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Pro-Life Caucus

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, there are Kermit Gosnells all over American today inflicting not only violence, cruelty, and death on very young children but excruciating pain as well.

Many Americans, including some who self-identify as pro-choice, were shocked and dismayed by the Gosnell expose and trial. Perhaps the decades-long culture of denial and deceptive marketing has made it difficult to see and understand a disturbing reality. Even after 40 years of abortion-on-demand and over 55 million dead babies and millions of wounded mothers, many--until Gosnell--somehow construed abortion as victimless. That has changed. There are two victims, Mr. Speaker, in every abortion: the mother and her unborn child--three, if twins are involved.

The brutality of severing the spines of defenseless babies, euphemistically called ``snipping'' by Dr. Gosnell, has finally peeled away the benign facade of the billion-dollar abortion industry. Like Gosnell, abortionists all over America decapitate, dismember, and chemically poison babies to death each and every year. That's what they do.

Americans are connecting the dots and asking whether what Gosnell did is really any different than what all the other abortionists do. And the answer is, no, it's not different. A D&E abortion, which is described here as a common method after 14 months, is a gruesome, pain-filled act of violence that literally rips and tears to pieces the body parts of a child. And that's what they call ``choice.'' That is what they call safe and legal abortion.

Mr. Speaker, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, authored by Congressman Trent Franks and cosponsored by several Congresswomen and -men, including me, is a modest but absolutely necessary attempt to at least protect some babies, that is to say, those who are 20 weeks old and pain-capable, from having to suffer and die a painful death from abortion.

On May 23, Chairman Trent Franks convened a hearing in the Judiciary Committee's Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee on his legislation. The bill, H.R. 1797, entitled the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was approved by the subcommittee on June 4 and now moves to the full committee and, hopefully, soon to the full House.

The testimony of several witnesses, Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully submit is a must-read for anyone who cares about human rights, for anyone
who cares about women and children. One witness, Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist, testified that he performed approximately 1,200 abortions. Over 100 of them were second trimester abortions like this D&E procedure that is described here in this graph.

He said:

Imagine, if you can, you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I once was. Your patient today is 24 weeks pregnant. If you could see her baby, which is quite easy on an ultrasound, she would be as long as your hand plus half from the top of her head to the bottom of her rump, not counting the legs. Your patient has been feeling her baby kick for at least a month or more. But now she is asleep on an operating table.

He continued:

With suction of the amniotic fluid, after that is completed, you look for what he called a Sopher clamp. This instrument is about 13 inches long and made of stainless steel. At the business end are located jaws about 2 1/2 inches long and about three-quarters of an initial inch.

This is what he is talking about right here.

This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go.

A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation, he goes on, or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything that you can.

At 24 weeks' gestation, the uterus is thin and soft, so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you've grasped something inside--this doctor, former abortionist, goes on to say--squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard. Pull really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can, set the jaw, and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, the intestines, the heart, and the lungs.

The doctor goes on to say that, the toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby's head. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a large plum and is now free floating inside of the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread as far as your fingers will allow. You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and you see a white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That is the baby's brains, this abortionist goes on to say. You can then extract the skull in pieces.

Many times, he went on in his testimony before Trent Franks' subcommittee, many times a little face will come out and stare back at you. Congratulations; you have just successfully performed a second trimester D&E abortion. You just affirmed the right to choose. If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again. It does.

Another witness, Mr. Speaker, Ms. Jill Stanek, a registered nurse, spoke of appalling stories of abortion survivors and the pain--the pain--the excruciating pain that they suffer when they are being aborted.

She pointed out that when she testified before the committee back in 2001:

it was to tell of her experience as a registered nurse in the labor and delivery department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, where she discovered babies were being aborted alive and shelved, put on a shelf to die in the department's soiled utility closet.

Indeed, this nurse went on to say at the hearing:

I was traumatized and changed forever by my experience of holding a little abortion survivor for 45 minutes until he died--a 21- to 22-week-old baby who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome.

Since then, other appalling stories of abortion survivors either being abandoned or killed have trickled out.

In 2005, a mother delivered a 23-week-old baby in a toilet at an EPOC clinic in Orlando, Florida, and was shocked to see this little guy move. Abortion staff not only refused to help, but turned away paramedics, who her friend had notified by calling 911. Angele, the woman, could do no more than helplessly sit on the floor rocking and singing to her baby for 11 minutes until that infant died.

In 2006, Sycloria Williams delivered her 23-week-old baby born on a recliner at a GYN diagnostic center in Hialeah, Florida. When he began breathing and moving, abortion clinic owner Belkis Gonzalez cut the umbilical cord and zipped him into a biohazard bag, still alive.

The Kermit Gosnell case provides further evidence that the lines between infanticide and legal feticide, both via abortion, have become blurred. This abortionist was convicted only last week--that's when she was talking, when she testified--of three counts of first degree murder.

And also last week, as she went on to say, in yet another revelation and photos from three former employees who alleged that abortionist Douglas Karpen in Houston, Texas, routinely kills babies after they are born by puncturing the soft spot at the top of the head, or impaling the stomach with a sharp instrument, twisting off the head, or puncturing the throat with his finger.

Mr. Speaker, if that's not child abuse in its most extreme form, I don't know what is.

It is easy to be horrified, she went on in her testimony to say, this nurse, by heart-wrenching stories such as these and to imagine the torture abortion survivors endure as they are being killed. But it is somehow not so easy for some to envision preborn babies the same age being tortured as they are killed by similar methods.

Today, premature babies are routinely given pain relief who are born at the same age as babies who are torn limb from limb or injected in the heart during abortions.

Even the World Health Organization goes so far as to recommend analgesia for premies getting simple heel pricks for a couple of drops of blood. Likewise, prenatal surgery is commonplace, and along with it, anesthesia for babies being operated on even in the middle of pregnancy. Meanwhile, babies of identical age are being torn apart by D&E abortions with no pain relief whatsoever. Again, they suffer, and they suffer horribly.

It must be that some people inexplicably think that the uterus provides a firewall against fetal pain, or that babies marked for abortion are somehow numb while their wanted counterparts aren't. They're not numb. They feel every single bit of killing, whether it's the Sopher clamp or any other instrument is being used to dismember or to decapitate.

She concludes by saying:

This thinking is better suited for the Middle Ages than for modern medicine.

Mr. Speaker, today there is ample documentation that unborn children experience serious pain from at least the 20th week--and most likely even before that. When it comes to pain, all of us go through great lengths to mitigate its severity and its duration. None of us ever want to die a painful death. Unborn children deserve no less.

I yield to the prime sponsor of this very important legislation, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Franks), the chairman of the committee and, like I said, the author of the bill.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I want to thank my good friend and very distinguished colleague, Dr. Andy Harris, for his very eloquent and very incisive remarks and for his leadership on behalf of human rights in general, including here in the United States.

We've been discussing human rights abuse here in the United States in trying to defend at least pain-capable unborn children from the violence of abortion. I would like to focus for a few moments on human rights abuse that is occurring halfway around the world in China.

Tomorrow, President Obama will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California to discuss security and economic issues. A robust discussion of human rights abuses in China, however, must be on the agenda and not in a superfluous or superficial way.

It is time to get serious about China's flagrant abuse of human rights. It's time for this President, this administration to end its manifest indifference towards human rights abuse in the People's Republic of China. It's time for President Obama to cease his numbing indifference towards the victims of Beijing's abuse.

Mr. Speaker, can a dictatorship that crushes the rights and freedoms of its own people be trusted on trade and security?

China today is the torture capital of the world, and victims include religious believers, ethnic minorities, human rights defenders like Chen Guancheng and Gao Zhisheng and hundreds and thousands of political dissidents.

If you are a political or religious dissident or believer of the Underground Christian Church, Falun Gong, a part of the Uyghur Muslim minority or Tibetan Buddhist, if you are arrested, you will be tortured, and in some cases you will be tortured to death.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, hundreds of millions of women have been forced to abort their precious babies pursuant to China's draconian one-child policy which has led to gendercide, the violent extermination of unborn baby girls simply because they are girls. The slaughter of the girl child in China is not only a massive gender crime, but a security issue, as well.

A witness at one of my hearings that I chaired--I chair the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. Over the years, I have chaired over 46 congressional hearings focused exclusively on China's human rights issues. One of the witnesses at one of my earlier hearings, Valerie Hudson, author of a book called ``Bare Branches,'' testified that gender imbalance will lead to instability and chaos and even to war because of the domestic chaos and instability that will occur. And that the one child has not enhanced China's security, but it has demonstrably weakened it.

Nick Eberstadt, the world-renowned AEI demographer, has famously phrased it and asked the question: What are the consequences for a society that has chosen to become simultaneously more gray and more male--the missing daughters, by the tens of millions in China--as a direct result of sex-selection abortion?

In 2000, Mr. Speaker, I authored a law known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. It is our landmark law in combating the hideous crime of modern-day slavery, sex, and labor trafficking. China has now become the magnet for the traffickers, buying and selling women as commodities, selling them in China against their will, of course, through coercion, because of the missing girls, the missing daughters, and the missing young women.

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the world remembered the dream that was and is the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 and deeply honored the sacrifice endured by an extraordinarily brave group of pro-democracy Chinese women and men who dared to demand fundamental human rights for all Chinese. Twenty-four years ago this week, the world watched in awe and wonder, as it has since mid-April of 1989, as hundreds of thousands of mostly young people peacefully petitioned the Chinese Government to reform and to democratize. China seemed to be the next impending triumph for freedom and democracy, especially after the collapse of the dictatorships of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. But when the People's Liberation Army poured in and around the square on June 3, the wonder of Tiananmen turned to shock, tears, fear, and helplessness. On June 3 and 4, and for days, weeks, and years, right up until today, the Chinese dictatorship delivered a barbaric response--mass murder, torture, incarceration, the systematic suppression of fundamental human rights, and coverup.

The Chinese Government not only continues to inflict unspeakable pain and suffering on its own people, but the coverup of the Tiananmen Square massacre is without precedent in modern history. Even though journalists and live television and radio documented the massacre, the Chinese Communist Party lies and continues to deny it, that it even occurred, to obfuscate, and to threaten anyone who dares speak out in China about the massacre and all of the terrible barbarity that followed.

In December of 1996, Mr. Speaker, General Chi Haotian, the operational commander who ordered the murder of the Tiananmen protesters, visited Washington, D.C., as the Chinese Defense Minister. You see, he was promoted after he killed all of those innocent people. Minister Chi was welcomed by President Clinton at the White House with full military honors, including a 19-gun salute--a bizarre spectacle that I and many others on both sides of the aisle protested. But why do I bring this up now? General Chi addressed the Army War College on that trip and in answer to a question said:

Not a single person lost his life in Tiananmen Square.

He claimed that the People's Liberation Army did nothing more violent than the ``pushing of people'' during the 1989 protest. Not a single person lost his or her life? Are you kidding?

That big lie and countless others like it, however, is, and it was then, the Communist Party's line about Tiananmen.

As chair of the Foreign Affairs Human Rights Committee then, I put together a congressional hearing within 2 days--December 8, 1996--and witnesses who were there on Tiananmen Square in 1989, including Dr. Yang Jianli, a leader and survivor of the massacre, and Time magazine Bureau Chief David Aikman, who were actually witnesses at my hearing this past Monday. We also invited Minister Chi, or anyone the Chinese Embassy might want to send to the hearing to give an accounting of that blatant lie. I guess Minister Chi thought he was back in Beijing when he was at the Army War College where the big lie is king and no one ever dares to do a fact check.

Last week, Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Department of State asked the Chinese Government to ``end harassment of those who participated in the protest of 1989 and fully account for those killed, detained, or missing.'' What was the response from the Chinese Government? The Chinese Foreign Ministry acrimoniously said that the United States should ``stop interfering in China's internal affairs so as not to sabotage China-U.S. relations.''

We have heard that line from the Soviet Union. We heard it from those who supported apartheid in South Africa: Don't interfere.

Human rights are universal, and we need to speak out boldly and without fear when they are violated, wherever and whenever they occur.

``Sabotage'' Sino-American relations because our side requests an end to harassment and an accounting? It sounds to me like they have much to hide.

Therefore, Mr. President, tomorrow when you meet with the unelected President of China, and Saturday when you meet with him as well, please be informed, be bold, be tenacious, and seriously raise human rights with Chinese President Xi. No superficial intervention. No checking off on the box, Yes, I raised human rights. Raise real names. Ask for their release. Raise real issues, like the horrific one child per couple policy or the endemic use of torture by the Chinese dictatorship. Raise the 16 cases that are being raised and given to you to raise of individuals, people who in China are like the modern-day Natan Sharansky or others who have suffered so much for freedom for all these years--like Gao Zhisheng and others.

Mr. Speaker, we will not forget what took place in Tiananmen Square 24 years ago this past Monday and Tuesday. The struggle for freedom in China continues. Some day the people of China will enjoy all of their God-given fundamental human rights; and as a nation of free Chinese women and men, they will some day honor and applaud all those who suffered so much in the Laogai, the Chinese gulags, and sacrificed so much for so long.

Mr. President, the ball is in your court. President Obama, raise these issues and do it in a robust, sincere, yes, diplomatic, but very powerful way.

I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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