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Public Statements

Senator Santorum Further Discusses Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I pay tribute to the Senator from Ohio who was in the Chamber until about this hour last night laying out very clearly, very succinctly, the legal, moral, ethical, and medical evidence as to why this procedure should be banned and why this Senate should feel comfortable, from all of those perspectives, in passing this legislation.
He has done an outstanding job, a thorough job. He has been an invaluable ally in the Senate in making the case, hopefully convincing case, to hopefully a clear majority of our colleagues, that we should proceed, maybe as early as tomorrow, in passing this legislation.

I thank the Senator from Ohio for his outstanding work and his obvious commitment to this cause.

I wanted to respond to the Senator but I got sidetracked. The Senator from Illinois mentioned something at the end of his talk, and I focused on that and I forgot to respond to a couple of other points he made with respect to his amendment.

I focus on the two problems, again, and respond to his defense of his amendment. He defended his amendment and spent the entire time talking about the grievous physical injury, grievous injury that could result, that would be the exception for his ban on late-term abortions.

I have concerns because of the issue of risk, and I don't want to repeat that. But what he did not talk about, as big or if not a bigger hole in this legislation, is the whole issue of viability. I believe the Senator—and I will check the record on this, and if I am wrong, I apologize. I believe the Senator from Illinois suggested that the physician certify that a child is not viable, and if there was a determination that the child was viable, he could lose his license. I don't see that in the legislation. I don't see a second doctor overseeing the issue of viability. It is clear from the reading of the language that the second doctor can review the risk of serious injury but is not responsible under the legislation for reviewing the issue of viability.

So we have, again, before we even get to the issue of injury or health risk, we have the issue of the abortionist determining whether the baby about to be aborted is viable. Since most partial-birth abortions and most abortions, generally, occur prior to viability, and most abortions, even late-term abortions, occur in the 20th, 26th, 27th week, very few occur 30-plus weeks where viability rates are very high. We are talking here about giving the abortionist, certainly in the case of partial-birth abortions, an unreviewable decision that even in the cases of 35 weeks there may be—I have not looked at the literature because it is, I agree, a rare circumstance—I suggest there are probably some instances where you can conclude the child is not viable for some reason, even at that stage.

What the Senator from Illinois has done is create a standard of viability that is not reviewable, and certainly with the case of partial-birth abortions, and I know his amendment purports to cover more than that, it covers even a very small subset of those abortions that we are talking about.

Mr. DURBIN. Will the Senator yield?

Mr. SANTORUM. I am happy to yield.

Mr. DURBIN. At the risk of reading what has been read many times:

It shall be unlawful for a physician to intentionally abort a viable fetus unless the physician prior to performing the abortion—

(1) certifies in writing .    .    .

The premise of this amendment is viability.

Now, I will concede the point, there are fetuses in the 35th week and later that are not viable, will never survive outside the womb. But the premise here is the fact that you must be dealing with a viable fetus in order for this prohibition to apply and for the exceptions to be applied, as well.

For the Senator to continue to ignore this clear language, I have to say I am prepared to defend what is written here. I am not prepared to defend what the Senator refuses to read.

Mr. SANTORUM. Reclaiming my time, is the Senator from Illinois stating that legislation requires a second opinion on the issue of viability?

Mr. DURBIN. It says:

An independent physician who will not perform or be present at the abortion and who was not previously involved in the treatment of the mother certifies in writing that, in his or her medical judgment based on the particular facts of the case, the continuation of the pregnancy would threaten the mother's life or risk grievous injury to her physical health.

This is not your so-called abortionist. This is an independent physician.

Mr. SANTORUM. I did not hear the word "viable" in that second definition. There was no term—

Mr. DURBIN. May I ask the Senator a question? The Senator is understood to be a practicing attorney; is that true?

Mr. SANTORUM. That is correct.

Mr. DURBIN. I ask the Senator to pause and think about that for a moment. If a doctor called you and said: Attorney Santorum, there has to be a second opinion here on whether this mother's pregnancy should be terminated postviability, late term, what do you suggest?

I think the first thing you would ask is: What is the penalty if you are mistaken?

Oh, I could lose my license, face a penalty of $100,000 or $250,000.

I think Attorney Santorum and Attorney Durbin would say to this doctor: Wait a minute. Let me sit down and talk to you. Are you prepared to stand behind the fact that this is a viable fetus? Are you prepared to stand behind the fact that there is a threat to life here? Because if you are not, stay away from us.

Mr. SANTORUM. Reclaiming my time, you ask: Are you prepared to stand behind the fact this is a viable fetus? Yet your amendment does not say that. Your amendment does not say the second physician has to certify to viability.

What your amendment says is they have to certify that there is a risk—that word that I have trouble with, a "risk," a risk, not a substantial risk, not a verifiable risk, but a risk of grievous injury.

So your amendment does not deal with the independent physician second-guessing the determination by the doctor that this is a viable fetus. So we do not even get to the issue of risk if the doctor says it is not viable. If the doctor says it is not viable, no one is looking over his shoulder because your ban does not apply. So nobody is coming in and saying: Well, I understand you can say you are heavy handed with this doctor. We have a doctor, Dr. Hern, who will certify under oath that every pregnancy is a risk, that he can look at any pregnancy and find a substantial risk, and the nexus you spoke about under the legislation. This is the person who read the entire text of your amendment and said he is willing to do so in every circumstance.

Setting that aside, we do not even get to that if the doctor determines no viability, correct? Is that correct?

Mr. DURBIN. I say that it is a condition to even—

Mr. SANTORUM. The condition is not a reviewable condition.

Mr. DURBIN. It is certainly reviewable.

I say to the Senator from Pennsylvania, having sat across the desk from many physicians whom I represented, and sued, believe me, trust me, they are not going to stick their neck out, put their medical license on the line, unless there is certainty in their mind that they comply with the statute.

The suggestion by the Senator—

Mr. SANTORUM. The Senator from Illinois just said the statute does not apply if the physician certifies it is not viable. So the statute does not apply if the license is not on the line. But your statute does not say that. You may want to say that, but it does not say that.

Mr. DURBIN. I say to the Senator, I hope you understand that you and I come to this from a different perspective. Your perspective is one abortion procedure. You are prepared to not accept, but to tolerate other destructions of the fetus in abortion, but not this one, which troubles you greatly.

I don't deal with that aspect. I deal with postviability, that is, late-term abortions, of all types. And there is the distinction.
If the Senator is saying to me: "You do not cover fetuses that are not viable," guilty as charged. This amendment does not address the fetus that is not viable.

Mr. SANTORUM. I appreciate that. Let me reiterate for the record, I do not question—and I mean this with all sincerity—I do not question the sincerity of the Senator from Illinois. I know because many on his side have voted against his amendment who agree with him on the position of abortion. So I truly do recognize the Senator is attempting to find some middle ground.

With all due respect, I just don't believe you have gotten there, but I do not question you have attempted to do so.

The point I am trying to make is the whole operation of your statute does not apply unless the physician claims viability. If the physician doesn't claim viability, then your statute doesn't apply. I am a physician. I say—and under the Supreme Court a physician can abort a child under any circumstances for any reason up until the time of separation. So I have no legal liability out there. Outside of your amendment, I have no concern about my license, a lawyer, anything.

So all I have to say is this child is not viable. If I make the claim this child is not viable—I don't care if it is 39 weeks and 5 days. If I say it is not viable, your statute does not apply. If your statute does not apply, I am in the clear. So that is the concern I have, that you leave the determination of viability to the physician.

Mr. DURBIN. Can I ask—at least make a point here for the Senator from Pennsylvania? If he would be kind enough to read section 1532 of the penalties, under offenses: First offense, section (b), second offense, section (c). Note that it says:

Upon a finding by the court the respondent in an action commenced under subsection (a) has knowingly violated a provision of this chapter, the court shall notify .    .    .

And it goes on to say medical license at stake, fine at stake.

Now, if you will turn back to read section (a) you will find 1531, section (a) includes viability of fetus.

So if a doctor has misrepresented—for example, if there is medical evidence the fetus was viable and the doctor went ahead and performed an abortion, arguing, "Well, it wasn't viable," and in so doing has misrepresented the medical facts, he can have his license revoked and face the penalty. That is what it says, section (a). It doesn't go down to subsection (1) and (2); it says subsection (a), which includes viability of the fetus.

What we are driving at is this, I would say to the Senator from Pennsylvania. Under this language I don't think I am going to get endorsed by any medical group that is going to stand up and say what a great amendment, Senator Durbin, because it puts an extraordinary burden on doctors who want to be involved in these abortions. But I think that burden is merited when we are dealing with these particular circumstances.

Mr. SANTORUM. I would just suggest to the Senator from Illinois, having read this, having read the reference—not criminal but civil penalties could apply—it still leaves viability, No. 1, undefined; and, No. 2, solely at the discretion of the abortionist. You can say there is other evidence. But particularly when most of these abortions are performed, most late-term abortions are performed—the question of viability is a percentage. You can talk to most obstetricians and they will tell you the determination of viability is very difficult. Frankly, you leave it unreviewable from the standpoint of the act.

You say someone could bring a suit or someone could bring charges. The question is, Who would bring the charges? That is another story. But nevertheless, someone could. But to be able to prove a child is viable when you have up through early 30 weeks a percentage that are not, I think is a very steep task, and one that would not, I believe, dissuade. Certainly in the area where most late-term abortions are performed, the percentage is high enough that any abortionist could come forward and say this child, I just didn't believe it could live, and that as long as they did so with a reasonable judgment, you have no opportunity. You have no standard. You really do leave this very much wide open. I would just argue it does not accomplish what you want.

Again, there may be a handful of abortions that would fall under this in terms of a court or somebody saying because of the advanced—38, 39, 37 weeks we would have—there is a presumption of viability. But there is no presumption of viability in this statute. There is no presumption of viability, I believe, in any statute I am aware of. So if there is no presumption, then you have a very difficult task proving viability when you are not the physician at the time, there, doing the procedure.

Even if we get past the viability issue, which I believe we have not gotten past, you have this whole issue of risk of grievous injury to her physical health. I would again argue that the word "risk" leaves open a wide area, a wide berth for opportunity for physicians to get around this problem.

I just refer you to not just Warren Hern, but we have other physicians, other abortionists who have come forward and said they would come forward certifying that, under your statute, they read your language and said they would feel comfortable under that language. I suggest there are still problems here.

Again, I respect the Senator for his desire to deal with this issue, but I just don't believe his amendment hits the mark.

Mr. President, I am going to depart from conversation on the Durbin amendment and I will not talk anymore about it this evening. If the Senator wants to stay some more and talk about it, I am just going to talk generally on the bill.

I do not want to tell the Senator it is 8:30, if he wants to go home, he can go home, but I am going to make just some general comments on the bill. Then I intend to wrap up.

If the Senator would like to make another comment for a few minutes? OK. Then I will just proceed.

I will be brief because I know the Presiding Officer has been in the chair a long time and we have students here who want to get out before 9 o'clock so they can be in class tomorrow morning, so I want to make sure they are not deprived of their educational opportunities. I will do my best to finish before 9 o'clock.

When I came to the floor years ago to debate this issue, we talked a lot about the impact of abortion in this country; as Senator Brownback said earlier, the cheapening of the value of human life that has occurred as a result of legalized abortion. That was amplified greatly by this particular procedure, this brutal procedure in which the child, a living child is all but born, 3 inches from legal protection under the Constitution, and then treated so brutally, so harshly.

I talked about the culture and how the culture is implicated in this, and how the medical profession is implicated in this. We hear so much talk about obstetricians wanting to keep these legal, but you would be hard-pressed in many communities to find obstetricians because of legal liability and all the problems associated with that.

In fact, the indication I talked about a few years ago was a classic case in point of obstetricians' insensitivity to life, compounded with their fear of legal liability. It is a pretty potent combination for any child with a disability in utero. It leads a lot of doctors to head out of town and not want to deliver children with any kind of fetal abnormality. Mothers who have children with fetal abnormality really do have trouble finding doctors who will treat because of the fear of litigation and because of this sense that, well, you know, let's just have an abortion. You don't want to be hassled with this child who may have multiple difficulties or problems. Certainly I don't want to have to deliver a child who has multiple problems because you can blame me for some of this, or I can be dragged into lawsuits.

So we have a real coarsening, from both the litigation end and, I would argue, from the abortion end of this issue dealing with the very children the other side uses to legitimize or attempt to legitimize the procedure of partial birth.

For these hard cases—these hard cases are not cases where the woman's life or health is in danger, but where the child's prognosis is poor because of multiple abnormalities—trisomy 13 was one example, aencephaly was, I think, another example, or hydrocephaly. There are all sorts of examples out there where children who have very severe birth defects are sort of shoved aside by our health care system, because of insensitivity to life compounded with the fear of legal liability, the one such case which I talked about in great detail was the case of Donna Joy Watts. Donna Joy came here to the Senate. In fact, her mother sat up in the galleries. Donna Joy was not allowed to sit in the galleries because she wasn't old enough. Under the rule, we were not permitted to bring her into the gallery.

She is a little girl who is a true miracle.

Very briefly, 7 months into her pregnancy, Lori Watts and her husband, Donny, learned through a sonogram that their child would not be normal. She went to see a genetic counselor. Unfortunately, there are far too many genetic counselors in this country. The genetic counselor quickly referred her for an abortion saying that their child had hydrocephalus, which is water on the brain; and that as a result of the water buildup, brain development was not normal because of pressure on the brain. As a result, their child would either die shortly after birth or would be living a "horrible life."

One of these genetic counselors suggested what would be a partial-birth abortion.

They didn't know that they were being referred for an abortion when they were referred to the doctor. But they were. They rejected that option. Through their faith and through their love of their child in the womb, they made the decision that if their child, Donna Joy, was hurting and was sick, they would act like parents who have a child that is hurting and sick. You do everything you can to help your child. It is a natural parental reaction. It is a very difficult reaction. It is very difficult to deal with these circumstances. But it is the instinct to first want to see what you can do to help your child, even if things look hopeless.

I have given the example many times. When parents find out their 7-year-old is stricken with leukemia which may be fatal, or diagnosed as fatal, I don't think the immediate reaction of most parents is, well, let us execute him to put him out of his misery. The immediate reaction is, What can we do to fight? What can we do to help this child survive? How can we rally around him or her to fight this problem that has confronted our family? Thankfully, many parents respond like Donny and Lori Watts. They were advised to see a specialist in high-risk obstetrics. I will not go through all of the details, but I can tell you that they went to hospitals and practice after practice. Practices simply wouldn't see them. They wouldn't see Lori because of her high-risk pregnancy and because of high risk in the sense that their daughter had severe abnormalities.

Eventually, they were able to find a doctor at the University of Maryland who agreed to monitor the pregnancy. And through a C-section, Donna Joy was born on November 26, 1991. She had very serious health consequences.

This is a picture of her. You can see the size of her head. It was large as a result of the hydrocephalus.

The Watts family lives in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.

Seven months into her third pregnancy, Lori Watts learned that her child would not be "normal." Through a sonogram, Lori and her husband Donny learned that their child had a condition known as hydrocephalus—an excessive amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull, also known as "water on the brain."

Lori's Ob-Gyn made an appointment for her to see a doctor billed as a "genetics counselor" at a clinic. When Lori Watts phoned the clinic to get directions and ask what they planned to do, the staff member told her that most hydrocephalic "fetuses" do not carry to term so they would terminate the pregnancy. When she asked how they could do an abortion so later in the pregnancy, she was told that the doctor could use a "skull-collapsing" technique—what we refer to as a partial-birth abortion. Appalled, Lori promptly canceled the appointment. When Donny Watts demanded to know why they had been referred to a facility that performs abortions, their Ob-Gyn explained that he thought he had referred them to a different doctor at that same clinic—a doctor who would have suggested ways to keep the child alive. The Wattses were stunned to realize that the clinic offered both life and death—depending on which staff doctor you happened to speak with.

Their Ob-Gyn then advised the Wattses to see a specialist in high-risk obstetrics. They never expected the cavalier treatment they received from the medical community. Doctors at Johns Hopkins University, Union Memorial Hospital, and the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore were quick to dismiss their baby's chances for survival and even suggested that if the child lived, she would be "a burden, a heartache, a sorrow." According to Donny Watts, "They wouldn't even give her a chance." Instead, they urged Lori to abort the baby to protect her own health and future fertility. Medical staff at Johns Hopkins would not even see Mrs. Watts. When she explained her situation over the telephone, she was urged to have an abortion. The Watts family received similar treatment from a perinatologist and a specialist in high-risk and severe abnormalities at Union Memorial Hospital. This perinatologist advised Mrs. Watts to have an abortion and claimed that without a neo-natal intensive care unit NICU, Union Memorial could not care for this sort of child. After making her own inquiries, however, Mrs. Watts learned that Union Memorial did in fact have a NICU. The Wattses next appealed to the University of Maryland high-risk obstetrics clinic, where the attending physician told Mrs. Watts she needed an abortion because the "fetus" had occipital mening oencepha locele—part of the brain was developing outside the skull.

Still determined to save their child, Lori and Donny Watts continued educating themselves about their baby's abnormalities and searching for a doctor who would perform the delivery. Finally, another doctor at the University of Maryland agreed to monitor the pregnancy. Through a Caesarean delivery, the Watts' third daughter, Donna Joy, was born on November 26, 1991.

Yes, Donna Joy was born with serious health problems. And like any loving parents, the Wattses expected the medical community to work tirelessly to help their new baby survive. They were greatly disappointed to discover that many members of the hospital staff treated Donna Joy with the same apathy, pessimism, and callousness after her birth. For instance, the Wattses were alarmed that doctors waited three days to implant a shunt to drain excess fluid from the baby's head. In prenatal consultations with a perinatologist, they had learned that the shunt should have been implanted as soon after the delivery as possible.

To add insult to injury, hospital staff made no attempt to feed Donna Joy in the traditional sense. Doctors at the University of Maryland believed that Donna Joy's deformities would prevent her from sucking, eating or swallowing. Because of a neural tube defect that made feeding her difficult, Donna Joy received only IV fluids for the first days of her life. Lori refused to give up. Initially, she literally fed breast milk to Donna Joy with a sterilized eye dropper, to provide sustenance. Then, at two weeks of age, the shunt failed, and Donna Joy was readmitted to the hospital for corrective surgery. When a tray of food was delivered to her hospital room by mistake, Lori had a brainstorm. She mashed the contents together and created her own food for the newborn with rice, bananas, and baby formula. She fed this mixture to the baby one drop at a time with a feeding syringe.

Unfortunatley, Donna Joy's fight for life became even more complicated. At two months of age, she underwent an operation to correct the occipital meningoencephalocele. At four months, a CT scan revealed that she also suffered from lobar-holoprosencephaly—a condition which results from incomplete cleavage of the brain. She was also suffering from epilepsy, sleep disorders, and continued digestive complications. In fact, the baby's neurologist conveyed to a colleague, "We may have to consider placement of a gastronomy tube in order to maintain her nutrition and physical growth." The baby was still hydrocephalic and could not hold her head up. Furthermore, the baby was suffering from apenea—a condition in which spontaneous breathing stops.

Then, at eighteen months of age, Donna Joy had another brush with death. She had suffered from encephalitis—inflammation of the brain—throughout the summer. Donna Joy developed amnesia, tore at her face and eyes, and could not talk or walk. Her recovery was—miraculously, I would suggest—facilitated when Lori Watts popped a tape into her VCR at random. The tape happened to contain an episode of the television show Quantum Leap in which the show's star, Scott Bakula, sings a song. Upon hearing Bakula's rendition of "Somewhere in the Night," Donna Joy showed the first signs of responsiveness in months.

At two years of age, Donna Joy had already undergone eight brain operations. Although most of these occurred at the University of Maryland Hospital, in one case doctors had to perform surgery at the child's bedside with local anesthesia. Finally, the family received good news about Donna Joy's prospects. Donna's neurologist, who re-examined the child after a seizure in September, 1996, noted that at four and one half years, Donna Joy could speak, walk, and handle objects fairly well. He also thanked a colleague " .    .    . for the kind approval for follow-up and allowing me to re-assess this beautiful young child, who is remarkably doing very well in spite of such a significant malformation of the brain."

Before Donna Joy moved to Pennsylvania, Maryland Governor Parris Glendenning honored her with a Certificate of Courage commemorating her fifth birthday. Mayor Steve Sager, of Hagerstown, Maryland, proclaimed her birthday Donna Joy Watts Day. Members of the Scott Bakula fan club have sent donations and Christmas presents for the Watts children. People from around the world who have learned about Donna Joy on the Internet have also been moved to write and send gifts. But perhaps most important, the Watts' determination has inspired a Denver couple to fight for their little boy under similar circumstances.

There is a lot of talk on the other side about partial birth abortions being necessary to preserve future fertility—indeed, one doctor cautioned Lori Watts that her fertility could be compromised if she chose not to have a partial birth abortion. Well, in June 1995 Lori and Donny Watts experienced the joy of welcoming another child—Shaylah—into the family. Like many children, Shaylah has asthma, but is otherwise healthy. Furthermore, Lori Watts experienced no similar complications with this pregnancy.

The story of Donna Joy Watts continues to inspire the public. The child that nobody gave a chance to live is now 11 years old. She has outlived her original prognosis by a decade. She continues to battle holoprosencephaly, hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, tunnel vision, and Arnold-Chiari Type II Malformation—which prevented development for her medulla oblongata.

Donna Joy visited my office just a few weeks ago with her mother, father, and two of her sisters. She is now being home schooled with her sisters. She is very active outside of school too. She has taken a gym class where her favorite activities are running track and playing soccer. While she may tire a little bit faster than the other kids, there is no question that she keeps up with them and follows the rules of the games. Her teacher has said how very proud she is of how Donna has excelled in class. She has also taken art classes, where she particularly likes painting and beadwork. She loves music, and her church wanted me to know how much they love having Donna in their choir. She is active in not only her church choir, but also actively participates in her Sunday school class. The picture we have here is from a few years ago when Donna Joy was flower girl in her aunt's wedding, one of 2 weddings Donna Joy was in that summer. And she continues to add to her collection of movie star memorabilia. Oh, and she recently made an appearance on the Donahue Show with her mom Lori.

So far, Donna Joy sounds like a pretty normal kid. But let me tell you a little bit more about her. Donna Joy is also very thoughtful about the needs of others. In her Sunday school class, she will stop and help the younger children who might be struggling with doing their crafts. She helps out around the house—without complaining! Donna Joy regularly helps a local shop pack up their extra cloths for shelters for abused women, shelters for the homeless, and for orphanages in Romania. Not only that, but with her sisters and mother, she regularly visits the elderly in nursing homes. She finds out which of them hasn't had a visitor in a while and then plays games and sings with them. This little girl once described as "a burden, a heartache, a sorrow" is in fact a beautiful, lively child who is now caring for the needs of others.

Donna Joy's pastor recently sent me a letter expressing his appreciation of Donna Joy's life. Pastor David Rawley noted that "had Donna Joy's parents followed the advice of several physicians and aborted this child, our community and church would have been bereft of an absolute treasure." He referred to himself as "a member of the community which benefits from her life." I think he raises an important point. We never know ahead of time the impact that one life—in this case, Donna Joy's—will have on a family, on a community, or for that matter, the world. Lori wrote me the other day to say, "Donna Joy never put my life at risk. She's only made it better!

Let me say again that Donna Joy went through an enormous amount of medical procedures—shunts. She suffered from epilepsy, sleep disorders, digestive complications, a variety of different complications that came with the condition that she had in utero. She suffered from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. She was 18 months of age and had all sorts of problems—amnesia, tore at her face and eyes, couldn't walk or talk. She was not given much chance of recovery. And then a miracle happened. Donna Joy liked the television show, "Quantum Leap" and the show's star, Scott Bakula. She would perk up when he sang a song. She would light up. She was responsive. By putting the tape in and continuing to stimulate her, she was able to come through this and survive.

She underwent eight brain operations by the age of 2. She incurred a lot. She was a great inspiration to me in pursuing this cause because she was proof that these children who are unwanted, who are wanted up to a point and then unwanted, unfortunately—because of their abnormality, they become unwanted and a subject for an abortion.

This is a hard case, a crisis pregnancy, as someone described, that turned out for the best.

In previous discussions I talked about cases that didn't turn out so well. Subsequent to this debate and the publishing of my wife's book about our son, Gabriel Michael, whose case did not turn out as well as Donna Joy Watts, many people have talked to Karen and to me about their own personal stories, and their own crises that they had to go through and deal with. They talked about the difficulties that were presented and how happy they were looking back that they saw it through; supporting and loving their child up until natural death; and the healing experience that they endured as a result of the pain that was brought upon them.

Donna Joy is a good story. Donna Joy is someone who survived. All these obstacles were placed in front of her. But she lived despite what everyone said was an impossible situation. We have a recent picture of her.

This is Donna Joy in a recent picture. She served as a flower girl in a wedding. I understand she was in two weddings that summer. She has had health problems and continues to have some. She has difficulties. Having six little children at home, I know all about those difficulties and challenges that each individual child brings. But she is a fighter. She is an inspiration to all the moms and dads who are going to confront a difficult pregnancy—a pregnancy as some would suggest which will go awry. Maybe 1 percent, 10 percent, 5 percent, some small percentage of the people who had Donna Joy's condition will survive as well as she is. But she did because her parents believed in her. They didn't accept the culture that said: You don't need this birth. It is too much for you.

I am sure Lori and Donny would say this is too much at times, as any parent would. But here is a real-life situation with hopelessness. But occasionally there comes hope.

As bad as it can be, if you have trust in your instincts and you follow those instincts to love and support and nurture the child whom God has given you, as a gift—it may not be as you open the package what you expected it to be, but it is nonetheless a gift; and you have to search, many times, for meaning from the gift, as Karen and I have—but search and you will find the gift.

In Lori and Donny's case, the gift is obvious. She is a beautiful girl, who wrote me a letter. I would like to read that letter into the RECORD. She wrote it on March 6. She said:

Dear Senator Santorum,

I think abortion is very mean. I am very glad that my Mom and Dad did not let me die. I like to sing Karen Carpenter songs. I like to play with my best friend Mariam. I love my family and my church. My favorite actor is Scott Bakula. I love pizza! I love my puppy. Please tell the President and the other Senators that I want to be a T.V. star, and a pilot, and a U.S. Senator. Please tell them I want to live!

She is an example of the triumph of the human spirit that is far too often snuffed out by this brutal procedure. This brutal procedure not only snuffs out so much human potential, but its very presence in our society affects our spirit. It dulls our senses. It makes us less aware of the world around us because it is another thing we just have to block off, because we certainly cannot think, as we go through the day, of the dozen or so—maybe a few less, maybe a few more—of these procedures being performed on little babies, as the Kansas report says, with healthy mothers, healthy children.

If we thought every day about what partial-birth abortion is and the horror it brings to these little children, we would have trouble going home. So we just put it aside. We bury it someplace, as we bury so much else, and it hardens us. It takes a little breath of spirit out of us and makes us a less caring and loving culture, less sensitive to the needs and wants of our neighbors, and particularly the little children.

We have already seen it. Not only the 1.3 million abortions in this country, but we see it in people such as Peter Singer, who talks about children being killed after they are born, up to a year now, he says, because they really don't know who they are, and so it really doesn't matter. We kill them at that age. They have no sense of self. In some cases they may be in pain, so we need to alleviate pain.

See, that is absurd. Well, 40 years ago, this procedure that I described was considered too absurd to be legal in America, and it is.

So much that coarsens society is done just a little bit at a time, just on the fringes, just on the edges. And partial-birth abortion is just on the fringe, just on the edge, but yet coarsening our society, robbing us of the spirit, telling the world that we are not the country that we proclaim to be. And it is not even medically necessary.

I would ask my colleagues, tomorrow, if we get to a final vote, to support this language as is, not to pass any amendments to this bill. I encourage a very strong and robust vote, to send a message to America that this does offend us, and that this does coarsen our society, and we need to stop it, at least here.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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