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Public Statements

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 Conference Report-Continued

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN ACT OF 2003 CONFERENCE REPORT—CONTINUED

Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I thank my friend and colleague from Pennsylvania, Senator Santorum, Senator Brownback, Senator Graham, Majority Leader Frist, also my colleague, Senator Allard, who spoke just a moment ago, for their unending and unwavering efforts to put a permanent end to this horrible partial-birth abortion procedure.

We are here today because a civilized society cannot tolerate this type of procedure. With all due respect to my colleague, my friend from Illinois, this is not about politics. This is about what kind of a society we have, what kind of a country, what kind of a people we are.

This will be the third time for the Senate and the Congress to vote to ban this inhumane procedure—a procedure which, I point out, has absolutely no medical purpose. Time and time again, the testimony we heard in front of our Judiciary
Committee is this procedure is never—I repeat, never—medically indicated. I also point out, just to make sure there is a a provision in this bill that provides for a life-of-the-mother exception, the testimony time and time again from all the experts was this is never medically indicated.

This has been before the Senate before. We have voted on this before. The difference today is after Congress votes to ban this procedure this time, this time the President of the United States will sign this bill into law. Soon, once this becomes the law of the land, the abortionist will not be able to legally perform this brutal act on our society's most innocent victims.
Once this becomes the law of the land, the abortionist will no longer pull living babies feet first out of their mother's wombs, puncturing their skulls and sucking out their brains. Those are the facts, much as we hate to talk about them.

I have come to the Senate before and talked about different specific stories. I have talked about the story of Baby Hope.
The stories of little children like Baby Hope will no longer occur. I described before in the Senate in detail the story of Baby Hope. This was the story where the abortionist, Dr. Mark Haskell, in Dayton, OH, inserted, as he has done thousands of times, a surgical instrument into this little child—in this case, Baby Hope—into Baby Hope's mother to dilate her cervix so
Baby Hope could eventually be removed and killed. In this case, Baby Hope's mother went home to Cincinnati expecting to return 3 days later to Dayton for the completion of the procedure. This is a 3-day procedure. In this case, the mother's cervix dilated too quickly and as a result Baby Hope was actually born but died shortly thereafter.

Mr. President and Members of the Senate, on the death certificate there is a space for the cause of death or "Method of Death." In Baby Hope's case, the method of death is written in with the word "natural." Well, that, of course, is simply not true. There is nothing natural about the events that led to the death of this tiny little child. We all know that Baby Hope did not die of natural causes.

We cannot nor should we ever forget this tragedy, nor others like it as recounted by medical professionals.

My colleagues may recall the story of Brenda Pratt Shafer, a registered nurse who was assigned to Dr. Haskell's abortion clinic one morning in the early 1990s. I have told this story on the Senate floor many times.

Nurse Shafer observed Dr. Haskell use the partial-birth abortion procedure to abort babies that day. In fact, she testified before our Senate Judiciary Committee in 1995.

I would like to share with my colleagues again—and I pray that this time will be the final time we have to tell this story on the Senate floor—exactly what the nurse saw and what she testified to in front of the Judiciary Committee.

Nurse Shafer gave very gripping, very telling, very truthful testimony. This is what she said. She described the partial-birth abortion she witnessed on a child that was 26½ weeks. This is what she said:

The young woman was 18, unmarried, and a little over six months pregnant. She cried the entire three days she was at the abortion clinic. The doctor told us, "I'm afraid she's going to want to see the baby. Try to discourage her from it; we don't like them to see the babies."

The nurse continues:

Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby's legs and pulled them down into the birth canal.

Then he delivered the baby's body and arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus.
The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping and his little feet were kicking.

The baby was hanging there, and the doctor was holding his neck to keep his head from slipping out. The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby's head, and the baby's arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks he might fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube in the opening and sucked the baby's brains out.

The nurse continues:

Now the baby went completely limp. We cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan
along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used. I saw the baby move in the pan.

I asked another nurse and she said it was just reflexes. The baby boy had the most perfect angelic face I think I have ever seen in my life. When the mother started coming around, she was crying—"I want to see my baby."

"I want to see my baby."

So we cleaned him up and put him into a blanket. We put her in a private room and handed her the baby. She held that baby in her arms and when she looked into his face, she started screaming—"Oh my God, what have I done? This is my baby."

Soon we will rest more easily knowing we are very near the end, very near the day when we do not have to retell Nurse Shafer's story—the day when my colleagues, such as Senators Santorum and Brownback and Graham and Majority Leader Frist and the rest of us who have fought this battle, will not have to come to the Senate floor and talk about partial-birth abortion. Nobody wants to talk about this act. Nobody wants to tell the story, to tell Nurse Shafer's story.

Now is finally the time we will ban this horrible, horrible procedure. I look forward to this forthcoming vote in just a few hours and our subsequent delivery of this bill to the President for his prompt signature.

This is the right thing to do. The facts are there. The facts are that this procedure is not medically indicated; it is not medically necessary. We should be judged, I believe, not just by what we do in society; I think we also should be judged by what we put up with, by what we tolerate.

I say to my colleagues, no civilized society should tolerate this type of action. We should say today, by our vote, we simply will not tolerate this, that this is wrong. We cannot allow this to continue in this great country of ours.

Mr. President, I thank the Chair and yield the floor.

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