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Public Statements

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I have to tell you, Madam Speaker, so often we come to the floor and we will hear Members say, we are doing this for the children or that for the children, and I have to tell you, this is one of those days that we truly can stand and say, yes, indeed, we are taking an action that will enable so many children to enjoy that first guarantee, that guarantee to life. And indeed, that is the reason that we stand here.

The Unborn Child Protection Act is based in science. This is an area that has overwhelming public support, and it is, indeed, an appropriate response to Kermit Gosnell's house of horrors and the similar stories that we are hearing emanate from across the Nation about what is happening in these abortion clinics.

What this does is to limit abortion at the 6th month of pregnancy and includes exceptions so that we can send the clearest possible message to the American people that we do not support more Gosnell-like abortions.

It does nothing to ban abortion before the 6th month of pregnancy. It does not affect Roe v. Wade, and we know that it is a step that needs to be taken to protect life.

You know, scientific evidence tells us that unborn babies can feel touch as soon as 8 weeks into the pregnancy. They feel pain at 20 weeks. Indeed, some of these marvelous, marvelous fetal surgeries that are performed, they administer an anesthesia to these unborn babies.

And as I said, public opinion polling shows that 60 percent of all Americans, Madam Speaker, they support limiting abortion during the second trimester, and 80 percent during the third trimester. So we think that it is incumbent upon this body to take the step that we bring before the Chamber today and to recognize science, to bring the law in line with the majority of public opinion, and to stand against what has transpired in the Kermit Gosnell-like abortion clinics.

Indeed, I think it is so noteworthy that Mr. Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, stated that he thought the law should be back to 16 or 17 weeks. He said that 24 weeks was not a good determiner, and that it would be a far better thing to have that ban at 16 or 17 weeks.

We're not pushing back that far. We're at 20 weeks. We think that this is an appropriate step.

At this time, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, at this time, I yield 3 minutes to one of our great pro-life advocates, Mrs. Black from Tennessee.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I yield 15 seconds to myself to respond.

A USA Today-Gallup poll: 64 percent, abortions should not be permitted in the second 3 months of pregnancy; 80 percent, in the third 3 months. The polling company on March 3, 2013: 63 percent of women believe that abortion should not be permitted after the point where substantial medical evidence shows the baby can feel pain.

At this time, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Minnesota (Mrs. Bachmann).

Mrs. BACHMANN. Madam Speaker, it's a privilege to be able to stand here today and to speak on behalf of the unborn. I have a picture that was taken just yesterday. All of us as parents love to take pictures of our babies. This is a picture that was taken of an unborn baby yesterday. This is the age of the baby--the youngest age, at 20 weeks, that this bill is referencing. And this is a picture of the mom. We're here because we care about women. We're here because we care about the unborn. That's why I support this wonderful bill that's before our body today.

You see, we had a very recent, disturbing account of

a late-term abortionist. His name was Kermit Gosnell. His actions have made debates like this more important than ever before because, under the guise of being a medical professional, you see, Dr. Gosnell violently ended the life of viable, unborn babies. And, in turn, he seriously hurt or even killed some of the women whom he claimed were his patients.

A few days ago, the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, referred to late-term abortions as sacred ground when voicing opposition to this bill. I found that to be a stunning statement. What could possibly be sacred about late-term abortion? What could possibly be sacred about dismembering this 6-month-old little baby with a pair of scissors as Kermit Gosnell did? What could possibly be sacred about listening to the whimpers and cries of a baby? Because, you see, we know that babies at this age feel pain when scissors are put into their body as it comes to an early end.

You see, we are the people who make the laws in our society, and therefore, we have the duty to protect the inalienable right to life of every individual, both the mom and the unborn baby. At 8 weeks from conception, an unborn child's heart begins to beat. By 20 weeks, he or she is capable of sensing pain. And babies as young as 21 weeks have survived premature birth.

Madam Speaker, as a woman and as a mom of five natural-born children and 23 foster children, I am appalled by the savage practice of late-term abortion.

There is no such thing as an unwanted child, and that's why this legislation is so important. It not only protects the unborn, it protects the mom against the lethal practices of abortionists like Gosnell. And women deserve better than abortion. Unborn children deserve their inalienable right to life. Pregnancy is wonderful. It can be difficult too. That's why we need to show patience and compassion toward every woman as they carry a human life.

We are, indeed, treading upon sacred ground. But it's because we're dealing with the sanctity of every human life. And out of respect for this mom and out of respect for this unborn child, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this commonsense piece of legislation. I thank Mrs. Blackburn, and I thank Representative Trent Franks of Arizona.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. At this time, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Chairman, at this time, I yield 2 minutes to one of our bright young attorneys, the gentlelady from Alabama (Mrs. Roby).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds.

When we talk about what is dangerous and wrong, let me tell you what is dangerous and wrong: condoning the actions of Kermit Gosnell or Doug Karpen or what transpired in New Mexico or what we found out from Delaware or from Virginia or from West Virginia. The house of horrors goes on and on.

At this point, I would like to yield 3 minutes to a member of our House Republican leadership team, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Wagner).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, at this time, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlelady from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, at this time I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Scalise), who chairs the Republican Study Committee.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, at this time, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from South Dakota (Mrs. Noem).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, at this time, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Fortenberry).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, at this time, I yield 2 minutes to the chairman of the Republican Women's Policy Committee, the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Mrs. Ellmers).

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I would like to ask how much time is remaining on each side?

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. At this time, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. At this time, I would continue to reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, we have no additional speakers. If you want to complete, then I will close.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This has been an interesting debate, and I have to tell you, we have heard every descriptive adjective that there can possibly be coming from the negative of why our colleagues on the other side of the aisle think that this debate is inappropriate.

I do think that some of the most interesting has been the parliamentary inquiries to ask about what we're doing about jobs and student loans and veterans. And I have to tell you all, I agree. This Obama economy has been brutal to especially women and the female workforce; and, indeed, we would love to see our colleagues in the Senate and the administration work with us on those issues.

But let me refocus us on why we are here. We are here because it is imperative that we take an action, and that we address these Gosnell-like abortions. We have stood on the floor today, and we have talked about what transpired with the conviction of Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia, 21 felony counts, performing illegal abortions beyond the 24-week limit, manslaughter for the death of a woman seeking an abortion at his clinic, three counts of killing babies born alive, and dozens of other heinous crimes.

We have heard about how the necks are snipped, the heads are punctured. We even heard the statement from his attorney who said 16 to 17 weeks should be the limit.

We are going at 20 weeks. We have heard of other atrocities, whether they are the Carpin case in Texas, the case in New Mexico. Nurses, pro-choice nurses out in Delaware recently quit their jobs at a big abortion business to save their medical licenses. They said the clinic was, I'm quoting them, ``ridiculously unsafe, where meat-market style, assembly-line abortions were happening.''

Another abortionist, Leroy Carhart, recently stated he's performed more than 20,000 abortions on babies after 24 weeks gestation, and he's perfectly happy to do elective abortions on babies at 7 months gestation.

We know that at 8 weeks babies feel pain. When they have these prenatal surgeries, we know that they're given anesthesia. We know they respond to pain, and we know these late-term abortions are incredibly, incredibly painful.

So that is why we stand today. We want parity for these babies, for these unborn children. We can see them. We have seen some of the ultrasounds. And you know what is so amazing? When you see these ultrasounds, and when people are waiting for the arrival of these precious children, they go ahead, they name them. They're expecting them. They are waiting for them. And they know that these children feel pain when they are harmed.

Science tells us so. The American public is with us on this. Sixty-four percent of all women think abortions should be eliminated when these unborn babies feel pain. Out of all Americans, 60 percent--60 percent--this is a Gallup/USA Today poll. Sixty percent says second-trimester abortions should be eliminated. Eighty percent say third-trimester abortions should be eliminated.

So for those reasons, that is why we stand here today. To support these women and these unborn children, to end these atrocities, to stand together, to make certain that that first guarantee, the guarantee to life--the guarantee to life--so that you can pursue liberty and enter into the pursuit of happiness, that is why we stand here today.

Madam Speaker, I've been honored to work with my colleagues. I know some don't like the fact that a former Judiciary Committee member has come to the floor to handle this bill. I've been so honored to be joined by so many pro-life women as we have discussed this issue, as we have come together to stand for this.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

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