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Public Statements

Further Discussion of Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (Pt. 4)

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SANTORUM. Madam President, first, I say again that in many of these difficult cases, if not all of them, to my knowledge—and I would be curious to hear if there is a case I am not aware of where there needs to be a separation of the mother from the child. I am not aware of any case, and I would certainly be anxious to hear any testimony to the contrary where separation necessarily means abortion. Separation does not necessarily mean abortion, and there are other ways to protect both the health of the mother and the health of the child. As a society, I think if that is possible, then that should be our preference.

Let me go back and talk about the overall issue of Roe v. Wade and where we have come as a result of that. Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Maybe the biggest problem I have with Roe v. Wade was that abortion was a matter that was decided by the people and by its elected representatives. It was, as every other issue is in America, decided in the public square, decided by this kind of debate.

I think this is wonderful. I think the people need to hear this. We do not get enough debate on the issue of abortion. It has sort of been put away in a corner. Why? I would argue this is the great moral issue of our time. It parallels very closely the issue of slavery back in the early 1800s, and the reason is because it is really the same issue.

The slavery issue was: Here is the African American, here is the black man and woman, and what we said in this country was we could look at this person, we could see this person, but under the Constitution it was not a person. We said this individual, this human being, was not conferred personhood under the Constitution. That is what slavery was all about. As a result, that person was property. What all of us knew to be a human being became property, and we had to fight a war to eventually overturn that.

Where are we with the issue of abortion? The child in the womb is not considered a person under the Constitution. Now, we can see it in a sonogram. That is one of the things that makes partial-birth abortion such an important debate because the baby can really be seen. One can see this is a human being; it is nothing but. But according to the Constitution, this child is not a person.

It is the same debate. It is the same argument. William Wilberforce in England, when he fought to overturn the slave trade, put together a poster. It was a picture of a black man. Underneath the picture, it said: Am I not a man?

I would simply say, look at this chart and under this picture could we not say: Am I not a child?

According to Roe v. Wade, according to the law of this great land, the answer to that question is, emphatically, no, and look what we can do to you.

Why? Because you are property. You are like the slave. You have no rights.

How we have twisted our Constitution, which is based on life and liberty. What is first, liberty or life? Think about that. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Do we think the Framers sort of just threw those words together? Do we think they could have said, happiness, liberty, life, they sort of played around and said, which one of these is the right one? Did they put them in order for any reason? We can bet they put them in an order for a reason.

Can someone have liberty without life? No. There is no way possible, if one does not have the right to life, that they can have any liberty.

Can someone have true happiness without liberty? No. Life is a prerequisite to liberty. But what have we done in the case of Roe v. Wade? We have taken life and liberty and we have flipped them.

In Roe v. Wade, the Court put liberty ahead of life, and said the rights of a woman, liberty—this is the liberty clause, this is the grounds from which Roe v. Wade was derived. Of course, the right to abortion is not in the Constitution. But where does it come from? It comes from the what clause? The liberty clause.

So we took liberty and moved it ahead of life. What are the consequences of that? Obviously, we know what the consequences of that are for the child. What are the consequences of that for all of us? The consequences of that for all of us are that now one's freedom to do what one wants trumps someone else's right to exist.

In this case, it is just this little child in the womb. But if we set this precedent, which we have, that my right to my liberty trumps another's right to life—the Senator from New York talks about the slippery slope. Oh, what a slope we are on now. The Senator from New York talked about, you did not show the deformed child. Well, there is a guy in Princeton, NJ, by the name of Peter Singer who talks just about that issue. He talks about the deformed child. And what does he say? He says Roe v. Wade has it right. They put liberty in front of life, and that is right because some people are not worth having around. Yes, that is what he says. Is this guy a kook? Is this guy some sort of flake who is out there in the ether? No. He is a professor. Is he a professor at XYZ State University at Blackwater, PA? No. He is at Princeton University—a "distinguished" chair at one of our great universities.

What does he say? He writes: I should think it should be somewhat short of one year.

What does he mean, "somewhat short of one year"?

Somewhat short of 1 year after birth that we should be able to—what? Kill these little deformed children who happen to be born. Why? Well, because they are not really useful. Their life doesn't mean much. Our liberty means more than their life. Here again, moving life in front of liberty. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

This is the product of Roe v. Wade. This is the product of the Court taking from us who understand ordered rights—that rights are put in order for a reason. Our Founders had it right.

Those who proclaim the virtue of abortion as a right said this would be a blessing to our society. They said: This would be a great blessing. So many positive things will happen. Divorces will come down. Spouse abuse will come down. Infant abuse will come down. Child abuse will come down. Abortions, of course, will go up, but the benefit is domestic violence will go down, teen pregnancy will go down, infanticide will go down, abandoned children will go down. And of course, none of them did. None of them did. Quite the contrary. All of them have at least doubled since 1973 as a percentage.

So this nirvana that getting rid of these—because, see, they argue that since we are going to get rid of 1.3 million children—25 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion—since we are going to get rid of all these unwanted stresses in people's lives, problems in people's lives, then people will be better off, people will be happier, people will be more free; people won't do bad things because they won't have this stress that complicates their life.

But is that the lesson that people learn? No. Sadly, people are much smarter than that. They learned from the leaders of our great country that the value of life was diminished. And they learned from our great country that their personal liberty was more important than your life. Their liberty, their rights, trump you. That is what they learned.

As I mentioned earlier, that is why the two guys ran into Columbine, toting their guns and shooting people, screaming, "I am the law," because that is what Roe v. Wade taught us. They taught us we can put down our neighbor, just like in the early years of this country we could put down the black man and woman.

We are on a very dangerous practice. I know we will celebrate and affirm Roe v. Wade. Our colleagues will support it because it is the law of the land and it is well accepted. I accept the fact that in this body I am a voice in the wilderness. But I will speak. This is not the most popular thing to come and talk about. These halls are not filled with people who want to speak on this issue. I understand, this is a tough one. You make a lot of people mad when you get up and talk about abortion because it is personal. I know. It is personal. But we have to step back.

I thank the Senator from Iowa for giving us an opportunity to step back and look at what we are doing, look at what we have done, and look at what may come of us if we do not turn away and give back to the people.

I was at a briefing the other day, and someone talked about the Iraqis and said: We are worried about them transitioning to democracy because historically they like being ruled. And I thought to myself: Just like Americans on abortion. They like being told what their position should be. They like the Court taking it and ruling. They do not want to have to think about it. They know they do not like it, but they do not want to talk about it, think about it, vote. They want someone else ruling for them. It is easier to give someone else your rights and let them make decisions for you. It makes your life a lot simpler.

I argue it is not making your life much better. No, what Roe v. Wade has done is separate the person, the human being—and there is no doubt, from the moment of conception this is a genetically human organism. It is human, fully human. Nothing is added. It is fully human. And it is, by definition, alive. How do we know? Because the definition of life is something that metabolizes, and this clearly is metabolizing. It is human life.

What did Roe v. Wade do? It took away the instantaneous bonding of human life and human person under the Constitution. It separated them. I repeat this for emphasis. It separated the human person from the human being. That precedent is now the law of the land. And you know what happens with precedent in this country; it is followed. Today for the unborn, tomorrow for—watch out. Watch out.

I remember in one of the early debates on this bill, I got an e-mail from a man from London who said he was sitting there watching the debate, hearing people talk about all these people with disabilities who needed to be destroyed through partial-birth abortion. Not because the mother's health was in danger—because they just were not perfect. He said: I am sitting in my wheelchair as a disabled man with spina bifida, knowing that they are talking about me. They are talking about me.

Today the child in the womb. Tomorrow?

I yield the floor.

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