Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009--Motion To Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

SERVICE MEMBERS HOME OWNERSHIP TAX ACT OF 2009--MOTION TO PROCEED -- (Senate - November 21, 2009)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROWNBACK. Madam President, I, first, thank my colleague for offering these amendments in committee.

In both the HELP and Finance Committees, you said: Let's put in the Hyde language, and both times the amendments were defeated in committee. I appreciate my colleague raising it. Proponents of the Reid bill will tell us the abortion funding language is essentially the Hyde language included in the annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill. That is plain wrong. The Hyde amendment specifically removes abortion from government programs. The Reid bill specifically allows abortion to be offered in two huge new government programs. The Reid bill tries to explain this contradiction by calling for segregation of Federal dollars when Federal subsidies are used to purchase health plans. This segregation of funds, though, actually violates the Hyde amendment, which prevents funding of abortion not only by Federal funds but also by State matching funds within the same plan. Simply put, today Federal and State Medicaid dollars are not segregated, and the Reid bill specifically authorizes something the Hyde amendment specifically rejects.

Mr. JOHANNS. If I might join in, it is enormously important we lay a good record as to what this is all about and why the Hyde amendment has been the law of our Nation for so long. It is important. Therefore, I direct a question to Senator Hatch.

Please, if you would, describe how the Hyde amendment works today.

Mr. HATCH. Today's Hyde language, which has been in every annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill since 1976, specifically prohibits Federal dollars being used to pay for abortions except if the pregnancy was the result of rape, incest, or the life of the mother is in danger. The Hyde language applies to all five of the federally funded health care programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Services, TRICARE, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or the FEHBP. However, it is important to note that today there is no segregation of Federal funds in any Federal health care program--none. For example, the Medicaid Program receives both Federal and State dollars. There is no segregation of either Federal Medicaid dollars or State Medicaid dollars. States that do provide elective abortions for Medicaid beneficiaries must do so from a completely different account; that is, State-only dollars. No Federal or State dollars from the State Medicaid Program may even be placed in that ``State only'' pot of money.

Mr. JOHANNS. That was an excellent explanation of what Hyde is about. It underscores why we are so upset about the unbelievable expansion that is going to occur if this Reid bill is passed. You mentioned the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Let me take a minute to talk about how that works because, again, I think it underscores the point we are making today. Let me give an example. The current Federal Employees Health Benefits Program does this. It has 250 participating health plans that do not cover abortion. Federal employees pay a share of the cost.

The Federal Government, through tax dollars collected, pays the balance. So it is a mixture of Federal employees' contributions through their paychecks and the Federal Government getting the money through tax dollars. Federal employees cannot opt for elective abortion coverage because taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the cost of their employee plan. You can see how we have tried to remain true to the distinction you talked about. As many have said during the debate, if it is good enough for Federal employees, then why isn't it good for the rest of the citizens?

I ask Senator Brownback, what is in the Reid bill that does not reflect the current Hyde language? And if I could maybe direct that to both of you or to Senator Hatch.

Mr. BROWNBACK. Well, if I could follow up quickly on the last point, I think it is clear that if we are not going to put this in the Federal employees benefit insurance system, then we should not put it in this system. Yet this is a billing expansion that is taking place. The Democratic health bill would explicitly authorize abortion to be covered in the government option. It also mandates that there must be abortion coverage in every insurance market in the country. This is an enormous expansion, a radical departure from the 30-year policy that represents the Hyde amendment. The abortion language that was included in the bill is a huge departure from 30 years of bipartisan Federal policy prohibiting Federal tax dollars paying for elective abortions. The language in the Senate bill explicitly authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to include abortion in the public option and permits government subsidies for plans that pay for abortion.

The Capps language, commonly referred to in the Senate bill, contains a clever accounting gimmick that proponents say separates private and public funds for abortion coverage. However, it has been proven over and over by outside reviewers that the Capps measure would include both abortion coverage and funding in the government-run public option as well as for those plans in the insurance exchange. Representative Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan, explained the issue very clearly in an op-ed he wrote yesterday. He wrote:

The Capps amendment, which is the basis of the Senate language, departed from Hyde in several important and troubling ways: By mandating that at least one plan in the health insurance exchange provide abortion coverage; by requiring a minimum $1 monthly charge for all covered individuals that would go towards paying for abortions; and by allowing individuals receiving Federal affordability credits to purchase health insurance plans that cover abortion. Hyde currently prohibits direct Federal funding of abortion. The Stupak amendment is a continuation of that policy--nothing more, nothing less.

I would like to ask Senator Hatch about this provision, about what we need to talk about on the exchanges and the types of plans that will be included in the exchanges and about how this is an expansion of the abortion language.

Mr. HATCH. Isn't it true that one health plan must be offered in the exchange that covers elective abortions? Isn't that a departure from Federal policy?

Mr. BROWNBACK. The Reid health care reform bill would require at least one health care plan to offer elective abortions in each State health insurance exchange. However, nothing in the Reid bill ensures that the one plan that must cover elective abortions be the plan that is most affordable or least affordable. In other words, if I do not wish to have a plan that covers elective abortions but all I can afford is that plan, where does that leave me? Should my constituents have to compromise their own moral code in order to receive health care; in other words, that they would have to buy a plan that covers abortion?

Mr. HATCH. That is right.

Mr. BROWNBACK. Today, no Federal health program requires the coverage of elective abortions. This is a clear departure from current law, and I cannot imagine us forcing people to pay for insurance that covers abortions when it is so unconscionable to so many of the American people.

I also would like to make one other point perfectly clear. The Stupak-Pitts compromise amendment would not prohibit the ability of women to obtain elective abortions as long as they use their own money to purchase these policies. I think it is important we get that piece of it clear as well.

Mr. HATCH. I am glad the Senator did clarify that.

I say to Senator Johanns, isn't it true that the Stupak amendment, passed in the House by a considerable margin, allows women to purchase, with their own money, separate supplemental health coverage that may include the coverage of elective abortions--if they do it with their own money?

Mr. JOHANNS. I say to Senator Hatch, I am glad you raised that issue. Yes, that is correct. Your understanding is correct. Women would be allowed to purchase separate elective abortion coverage with their own money.

I ask Senator Brownback, do you have a comment on that, or a question?

Mr. BROWNBACK. Well, I think this is a key thing for us to keep in mind, that it is true that women can purchase separately, with their own money, use their own funds to be able to provide for their own abortion coverage. But what we are saying here today is that we should not have this as part of the Federal Government. We should not have it as part of the Federal funding program. We should not be using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, as we have not done for 30 years. That has been the longstanding bipartisan program. But it is not prohibited that an individual could go ahead and buy this service on their own.

Mr. HATCH. Well, I would add, too, it is absolutely correct that the Stupak language allows women to purchase both a supplemental policy for the coverage of elective abortions and a comprehensive health care plan that includes coverage of elective abortions as long as they pay for their plan with their own money. It allows that.

Mr. JOHANNS. Let me just interject something here because I think this is a very important point to make, following up on what Senator Hatch just said. Some say that a person would never want to purchase a separate rider to cover abortion. It just would not happen, they say. But they misunderstand what the Stupak language actually allows.

Let me be clear about this. If a woman wants her health insurance plan to provide elective abortion services, she does have the choice to purchase a health insurance plan that provides that on the exchange. She just has to pay for it with her own money. Am I correct in that interpretation or have I misunderstood that?

Mr. HATCH. That is correct. A woman may purchase with her own funds either a supplemental policy that covers elective abortions or an entire health plan that includes the coverage of elective abortions. Look, a woman has always been able to do that, and frankly, we do not deny her the right to do that. What we say is, taxpayers should not be paying the cost of it. They should not be called upon to pay for elective abortions.

Mr. BROWNBACK. I say to Senator Hatch, as someone who has been in this body for some years and as someone who has followed this issue courageously for many years, what we are asking for, again, is just what has been established since 1977 in this body and in the House.

Mr. HATCH. Yes. That is current law, that Federal funds may not pay for abortion or plans that cover abortion. Now that is the fundamental component of the Hyde language. And to be clear, the Stupak language does not prevent people from purchasing their own private plans that include elective abortion coverage.

Let me just change for a second here. I would like to now talk about the conscience clause. To me, this is extremely important: the conscience clause protections for medical providers. The conscience clause protections in the final House bill for pro-life providers are not included in the Reid bill. They are in the House bill but not in the Reid bill. The House adopted language that codified the essence of the Weldon-Hyde conscience protections, including in the annual HHS appropriations bills since 2004.

This summer, the House Energy and Commerce Committee accepted these protections unanimously during consideration of their bill. Let me emphasize that point: unanimously, there was not one objection to it. That means all members of the committee--with ideologies ranging from the chairman, HENRY WAXMAN, who represents Hollywood, CA, to the ranking Republican, JOE BARTON, who represents a conservative congressional district in Texas--they all recognized the importance of adopting this language.

In contrast, the Reid bill has stronger protections for abortion providers than for providers who have conscience objections to abortion. On one hand, abortion providers may not be ``discriminated'' against for performing any abortion anywhere. On the other hand, pro-life providers must cite a particular ``moral or religious belief'' to prevent discrimination. This is narrower than current law under Hyde-Weldon.

Moreover, it does not extend the protections to pro-life health plans. In other words, a Catholic health system that requires a local hospital to stop providing abortions in order to become part of its health system could be accused of discrimination.

What is wrong with this picture?

Let me ask Senator Johanns, don't you think it makes sense to protect health care providers who have objections of conscience to abortion so they are not forced to provide abortions?

Mr. JOHANNS. Absolutely. As the Senator offers this explanation about a Catholic health care provider, it hits right to the heart of this issue. I most certainly agree with the Senator and I want him to know that many Nebraskans agree with him and agree with me on this issue.

I got a letter recently from a gentleman out in western Nebraska, from a little community called Ainsworth--a great area of our State. He wrote to me and said this:

I urge you to support freedom of conscience which protects professionals from being forced to participate in abortion and other anti-life practices, which include end-of-life issues.

I had another constituent from Gretna, NE, more on the eastern side of our State, and this constituent wrote to me and said this:

I am also very disturbed to learn that health care workers may be forced to act and speak contrary to their own consciences. I find it shocking to believe that this is being considered within a serious conversation/debate.

We are going to put up a chart. President Obama has weighed in on some of these issues. President Obama gave a speech to a joint session of Congress. We all remember that was on September 9 of this year. He said this:

And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up--under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

The President has gone on to state on multiple occasions that he would not support abortion in a health care bill. The President has stated that over and over. The President has also stated on multiple occasions--both as a candidate and as President--that it is his goal to lower the incidence of abortion. That is what he says, not what the Democrat-led Senate has done, though, relative to this bill, which he has embraced. And it is not what the leadership has done in this bill.

You see, my colleagues, I see this as a radical abortion approach, a radical piece of language. And you can go right to the bill itself, to pages 116 to 124 of this 2,074-page bill, and you can read it yourself.

I have to tell you, there is so much about this bill that is bad policy, but this is especially damaging. The President promised us he would not let it happen. Do the President and the Members of his party, who control the Senate, who wrote the bill behind closed doors, do they really believe abortion is health care? Why didn't they just strip this language out? Why didn't they adopt the Stupak language, which was voted upon in the House, the Stupak compromise? Why didn't they adopt that, knowing that 64 Democrats had signed on to that language?

What do you think about the President's commitment and his promise to us not to use Federal dollars to fund abortions? I say to Senator Brownback, I would like to hear his thoughts on that.

Mr. BROWNBACK. I was there that evening, along with the Senator and Senator Hatch and almost all of the Senators, when the President was addressing us on health care. I remember vividly sitting there and listening to these words, the ones you just mentioned. He was very clear, very concise; there was no fudging around on it:

And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up--under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

Yes, that is specifically violated in the bill, and they had a very simple route to change it. They could have just put the Stupak language in that has already passed the House. That is the Hyde language that has been agreed to by this body and others for 30 years here. Instead, they put in this abortion-expansion language.

I will show another chart here a little bit later on. The last time we funded abortions here was between 1974 and 1977, right after Roe v. Wade and before the Hyde language in 1977. Do you know how many abortions were funded annually by the Federal Government at that period of time? If we are going back to that policy, if we are looking to go back to that era where the Federal Government was funding it, Medicaid funded as many as 300,000--300,000 annually. Now, I would ask everybody, pro-choice or pro-life, do you want your taxpayer dollars to pay for 300,000 abortions a year? I do not think anybody wants to see us do that.

President Clinton we all remember very clearly saying often that he wanted to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. Adding 300,000 does not do that.

So the President took the time, in a carefully tailored and vetted speech that all of us were there to hear--the Presiding Officer, as well; it was nationally televised in prime time--to tell Congress the words we have quoted here today and to make that specific promise. And that promise is broken in the Reid legislation before us today. We sat there in the House Chamber and heard him say those words. Our constituents watching the speech at home heard those words. I have to believe these are the kinds of broken promises that are making our constituents lose their trust in government.

But the fact is, as so many people have pointed out, abortion is very much in this health care bill. Many Democrats and Republicans acknowledge this. Mr. Stupak, whom I have quoted several times, is just one of them.

If we want to do more than just pay lipservice to lowering the incidence of abortion, we need to oppose the motion to proceed, and we should have had the Stupak compromise language included in the bill in the first place since the President clearly stated he did not want Federal dollars to be used for the funding of abortion.

Consider the fact that when Federal funding is not available for abortion, fewer abortions occur. When Federal funding is available, as we have seen in the past, thousands more will occur.

As shown on this chart, here is why the Hyde amendment is so important. The administrators running the Medicaid Program funded, as I noted, over 300,000 per year. That is almost 1 million abortions paid for by the country's taxpayers out of their pockets when the Hyde language was not the law of the land. That was until the Hyde amendment was enacted in 1976 because the American people disagreed with being forced to pay for abortions. Whether they are pro-choice or pro-life, they did not want taxpayer dollars to go for this.

One other example of government ushering abortion policy through health care legislation is when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently passed its State-mandated insurance, Commonwealth Care. They failed to include an explicit exclusion of abortion, like Senator Hatch tried to get in committee or like they had in the House language, the Stupak language, so abortions there were funded immediately in Massachusetts. In fact, according to the Commonwealth Care Web site, abortion is considered covered under ``outpatient medical care.''

The Federal Government should not go down this road. The President made a commitment to the American people, and the Democrat-led Senate has failed to include that commitment in this bill. They included radical language that will increase the incidence of abortion.

I say to Senator Johanns, don't you think it makes sense to protect health care providers, when we look at that issue here, who have objections of conscience to abortions so they are not forced to provide abortions?

Mr. JOHANNS. Absolutely. It absolutely makes sense. I say to Senator Hatch and Senator Brownback, one of the things that has been very remarkable to me--this bill just came out, as you know. It was behind closed doors for weeks and weeks and came out in the middle of the night, actually.

Mr. JOHANNS. Madam President, pro-life groups weighed in on this bill immediately. For all of the complexity, for all of the definitions, for all of the buried language, they saw immediately what this bill was all about. Pro-life groups across the board have opposed the provisions of this legislation. No pro-life group has taken the bait. They represent millions of Americans across this great country.

Let me, if I might, take a moment and quote from what they have said. The National Right to Life Committee--and again I am quoting--says this:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big, new Federal Government programs.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has weighed in. They said this one is the worst bill so far--the worst one so far on this issue. Again, I am quoting:

The conference believes the bill violates the long-standing Federal policy against the use of Federal funds for elective abortions in health plans that include such abortions, a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde amendment: the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and now in the House-passed Affordable Health Care for America Act. We believe legislation that violates this moral principle is not true health care reform and must be amended to reflect it. If that fails, the current legislation should be opposed.

The Family Research Council says this, describing the legislation as a:

..... direct attack on the principles set forth in the Hyde amendment over 30 years ago. This bill is one only an abortionist could love.

Concerned Women for America said the following:

In a dramatic departure from current policy, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide government funding for elective abortions. Over all, this bill raises serious pro-life concerns.

Senator Hatch referred to polls. The polls indicate the majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars paying for elective abortions. According to that CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, 6 in 10 Americans favor a ban on the use of Federal funds for abortion. It also indicates that the public may also favor--literally favor--legislation that would prevent many women from getting their health insurance plan to cover the cost of abortion even if no Federal funds were involved. This poll indicates that 61 percent of the public oppose the use of public money for abortions for women who cannot afford the procedure.

I have to ask the question of Senator Hatch: When will we listen to the American people on this important issue?

Mr. HATCH. I ask Senator Johanns, have you seen similar polls indicating that a majority of Americans do not want their taxpayer funds used for paying for elective abortions? Have the Senator seen those national polls?

Mr. JOHANNS. I have. We have seen the polls. We have gotten letters from our constituents. Consistently, in poll after poll, we can see what the American people are saying. They do not want their tax dollars to fund abortions.

Mr. HATCH. Madam President, let me ask a question to both Senator Brownback and Senator Johanns. I know my constituents are very upset about the possibility of their tax dollars being used to pay for elective abortions. I even brought a few of their letters down to the floor so I could read them. If you don't mind, I wish to read them. Can I take a few minutes to do that?

Mr. BROWNBACK. Please do.

Mr. HATCH. These are just a few. We have all kinds of letters. I thought I would mention a few of these since they are on point here, as far as I am concerned.

Here is one from a woman, a Ph.D., the President of AUL Action, Charmaine Yoest:

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROWNBACK. I was recently at a Veterans Day parade in Leavenworth, KS, and I had a number of people coming up to me opposed to the health care bill. I had one come up to me and say they were in favor of it and all the rest were opposed. It starts on the basis that it is fiscally insane what we are considering doing with $12 billion in debt, and then we are going to add a multitrillion-dollar entitlement program on top of this. The Federal Government is hemorrhaging money. Why on Earth would we do that? Then they are scared about what else is in the bill, and then this feature comes up as well.

Finally, Senator Johanns was putting in statements from various groups, and I ask unanimous consent that this statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops be included at the end of our colloquy.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

(See exhibit 1.)

Mr. BROWNBACK. The Catholic Bishops issued this yesterday and said this:

The legislative proposal recently unveiled in the Senate does not meet these moral criteria. Specifically, it violates the longstanding Federal policy against the use of Federal funds for elective abortions and health plans that include such abortions--a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde Amendment, the Children's Health Insurance Program--SCHIP, which Senator Hatch helped to get started-- the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program--that Senator Johanns spoke about--and now in the House-passed ``Affordable Health Care for America Act.'' We believe legislation that violates this moral principle is not true health care reform and must be amended to reflect it. If that fails, the current legislation should be opposed.

This is the Catholic Bishops, generally in favor of health care reform, and they are saying this fails on this account and must not be in this legislation and can't be considered as part of health care reform.

Mr. HATCH. I ask Senator Johanns, where do we go from here? We are going to have a cloture vote at 8 o'clock tonight on the motion to proceed. What would be the advice on that?

Mr. JOHANNS. I thank the Senator. Let me, if I might, before I address that, tell my colleagues how proud I am to stand here with these two champions of this issue, Senator Brownback and Senator Hatch. They have a remarkable history of every time they had an opportunity standing strong on an issue that I must admit is not the most popular issue in Washington, DC, to promote, and I admire their courage.

To address the relevant question of the day, the Stupak protections, that compromise that was reached in the House, it is not in this bill.

Of course, since it is not in this underlying bill, this Reid bill, it is very unlikely to be in the final bill. I wish somebody could disprove this. But, very simply, there aren't enough pro-life Senators to break this provision and get the Stupak amendment passed on the Senate floor if we propose it as an amendment--and I am sure it will be--there just aren't enough.

That is why I have been making the case over the last 48 hours that the motion to proceed is the key vote on abortion in the health care debate. The most important pro-life vote that a pro-life Senator will cast, I believe, in the entire time they are here is on this motion to proceed. I have seen all the arguments from many, saying this is a procedural vote; that there is nothing to worry about; that it just begins debate, and we might potentially vote this bill down, and we can do some amendments and some tweaking.

But the facts suggest otherwise. The Congressional Research Service has looked into this. Between the 106th and 110th Congresses, there were 41 cases, according to the Congressional Research Service, in which the Senate approved a motion to proceed and then proceeded to a vote on the final bill. Do you know what the end result of those 41 cases were, when the motion to proceed was approved? It was 40 times out of 41--about 97 percent--went on to receive final approval. In other words, all but one passed into law.

This suggests to me this vote tonight at 8 o'clock on the life issue is very well determinative. Some of my colleagues also argue if we don't like the bill, we should not block the opportunity to amend it, and they say let us proceed.

I don't believe, if you are truly pro-life as a Senator, you can make that argument. Here is why: Everybody in the Senate knows what it will take to amend the Reid bill on something like this. It will take 60 votes. It is the way the Senate operates. It will take 60 votes. Again, I say to Senator Hatch and Senator Brownback, I wish I could count 60 pro-life Senators. I wish I could do that. But by anybody's count, I believe--mine included--there aren't 60 here.

I believe if you are pro-life, every opportunity you get to stand for the life issue, you must stand for that issue. These truly are our most vulnerable citizens. I feel very strongly that at 8 o'clock, when we are gaveled to a vote, we need to stand up on this issue--this life issue--or there is a 97-percent chance it is lost.

I will conclude my thoughts on this by saying this: There were many strong and courageous pro-life Democrats in the House. I watched that. That was remarkable. Can you imagine the pressure they were put under? This evening, we just need one--not many, just one Democrat--who will come here and say I am pro-life. If we don't stand together tonight, this bill will radically expand abortion, and I cannot live with that.

Mr. HATCH. I thank the Senator for his remarks. I thank both Senators Brownback and Johanns.

Before coming here, the Senator was the Secretary of Agriculture. He is from Nebraska. By any measure, he is a very sincere, dedicated, and principled person. We all know that, and I think the world of the Senator.

I appreciate standing on the Senate floor with the Senator to chat about this matter. Senator Brownback, without question is a leader in this body in protecting the rights of the unborn. It is one of the things I most love about him. There are many things that cause all of us to hold the Senator from Kansas in very high regard and esteem. He is principled and dignified about it. He is friendly to everybody. But the Senator doesn't mince words when it comes to standing up on these very important issues.

Look, all we are saying is, let's protect the Hyde language. You do that with the Stupak-Pitts language. What is wrong with including that language? All we want to do is not have federal funds pay for abortion. The vast majority of people in this country feel that way too.

Second, why should people of conscience, who really and sincerely believe that abortions are wrong, be forced to participate in abortions in any way, shape, or form? Unfortunately, this bill could lead to that forced participation. I just do not understand what is so difficult about including the same language included in the bill passed by the House of Representatives. What is so problematic about our body doing the same?

If you are a nurse, doctor, health care practitioner, Catholic hospital, or an LDS hospital out of Utah, if we have the Stupak-Pitts conscience protection language passed by the House, you cannot be forced to participate in abortions. These are highly religious people with highly religious motivations who have made this the greatest country in the world. If we do not change this language in the Reid bill, there will be Federal funding of abortion, and there will be people who could be pushed toward participation in abortion.

Mr. BROWNBACK. It has been my pleasure to join Senators Hatch and Johanns on this effort. I have worked with both of them in many different capacities and jobs.

This is as serious a pro-life vote as I have seen. If this gets passed, the Federal Government will be funding somewhere north of 300,000 abortions a year. If it was 300,000 back in the 1974-to-1976 timeframe, with the growth in U.S. population, you are probably looking at north of that number of Federal taxpayer dollars funding abortions. I cannot imagine many people in this country being satisfied about that kind of number taking place. I can't imagine that. But that is our past experience when the government funds abortion.

Those are the numbers we are talking about. I note, too, the country has a longstanding ethic and moral code. We are a moral people, and we have been from the outset. Some people say this or that, but a big part of that has been that basic moral code, that basic thought within the Judeo-Christian ethic that we respect life. This goes back to when Moses talks to the people about going into the Promised Land. He is giving his last lecture to the Jewish people before going into the Promised Land. In that last lecture--Moses doesn't get to go in himself, but he gets the people together. They march for 40 years in the wilderness. He knows he is not going in, but they are, and he gives a lecture.

Deuteronomy 30:19 says something that is applicable here:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

This is in the fundamental ethic and background of our country. That is what we have to choose today. Do we choose life or death? Choose life, so that you and your children might live.

As Senator Johanns notes, we just need one vote on the other side to change this, and this language gets pulled out and Stupak gets put in. Just one vote. If we cannot get to 60--and you have to get there--and that one person says: I am not going to do it, unless you put Stupak in this, it changes. We need just one to choose life, and it will change. It has been a pleasure to join with both Senators today.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top