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Further Discussion of Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (Pt. 7)

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I appreciate the Senator from California in her direct response to the issue of what this amendment does. She said this codifies Roe v. Wade, but Members have had a chance to voice their opinion on Roe v. Wade. We just had an amendment on that. It is clear where our Members were.

That is not the issue before the Senate. The issue is not, Do we need another vote on Roe v. Wade. We already had one. The question is, Do we want a ban on partial-birth abortion? If you want a ban on partial-birth abortion, you do not get rid of the ban and replace it with nothing. I suggest you cannot vote for the bill on final passage and vote for this because you have just voted to kill the bill and replace it with nothing.

I think the Senator from California would agree with that. She says all we are doing is restating current law. So it does not accomplish anything.

At least the Durbin amendment, arguably, you could make the claim—I don't agree, but you could make the claim that this is accomplishing something. The Senator from Illinois made the claim, and you could stand up with the legislative crafting he did and at least make a claim to that. The Senator from California is not attempting to make a claim to that.

I encourage those who support the ban to vote against something that strips the ban and replaces it with nothing.

The Senator from California said that 80 percent of the public supports this right. That is not the case. There is simply poll after poll after poll after poll that shows if you understand what Roe v. Wade does—which is abortion any time, for any reason during pregnancy—probably less than 20 percent, in every poll I have seen, certainly less than 25 percent, support that.

In most polls I have seen, less than 20 percent support an absolute right to abortion. But that is Roe v. Wade.

I make the argument that 80 percent oppose Roe v. Wade. There may be a larger percentage. Certainly there is a larger percentage than 20 percent who support some limited right to abortion. But they do not support Roe v. Wade because Roe v. Wade is an absolute right to an abortion at any time during pregnancy. I wanted to make that clear.

If this bill passes, it will go to conference. We will report it back here and hopefully pass it and send it on to the President.
You are right. Several have said we are going to bring it to court. Of course it will go to court. The Supreme Court will have a chance to look at this, to see whether we have jumped through the hoops the Supreme Court made us jump through.

With respect to the amendment of the Senator again, going back to her amendment, I would posit a question. I don't know if anybody has the answer to it. I don't know if there are any statistics. How many human postviability abortions are stopped by Roe v. Wade today?

I believe Roe is an absolute right. I would have some Members who disagree with that, saying there are restrictions. If that is the case, I would certainly like to know how many abortions are blocked in this country because of Roe v. Wade. If there are some, I would certainly be interested in hearing. If the answer is none, then I think my statement stands, which is this is an absolute right to abortion in this country.

With respect to the statement of the Senator from California that I am comparing her amendment to the Dred Scott decision, that is not necessarily correct. I said her amendment is a restatement of Roe. And Roe is like the Dred Scott decision. I repeat, Roe is like the Dred Scott decision because Roe v. Wade put liberty rights ahead of life rights.

As I said, the founding documents stated we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable liberties. We have ordered liberties—rights: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Not liberty, life, pursuit of happiness. You must have liberty to enjoy life. You must have true liberty to enjoy happiness. They put them in order for a reason.

What Roe v. Wade does is take the liberty rights of an individual and puts them ahead of the life rights of another individual. That is exactly what happened in Dred Scott. They took the liberty rights of the slaveholder and put them ahead of the life rights of the slave.

So, as I said, I am not condemning her amendment or trying to say anything derogatory about what she put on paper. I am not saying that at all. I guess I am saying something derogatory about the decision of Roe v. Wade because I think it gets it wrong. The Supreme Court got it wrong.

The Senator from California said nominees coming before the Congress say Roe v. Wade is settled law. I suspect nominees in the 1850s and 1860, early 1860s, who came before the Senate said the Dred Scott case was settled law. That doesn't mean it was right. That does not mean it is constitutional, the way we look at liberty and the way we look at life, and the way we look at the order of those rights.

I just suggest these are important issues. But I underscore this. If you vote for this amendment, you vote to strip the bill and replace it with nothing. I think the Senator from California would agree with that. It is simply a restatement of law. That doesn't get you to a ban on this procedure and the eventual court challenge that we know is ahead of us on this issue.

I reserve the remainder of my time.

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