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Public Statements

Pro-Life Caucus

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Well, I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, I don't often do this, but I'm going to step away from my prepared remarks just a moment and express a sincere gratitude to Congressman Chris Smith.

Mr. Speaker, years ago, when I came to Washington the very first time, it was on a weekend. I couldn't come here and visit the Congress, but I came to the congressional halls of where their offices were. There were two offices that I visited. One was the late Henry Hyde--one of the greatest human beings to ever sit in this place--and the other was Chris Smith. I just have to say to you--I know it embarrasses him terribly, but this is my heart--I believe this man to be truly one of the greatest heroes in this Congress. All the 30-plus years that he has been here, he has given everything he had to protect little children who couldn't vote for him.

I am just convinced, in the councils of eternity, that someone is going to look him in the eyes one day when he crosses over that threshold and say, ``Well done.'' And I am just grateful that we have men like that here.

Mr. Speaker, Daniel Webster once said:

Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. For miracles do not cluster--and America is a miracle, Mr. Speaker. For miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6,000 years may never happen again. So hold on to the Constitution. For if the American Constitution should fall, there will be anarchy throughout the world.

Our Founding Fathers wrote the words of our Constitution down for us because they didn't want us to forget their true meaning or to otherwise fall prey to those who would deliberately undermine or destroy it. This has always been the preeminent reason why we write down documents or agreements or declarations or constitutions in the first place, to preserve their original meaning and intent.

Mr. Speaker, it really causes us to ask ourselves the question: Why was all of this effort made? Why are we really here in this Chamber?

And I would suggest to you that if we simply avail ourselves of the most cursory glance of the Founding Fathers, we are all here to protect the lives of Americans and their constitutional rights. And protecting the lives of Americans and their constitutional rights is the reason Congress exists in the first place.

The phrases in the Fifth and the 14th Amendments capsulate our entire Constitution when they proclaim that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.'' It's that simple. Those words are a crystal clear reflection of our Constitution and the proclamation that the Declaration of Independence put forward to all of us when it declared that "all men''--and I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that's all little babies too--"are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, those being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'' Those words are the essence of America, and our commitment to them for more than two centuries has set America apart as the flagship of human freedom in the world. It has made us the "unipolar superpower'' of this planet, and yet unspeakable suffering and tragedy have occurred whenever we have strayed from those foundational words.

Our own United States Supreme Court did exactly that, Mr. Speaker, when they ruled that millions of men, women, and children were not persons under the Constitution because their skin was the wrong color. It took a horrible Civil War and the deaths of over 600,000 Americans to reverse that unspeakable tragedy. And we saw that same arrogance in 1973 when the Supreme Court said ``the unborn child was not a person under the Constitution.'' And we have since witnessed the silent deaths of now over 55 million innocent little boys and baby girls who died without the protection of the Constitution, the protection that the Constitution gave them, and without the protection this Congress should have had the courage to defend.

Mr. Speaker, the recent trial of Kermit Gosnell has played an instrumental role in exposing late-term abortions for what they really are--relocated infanticide. Kermit Gosnell is this now famous late-term abortionist convicted of murder, in part, for using scissors to cut the spinal cords of numerous little babies who had survived abortion attempts. One of his employees said that in one case that there was this little baby that had been so damaged by the process that it no longer had eyes or a mouth, but she could hear him screeching and making this sound like a little alien.

I know sometimes, Mr. Speaker, we deliberately try to hide those things from our minds. I know I do. But once in awhile it's important just to think on the life of this one little child that was only in this world outside the womb for a few minutes and found nothing but horror and suffering, not knowing why, not knowing what the purpose or the reason was, and no one was there. I just have to say to you, Mr. Speaker, if that isn't wrong, then we can absolve ourselves forever because nothing is wrong. Had Kermit Gosnell done the same thing mere moments before when that little baby was still inside the womb, in many States in this union, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, it would have been entirely legal.

We've seen similarly other late-term abortionists across this country exposed for such incomprehensibly barbaric practices. LeRoy Carhart in Maryland compared a "baby in the womb before an abortion'' to "meat in a crock pot.''

Abortion clinic employees in Arizona explained to a woman seeking an abortion at 24 weeks that 'sometimes they are sometimes alive, yeah, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it''--the baby--"will come out whole.''

Douglas Karpen in Texas has been accused by four separate employees of killing three to four born-alive babies per day by either cutting their spinal cords, forcing instruments in their soft spots on their heads, or twisting their heads off, completely off of their necks with his bare hands.

Very simply, Mr. Speaker, the public is beginning to learn that there are scores of other Kermit Gosnells out there. He was not an aberration. One of the saddest things that we must not miss here, is that as evil as this man was, and the horrible things that he did, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, they are not uncommon in America. And because of this, Americans are beginning to realize that somehow we are bigger than abortion on demand, and that 55 million dead children are enough.

We are beginning to ask the real question: Does abortion take the life of a child? Mr. Speaker, that is the question that I would put before all of my colleagues and anyone in the sound of my voice, to ask themselves in their heart--put aside the rationalization just for a moment and ask yourself: Does abortion take the life of a child? If it does not, I'm willing to walk out of here and never mention the subject again. But if abortion really does kill a little baby, if it really does, then those of us sitting here in the seat of freedom, in the greatest, the most powerful Nation in the history of humanity, also find ourselves standing in the midst of the greatest human genocide in the history of the world.

Throughout America's history, the hearts of the American people have always been moved with compassion when they discover a theretofore hidden class of victims. Once the humanity of the victim and the inhumanity of what is being done to them finally becomes clear in their minds, America changes their heart.

I would submit to you, Mr. Speaker, America is on the cusp of another such realization. And I fear if we fail to respond this time--because after this, after Kermit Gosnell, no excuse remains, we have seen the worst--if we do not respond, then we will slide into that Sumerian darkness where the light of human compassion has gone out and where the survival of the fittest has prevailed over humanity, and it must not happen on our watch in this generation.

Medical science regarding the development of unborn babies and their capacities at various stages of growth has advanced dramatically, and it incontrovertibly demonstrates that unborn children clearly do experience pain. The single greatest hurdle to legislation like H.R. 3803 has always been that opponents deny unborn babies feel pain at all, as if somehow the ability to feel pain magically develops instantaneously as a child passes through the birth canal.

Mr. Speaker, this level of deliberate ignorance might have found excuse in earlier eras of human history, but the evidence available to us today is extensive and irrefutable: unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks and, as Congressman Smith said, very likely substantially earlier.

This information, Mr. Speaker, is at www.doctorsonfetalpain.org. I would sincerely recommend to anyone in this Chamber that is interested to really know the truth to go there and find out for themselves, rather than to have their understanding cemented in some earlier time when scientists still believed in spontaneous generation, and that the Earth was flat. That is the invincible ignorance sometimes that we find ourselves trying to break through on this seminal civil rights issue of our time.

Most Americans think that late-term abortions are rare, but in fact there are approximately 120,000 late-term abortions in America every year, or more than 325 late-term abortions every day in America. Mr. Speaker, I believe we're better than that. We're better than 325 late-term abortions every day in this country. I believe that we're better than dismembering babies who can feel pain at every agonizing moment. And I sincerely hope that we can at the very least come together to agree that we can draw a line in the sand at that point. That we can agree that knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point when they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are.

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing to babies is real. It is barbaric in the purest sense of the word. It is the greatest human rights violation occurring on U.S. soil, and it has already victimized millions of pain-capable babies since the Supreme Court gave us all abortion-on-demand that tragic day in 1973.

Thomas Jefferson said that the care of human life and its happiness and not its destruction is the chief and only object of good government. And ladies and gentlemen, using taxpayer dollars to fund the killing of innocent unborn children does not liberate their mothers. It leaves their mothers oftentimes with the brokenness and the emotional consequences without anyone there to really recognize what they have dealt with. It is not the cause for which those lying out under the white stones in Arlington National Cemetery died, and it is not good government.

Abraham Lincoln called upon all of us to remember America's Founding Fathers and their enlightened belief that nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into this world to be trodden on or degraded and imbruded by its fellows.

He reminded those he called posterity--those, us--that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest should set up a doctrine that some were not entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that their posterity--that is us, ladies and gentlemen--might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began.

Mr. Speaker, may that be the commitment to all of us today.

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