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Public Statements

Regarding National Media Coverage of Philadelphia Murder Trial

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FLEMING. I certainly want to thank my good friend from New Jersey for all the great work that you've done on this and the work you continue to do.

I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that just hearing about this trial--and quite frankly, I haven't heard about it on TV. If I weren't informed about it in leading up to this Special Order, I wouldn't know about the Gosnell trial--one in which, I think, it is really sickening just to hear the facts.

It's interesting. This country has reached a point in which we have focused so much on the humane treatment of animals--that is, to treat animals like humans. Then that leaves the question: Why do we not treat people like people? Why don't we treat humans humanely? I think that is an important question. What do people say who themselves have survived abortion?

I was at a meeting several months ago, and I met two fantastic mothers, mothers of children today. As to one of them, her mom, while she was still pregnant with her, attempted to have an abortion, but for whatever reason, she never could get around to it. She couldn't get it lined up or whatever, and eventually, she just ended up not having the abortion. Of course, this beautiful lady was eventually born, and now she has grown up to be an adult, and is very productive and very beautiful and herself has children. Of course, if you asked her, Well, what do you think about your mother's attempt to have an abortion of you while you were still in the womb? she would say--speaking, I think, for millions of unborn today and unborn in the past--Let me live. Give me an opportunity--I, the innocent unborn--to live. Give me a chance to live in society.

I met another beautiful lady at this meeting. Her mother, while still pregnant with her, late term, actually attempted to have a saline abortion. It was a botched abortion. It didn't work. By that I mean she was born alive and remained alive. And, fortunately for her, the health care workers decided to go ahead and revive and resuscitate her. And, of course, we know that saline abortions, if you have a child that survives, it scalds the skin. It creates injury to that baby. But she was treated, and she grew up to be a beautiful woman who married and who had children. If you asked her today, she would tell you she speaks for the millions of the unborn, both in the past and those who are killed in the womb today: Yes, let me live. Give me a chance to live.

Well, what about the question of infanticide? That's really what we're talking about in the Gosnell case. These babies, for whatever reason, he certainly wasn't a good enough doctor to accomplish the abortion while the babies were still in the womb, and then has to go on and do something I think most Americans would consider murder, and that is infanticide. In most places, perhaps all places in America today, infanticide is murder.

But the question is: Do you realize there are two bioethicists in Australia who have recently proposed a concept called ``post-delivery abortion?'' Of course, we know that to be infanticide. Once the baby is born, if you kill the baby, that's infanticide. But they want to do a little wordsmithing and call it something else--post-delivery abortion. What they mean is this: if the baby is born and there's something about the baby that you're dissatisfied with, maybe it has an abnormality of some sort, maybe it's going to cost some money for a heart deformity or a facial deformity, maybe it's born with a genetic defect, that you should have, as a mother, the option of killing that baby even outside of the womb. There has even been a hint that perhaps taking a baby's life, even up to the age of conscious life, which can be, I don't know, a year or even more, would be still incongruent with the concept of post-delivery abortion.

So you see, Mr. Speaker, this is a slippery slope. Once you get past the fact that life begins at conception, and of course with today's technology, infants born as early as age 22 weeks, certainly 24 weeks, often survive at a time when they couldn't in the past. This has become an extremely slippery slope to the point where there are many out there who would actually turn their backs on life even after the point of delivery.

Well, Mr. Speaker, what about the lives of the women themselves? I'm a physician, and I've seen women after they've had an abortion. I can even think of a couple of cases in my practice when of course I would never send a lady for an abortion, but I was forced to treat a lady after an abortion because she was treated by an itinerant physician who comes into town, does a bunch of abortions, leaves town, and says if you have any complications, go see your family doctor. Well, of course, that is sickening for me. That means I am involuntarily participating, at least tacitly, in treating a lady who has had complications from an abortion.

This really goes to show you to the point with Dr. Gosnell just how unfeeling and inhumane the whole consideration is.

But what drives people to do this? Well, we know if you look at studies, it's about money. It's all about money, Mr. Speaker. They make millions of dollars. I think in the case of Dr. Gosnell, he became a multimillionaire because of all of the many abortions he provided over the years.

But, again, back to the women. What happens to the women who have abortions? Well, these are some things that we know. Once a woman has an abortion, her chance of having a future miscarriage goes up. And so now we're talking about miscarriages, stillborn, and the issue of infertility. Rate of suicides, they're higher in women who have had abortions. What about the rate of other complications, rates of depression and other things? We know they're all higher. The outcomes in the future lives of young women, and even not-so-young women who undergo abortions, Mr. Speaker, are really not very positive. So why would we encourage this? And certainly we know that a woman who gets an abortion a first time is far more likely to get a second and a third abortion, and oftentimes it really becomes a form of birth control.

So, in summary, Mr. Speaker, I stand up with my colleagues today to speak out against the fact that not only are we seeing abortion continue, the taking of innocent life through this Nation, but even the mere consideration of ending the life of an infant after birth, either because of a botched abortion or even deliberately just because there is some dissatisfaction with the outcome. I think is really horrible and something we should be ashamed of. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, if we can give consideration and humane treatment to animals, should we not do this for our own as well?

So, again, I rise in support of my colleagues on this very important issue. I do think that if we can't do it on a Federal level, we need to move forward in our States, such as my own State of Louisiana, where we have developed certain requirements, elevated requirements of accountability for doctors who provide abortions so that they can't just fly in and fly out and leave a mess. They have to have certain credentials and maintain hospital privileges perhaps; create limitations after so many weeks can an abortion actually be done. Let's do away with late-term abortions, again, an abominable act. We know through studies that the unborn feel pain at least as early as 20 weeks gestation, and maybe earlier.

Certain States, such as Arkansas, recently passed laws against late-term abortions. And, again, in my home State of Louisiana, we have a cooling-off period where you have to think about this. Think one more time, just think for 24 hours, maybe even pray about it: Is this something I really want to go forward with, end the life of my progeny? And certainly the requirement of an ultrasound, at least a requirement of the option of seeing your baby before you terminate its poor life.

Once again, I thank my colleagues. It is certainly a privilege and an honor to speak on what is, I think, one of the most important issues that we have in America.


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