PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN ACT OF 2003RESUMED
Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the issue of banning partial-birth abortion in the United States.
We have a unique opportunity to end this grisly practice of partial-birth abortion in this country. Sadly, some in this Chamber have delayed a vote to send this bill to conference and then to the President. That is what needs to take place.
This has passed the body repeatedly. The President is ready to sign it. It is time to move forward on this issue.
This is an important milestone. This will be the first time since the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that the Congress will have curtailed in any way the practice that results in the death of an innocent human being and the emotional wounding of the mother. In this process, both are victimsthe child and the mother.
The partial-birth abortion procedure, which former Senator Moynihan called the closest thing that he had seen to infanticide, is something that needs to be banned once and for all. This comes from both sides of the aisle. This comes from the American public. The vast majority of the American public, over 77 percent, support banning this procedure of partial-birth abortion. They see this as it is, as clearly the late-term killing of a child. And it ought to be stopped. It should have no place in a civilized country. It should have no place in a country such as the United States which stands for human rights and the dignity of the individual.
I believe the true mark of a civilized society is not the level of human dignity that it confers on the strong and wealthy. Its true mark is on how much it confers on the vulnerable and on the oppressed. Clearly, an abortion procedure that dismembers and kills a partially born human being has no place in a civilized society.
Aside from partial-birth abortion, it is becoming increasingly clear that the impact abortion has on this society, on the people, and particularly on the women who have had abortions, is itself profound.
I will talk briefly about the impact of having an abortion on a woman. There are an increasing number of studies coming forward about the woundedness that takes place to a woman.
I mention to my colleagues and to those watching a particular Web site titled "Women Deserve Better." I have met with the leadership from this group. A number of the women have had abortionssome of them have notand deeply regret it, going through years of suffering, emotional suffering, personal suffering, physical suffering, as a result. They have now said:
We were not told the story at that time. We were not told the truth of the amount of suffering we would go through. We were told this would take place and it would be quick and easy and it would be over with and that would be it. And it is far from the truth.
I cite one study from their Web site "Women Deserve Better," talking about psychological and emotional complications reported in a 1994 survey of women who had abortions and sought counseling, finding they experienced a range of problems. These are the women who have had abortions, including increased use of drugs and/or alcohol to deaden their pain, recurring insomnia and nightmares, eating disorders that began after they had the abortion, suicidal feelings, and many even attempted suicide. This is a report they have cited.
They went on to also cite who is at high risk for developing serious emotional and psychological problems following an abortion. They list a number of groups. One was women who had abortions after 12-weeks' gestation. That is certainly the case in partial-birth abortions where you have a gestation that would be over 12 weeks.
People should look at this. I ask unanimous consent to have this printed in the RECORD at the end of my comments.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
(See exhibit No. 1.)
Mr. BROWNBACK. We have two victims here: the child and the woman.
I am also particularly concerned that the widespread acceptance of this brutal practice of partial-birth abortion has already significantly coarsened public attitudes toward human life in general, particularly toward the most vulnerable in our society, whether they are the unborn or old and infirm. This coarsening of public attitude over the past several years has made other assaults against the dignity of human life possible, assaults such as partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, destructive embryo research, and now even human cloning where we would research on humans, we would patent a person and then research on them.
Furthermore, new studies in groups are coming forward addressing the horrible impact, as I noted earlier, on women who have had abortions and what this abortion's impact is on the woman.
We all have a duty, an obligation, as citizens of the United States to stand up against the moral outrage of abortion. Human life is sacred. It is a precious gift. Human life is not something to be disposed of by those with more power. Yet one of the most extreme assaults against human dignity is made against some of the most innocent among us. Whether from the first moments of life, to the moments just before birth, a child is a precious and unique gift, a gift never to be given or to be created again.
It seems, therefore, that in some measure this debate is about whether or not that child prior to birth is a child at all. That really is the central question. Is that child, before birth, a child at all? Is this young human a person or is it a piece of property? That is the real debate. One has to conclude this child is a child; it is not property. This harkens back to the slavery debate.
I also point out there is new evidence on this, as well. We try to debate: Is the child in the womb a child or property?
I note a news article that came out Sunday in this country in the Chicago Sun Timesand also in Australia in Sunday's Herald Sunwhich reported that Dr. Stuart Campbell, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Fetal Medicine Unit at St. George's Hospital in London, a man who pioneered 3-D ultrasound technology in 2001, said he has seen fetuses moving their fingers as early as 15 weeks' gestation, yawning at 18 weeks, and smiling and crying at 26 weeks. We are seeing this done at 3½ months.
Doctors currently believe fetuses cannot feel pain until at least 12 weeks' gestation when the fetus's nervous system is formed, but we are finding more and more, earlier and earlier, that what this child is feeling, seeing, and knowing, moving their fingers at 15 weeksis that a child that moves those fingers or is it a piece of property? Is it a robot? Is it a blob of tissue or is it a child?
What impact does it have on the mother if that child's life is terminated? At any point in time from that point forward, what impact does it have on the mother when that child's life is terminated? Imagine yourself, what impact does it have on you when your child's life is ended? What impact does that have when you back it up in time? It has a profound impact on the individuals involved. It has a profound impact on society. That is why this process must be ended. That is why we must stop partial-birth abortion. It is hurting everyone. It is hurting the society. It is hurting the people involved. It is hurting the child who is killed in this process. And it is hurting everyone.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the women depicted in the Portrait Monument, foresaw this awful view of human life in a letter she wrote in October to Julia Ward Howe in October of 1873. She said:
When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.
That was in 1873. That quote is applicable today. The Congress must speak against this degradation of human life. These are life issues of enormous consequence and they are issues by which history and eternity will judge us.
Finally, I would like to close with a quote from Mother Teresa, one of my personal heroes. Her concern for the poorest of the poor and her service to them was above reproach. Her work is being carried on today in India and around the world. I am sure it is going to be carried on for years to come.
She once said this:
Many are concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is the greatest destroyer of peace todayabortion which brings people to such blindness.
And that is why this practice must be ended.
Mr. President, I say to my colleagues, this practice is going to be ended. It is going to end this year. When this body passes this bill, when the conference finally meets, when the conference report comes back and the conference report is passed, when the President signs this into law, this practice is going to stop.
It is going to be the point in time when we as a country start waking up and looking at the huge cost of taking these young lives, of what it has done to us, what it has done to the children, what it has done to the mothers involved, and what it has done to us as a society.
But, thankfully, this procedure is going to end this year. I think then we as a countryand we are nowwill start waking up, saying: It just isn't right to take this child's life. You end up with two victims, one dead and one wounded, in the process.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.