agreements by persuasion and dialogue – even if it took a long time and even if it was difficult. Anything less was a violation of the basic dignity of our fellow citizens. They knew that political issues cannot be properly resolved at gunpoint. They should be resolved by debate.
We are watching that conviction go by the wayside. Slandering pro-life Americans as, in effect, Klan members and Nazis is a way of crushing debate. It’s a way of saying that these people – people like my mom (who prays outside abortion clinics), people like my daughters and my wife (who’ve spent a lot of hours volunteering at a crisis pregnancy centers), and people like the overwhelming majority of the Nebraskans that I get to represent – it’s a way of saying that these people are so morally repugnant that they don’t deserve a voice, they don’t deserve to be treated like human beings, they don’t deserve to be engaged in debate, they’re not people that you could possibly have reasonable conversation with them.
This is crazy talk.
It’s not difficult to imagine where this approach leads. When we lose sight of the intrinsic and inexhaustible dignity of unborn children, we open the door to abortion’s violence. When we lose sight of the dignity of our fellow citizens in debate, we open the door to yet other kinds of violence.
The senator concluded by stating that the Democrats should spend some time with pro-life activists, who are not caricatures, but three-dimensional human beings who care deeply for the lives of women and the preborn:
I have spent a lot of time with pro-lifers in my life – probably a lot more time than most of my colleagues who are going to be at the Planned Parenthood debate in South Carolina on Saturday. And I’ll tell ya, what you won’t find among these people is partisan caricature. What you will find are people who passionately are devoted to the dignity to every human being, no matter how small, no matter how small or how vulnerable or what disease they might have been diagnosed with. You will find a lot of Americans, young and old in the pro-life movement, who care deeply about women who are in need. You will find a lot of enthusiasm for the promising in vitro surgeries and for scientific developments in ultrasound and neonatal technology. You’ll find fellow citizens ready to advance the basic American commitment to life through the tools of dialogue, persuasion, and respect.
The dehumanization of our friends and neighbors – whether they’re in the opposite party, or in the womb – destroys our national life together and our national conversations. We need, on both sides, to be constantly stitching back together that fabric that’s been torn asunder.
I’d suggest to the Democrats that are heading to South Carolina this weekend that they should spend less time wrestling with each other to say more ridiculously extreme clickbait things for a high propensity primary voter, and they spend more time listening to the voices of their pro-life fellow citizens. My guess is they’ll learn something – and our national debate will be the better for it.