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Public Statements

Unanimous Consent Request

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LEE. Mr. President, this week in Philadelphia, a jury is deliberating the case of Kermit Gosnell. That doctor has been charged and tried for some of the most gruesome atrocities ever encountered by the American justice system.

As the grand jury opened its harrowing report:

This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy--and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.

Yet according to defense attorneys, Dr. Gosnell is not a monster, not a serial killer, not a predator of vulnerable mothers and their helpless children. He is just an abortionist.

Mr. President, let me suspend my speech momentarily. I understand my friend, the Senator from Connecticut, wishes to make a motion.

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Mr. LEE. Mr. President, if I may continue my remarks which I started a few moments ago.

According to his defense attorneys, then, Dr. Gosnell is not a monster, not a serial killer, not a predator of helpless mothers and their children. He is just an abortionist. In this context, Dr. Gosnell's alleged crimes were just abortions, and his facility, the so-called Women's Medical Society--reportedly strewn about with animal waste, infectious instruments, and fetal remains--was not, as the grand jury alleged, ``a baby charnel house.'' No, it was just a clinic.

His staff of allegedly unqualified, untrained frauds were not coconspirators in the contract killing of newborns. No, they were just health care providers. And the failure of local health inspectors and political officials to investigate repeated claims of Dr. Gosnell's barbarism was just a bureaucratic oversight--perhaps--or perhaps, as the panicked abortion industry would have us believe, Dr. Gosnell is an outlier, an outcast, nothing like the professional, competent, law-abiding late-term abortion providers around the country. But then again perhaps not.

Just a few weeks ago, a Planned Parenthood representative testified before the Florida State legislature and suggested that infants born alive during botched abortions might not be entitled to medical attention--in clear violation of Federal law, to say nothing of fundamental human rights and dignity. Even since then, undercover videos have caught late-term abortion providers telling pregnant mothers that even if their babies are accidentally born alive during the procedure, even if the law requires them to treat the newborn as a patient and citizen of the United States, and also telling them that even if the baby is born somewhere other than their clinic, they will see to it that the child does not survive.

So is the case of Dr. Gosnell an outlier or is the legitimacy of the late-term abortion industry merely a lie? The American people deserve to know.

Yesterday I introduced legislation to end the practice of late-term abortion in Washington, DC, after 20 weeks, the point at which science tells us unborn children can feel pain, in light of the chilling details coming in from Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and various abortion clinics around the country that late-term abortions on pain-capable, unborn children are an important issue we need to debate.

Opinions will obviously be divided, as they always are on abortion-related issues. But we owe it to the American people to see if we can find common ground to protect innocent women and innocent children.

But there should be no division or controversy surrounding the sense-of-the-Senate resolution I called up a few minutes ago. The resolution has the support of every Republican Senator, pro-life and pro-choice Members alike.

The resolution expresses the sense of the Senate, affirming: The duty of the State and Federal Government agencies to protect women and children from violent criminals posing as health care providers; the equal human and constitutional rights of fully born infant children; the need to prevent and punish abusive, unsanitary, and illegal abortion practices.

One of the newborns Dr. Gosnell is accused of murdering, ``Baby Boy A,'' was born alive--breathing and moving--to an underage girl almost 30 weeks pregnant. Witnesses describe Gosnell severing the baby's spine, discarding the child in a shoebox, and joking that he was big enough ``to walk me to the bus stop.''

Joking. Joking.

A clinic employee estimated Baby Boy A's birth weight at about 6 pounds, larger and heavier than two of my own children when they were born.

If there are other Kermit Gosnells out there waging their own personal war on women, we need to know about it, and we need to stop them.

I don't think I can make a stronger argument for this resolution than the one the grand jury in the Gosnell case made itself:

Let us say right up front we realize this case will be used by both sides of the abortion debate. We ourselves cover a spectrum of personal beliefs about the morality of abortion. For us as a criminal grand jury, however, the case is not about that controversy; it is about disregard of the law and disdain for the lives and health of mothers and infants. We find common ground in exposing what happened here and in recommending measures to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

I hope the Senate too, whose Members cover a similar spectrum of views on abortion, can follow the grand jury's lead to find common ground in the pursuit of truth and justice for American women and children.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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