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Further Discussion of Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SANTORUM. We resume today the debate on the issue of partial-birth abortion and Congress's fourth attempt to ban this procedure. There have been comments in the past about some of the descriptions we have used on the floor as to whether they are accurate, and whether some of the charts we have used are medically accurate charts. Some suggested in the line drawings we had depicted a fetus that was larger than the size of most in partial-birth abortions. In working with people from the medical community, we have come up with more realistic drawings to depict the actual procedure so people can graphically understand what is described in this legislation.

I will read the description in the legislation and show how the chart behind me is representative of this description. We have tightened the definition. The reason we tightened the definition was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court that found the original definition in the congressional bill, which is similar to the one in Nebraska, was unduly vague, and, therefore, unconstitutional because of vagueness. We have taken further steps to make sure that by banning this procedure we are not including any other procedure that is used for late-trimester, late-term abortions.

Let me read what is in the legislation today and then go through the charts to show how that comports with this definition.

(1) the term "partial-birth abortion" means an abortion in which—

(A) the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother .    .    .

Now, I break from the text as to what partial-birth abortions are. The procedure itself is done in a breech position, but there may be a case—and this is what we are taking into consideration, here, the presentation—where the doctor makes a mistake and cannot deliver the child for some reason in a breech position. As I know, having been the father of seven children, you do not want a breech delivery. That is a dangerous delivery. That is not a normal delivery.

To authorize or to start a delivery in breech is a higher risk to the mother, No. 1. No. 2, for purposes of this procedure, that is what is described, that is what the doctors have said is the procedure which they would recommend. But there are always, in these medical procedures, chances for things to go awry so we take into consideration that if for some reason during this procedure the head is presented first, that will still be covered.

or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and

(B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.

Now, that is the description that is in the bill.

Let me show graphically the process by which this abortion takes place. This is a picture of a fetus inside the mother's uterus with the gestational age of roughly 24 weeks. The gestational period is 40 weeks for normal development. We are talking about now 24 weeks, or better than halfway through the pregnancy. That is when the vast majority of partial-birth abortions occur. In fact, all of them occur after 20 weeks. Most of them occur 22, 24, 26 weeks.

In the first picture we see the baby in the womb, in the normal fetal position. What has happened before this procedure occurs is the mother presents herself to the abortionist. And the abortionist, in making a determination to do a partial-birth abortion, gives the mother a medication to dilate her cervix so this procedure can then be performed. This dilation occurs over a 2-day period. The woman presents one day, the next day she stays at home, and the third day she arrives at the abortion clinic.

I use abortion clinic advisedly because this procedure is not performed in hospitals. It is not taught at medical schools. It is done solely at abortion clinics. The doctor who created this procedure testified that the reason he created this procedure was not because this was a better medical procedure for women. This was not designed for women's health. He said, and I am quoting him, he designed this procedure because other late-term abortions, when women presented themselves into his office, took 45 minutes. He could do this procedure in 15 minutes. Therefore, he said, he can do more abortions; he can make more money. So the person who designed this procedure, the person who put the medical literature out on this procedure is very clear as to why he designed this procedure. It is quick. It is easier for him. And he can make more money because he can do more abortions in a day.

So the mother, having been presented at the abortion clinic 2 days before, takes this drug. We heard from the Senator from Ohio yesterday, Senator DeWine, of instances where mothers in Ohio, two cases—remember, this procedure was invented by a doctor in Ohio—two cases from a Dayton abortion clinic where the mother was given medicine to dilate her cervix and in two separate cases, because of the dilation, labor was induced and two different women delivered babies. One named Baby Hope lived 3½ hours and was not given medical treatment. I don't know all the facts as to why. Maybe it was an assessment that the child was too premature to live. The second baby, Baby Grace, was born and survived as a result of the live birth.

So we are talking about children here. This is very important. We are talking about this little infant here, this fetus, that would otherwise be born alive. The definition of the bill, I repeat one more time, of a baby delivered in a breech position:

    .    .    . any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purposes of performing an overt act that .    .    . will kill the .    .    . fetus.

    You cannot kill a fetus if it is not alive. So this is a very important part of this definition. When the baby is delivered, the baby must be alive. If the baby is dead, we are not talking about an abortion because the baby is already dead. We are talking about a living fetus, living baby.

    The first step now, the women presents herself, the cervix has been dilated, the physician goes in and grabs the baby's foot and begins to pull the baby into the birth canal in a breech position. Again, I repeat, no one preferably delivers a child in a breech position. It is just not what is medically recommended, but in this case we have the child being presented in a breech position.

    Again, you can see the size of the baby in relationship to the size of the hand of the doctor. Some will say, well, that baby is much bigger than a baby. This is a blown-up chart. Of course it is bigger. Look at the size of the child relative to the size of the hand of the physician who is performing this abortion. You will see the size is about the size of the hand, 8, 9 inches in length, which is roughly the size of a child at that gestational age.

    The child is pulled through the birth canal and presented.

    Remember, here is the child outside of the mother as described in the bill, outside of the mother beyond the navel. The child is alive. The child is alive and is being delivered in this breech position. But the child is alive at this point in time.

    But for what I am going to describe in charts 4 and 5, this child could be born alive. It would be born alive. It had the potential to survive. But that doesn't occur in the case of the partial-birth abortion.

    What happens next is the abortionist takes a pair of sharp scissors and, probing with their fingers to find the base of the baby's skull, the softer point here, below the bone that protects the brain, finds a soft spot and thrusts a pair of scissors into the base of a living child's head who would otherwise be born alive.

    One of the nurses who testified before Congress said she witnessed a partial-birth abortion and she witnessed the reaction of a child who was killed by one of these procedures and she said she saw the child's arms go out, flinch like a baby would do if you dropped it—sort of let it go. They let their arms and legs sort of go out. That is what this little child will go through as a result of this procedure.

    Can this child feel pain? Most assuredly. Its nervous system is developed. In fact, going back to the first chart, when the doctor is reaching in to try to grab the leg, as has been described in testimony, the child tries to get away from the instrument that is grabbing its foot. The scissors are thrust into the base of the skull. That very well may kill the child. I don't know. In some cases it probably would. Probably in most cases it would.

    But we are not done yet. We have to add insult to the injury. The doctor takes a suction catheter and, through the hole which is now in the base of the child's skull, he inserts a suction tube, and with that suction—tube he turns it on and suctions out the baby's brain. It collapses the baby's skull.

    For those of you who have held newborns, you know that their skull is very soft, pliable. So without anything inside, it has been suctioned out through force, the baby's head collapses, and the rest of the baby can be delivered.

    This is a procedure that is barbaric. It is barbaric. On a little baby who would otherwise be born alive—and if there is any question about that, I point to you Baby Hope and Baby Grace, who were ticketed for partial-birth abortions but were delivered prior to that.

    What we have suggested in the Senate now, for the fourth Congress in a row, is that a procedure that was developed by a doctor who testified that the reason he developed this procedure was that he could do more abortions, make more money, is not medically necessary under any circumstances.

    I have a quote here from Warren Hern. Warren Hern is a noted third-trimester abortionist. He has written books on late-term abortions. He does a lot of them. When he says, "I have very serious reservations about this procedure .    .    . you really can't defend it .    .    . I would dispute any statement that this is the safest procedure to use .    .    . " this isn't RICK SANTORUM who has trouble with abortion, period—I admit that—this is someone who does abortions. This is someone who does late-term abortions. As I said, Dr. Warren Hern is the author of the standard textbook on abortion procedures. We have a situation where this procedure was designed simply so they could do more late-term abortions quicker.

There is plenty of evidence—I will get into this later—that this procedure has profound, long-term health consequences to women. This is not, as Dr. Hern says, the safest procedure for women.

There is no case—and I am going to underscore this 100 times, and I challenge anyone who opposes this legislation—anyone: If you are on the floor of the Senate, listening back home, listening—if anyone here, anyone across America, anyone around the world—and I want the Supreme Court to hear this—anyone can present to me a case, a factual situation where a partial-birth abortion is medically necessary vis-a-vis other types of abortions, if you can present to me one case, I will be shocked. That is because I have been asking this question for 7 years here on the floor of the Senate, outside, to groups—the folks who agree with me, the folks who disagree with me.

I have asked one question: Tell me why this is medically necessary. Tell me why, when even abortionists say it is not medically necessary, where no medical school in the country teaches this procedure, tell me why we have to keep this brutality of killing a child literally inches away from being born, why we have to keep up this brutality that is done purely so doctors who are abortionists can make more money, legal in America.

I ask again, anybody who comes here to the floor to debate this issue, who says we need a health exception, give me one case—one case. Seven years I have asked this question. Seven years I have asked this question. One case. Never has anyone even tried to put one together here on the Senate floor.

I am hopeful the Senate will act on this bill. I am happy the minority whip, Senator Reid, has given us a list of amendments so we can proceed in an orderly fashion on this legislation.

I see the Senator from Washington is here to offer her amendment. I certainly want to give her the opportunity to do that. I am looking forward to debate, not only on these amendments but to have a really good, honest debate—I underscore the word "honest." There has been a lot of information—I will go through that, too—that has been put out by people who oppose this ban, everything from saying the anesthesia kills the baby to on down the line. There has been a lot of information that has been erroneous that has been put out by the other side.

I am looking forward to a good, honest debate on this issue. I hope we can get an overwhelming vote in the Senate to ban a procedure that is horrific, brutal, and never medically necessary for any purpose. It is only necessary so we can have abortionists who do late-term abortions earn more money, and that isn't a good reason to allow this barbaric procedure to proceed.

I yield the floor.

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