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Cotton Speaks on the Senate Floor in Support of Pro-Life Legislation

February 25, 2020

This week the Senate has another chance to vote on basic pro-life protections for babies, both born and unborn.

This week we have another choice to live up to our nation's highest principle-that every person has the right to life-or stoop down to a narrow vision of humanity peddled by the abortion industry and its cronies.

The first bill we're considering, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when there is clear scientific evidence that these young babies can feel pain in their mother's womb.

The abortion lobby and all of its defenders dispute this science, claiming that babies-or "fetuses," which is the euphemism they like to use for babies-can't feel pain at all or at least until the very latest stages of pregnancy.

Now, anyone peddling this comforting myth must never have visited a neonatal intensive care unit, or the NICU, as they're usually called. Ask any nurse who cares for little preemies-even micro-preemies-and they'll tell you how they can hold that small infant sometimes even in the palm of their hands. And they can see it grimace at a poke or a prod-maybe even slap away a tube or a needle as they approach, just like older kids do, just like some grownups do.

The undeniable fact of fetal pain in these young babies influences every aspect of how we care for the young in our hospitals. We swaddle them with only the softest fabrics, because their little bodies are so easily stimulated. We give them pain medicine during surgery-whether they're in the womb or outside of it. Yet we offer no such comfort during abortions, even in the latest stages of pregnancy when abortionists crush a baby's skull and dismember it.

Indeed, a scientific paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Medical Ethics noted a curious fact: abortion is the only-the only-invasive procedure performed on unborn infants without pain medication. Then again, abortion is unusual in so many ways, as so few hospital procedures are designed to end a life, not to save a life.

Are we comfortable with this state of affairs? Are we comfortable with the fact that more than 11,000 abortions were performed after 21 weeks, when, again, we have clear, scientific evidence those babies could feel pain and that many of them could survive outside their mothers' wombs?

I would suggest the American people are not comfortable with this situation. And we can do something about it in the United States Senate this week.

The second bill we're voting on, called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is even more modest, but perhaps, even more urgent. This bill would simply protect babies when they're born alive during an abortion. I know it's amazing to even hear this, but there are rare and horrible cases in which babies are intended to be aborted but yet are born alive. And the doctors are under no obligation to provide medical care to that young baby, with the spark of God living in its soul. So this bill would simply obligate abortionists to render life-saving medical care to a baby struggling for life on the operating table. It would require abortionists to act as those babies' friends and their doctors-consistent with their oath-not act like the baby's mortal enemy.

Now of course the abortion lobby will tell "oh this never occurs." All of their defenders in the media will say it never occurs. But if you're being honest, the facts are that they do occur. The implication here is clear: They simply want us to look away from this horror. That doesn't mean we should though.

Because in fact we do know that babies can survive abortions. We have the numbers to prove it from a handful of states that require abortionists to confess when they fail to kill a baby in the mother's womb and instead murder it on the operating table.

In Florida, 11 babies were born alive during abortions in 2017. Another six were reportedly born alive in 2018 and another two last year. That's 19 precious little babies born alive during abortions-in just one state in just three years. Other states have reported dozens more cases.

Still, the abortion industry will dismiss these lives as a mere rounding error. Let's not even focus on it. It's not a serious matter. But forgive us if most Americans see the matter differently. These are precious little children, made in the image of God and endowed by Him with the same worth and dignity as you and me and all of us.

We have a duty to these little children. We have a duty not to look away from them.

These pro-life bills are modest and humane. They have the strong support of the American people-clear majorities. But the real reason we must protect these babies is not because it is popular, but because it is right.

Every human being is created equal and deserves recognition and protection under our laws. It says so right in the preamble in the Declaration of Independence.

Our country doesn't always live up to that noble principle. But right now, we have an opportunity to live up to it just a little more, in only just a few more cases-but those cases in which life is most vulnerable and most innocent.

So I urge my colleagues to seize this opportunity and protect life by acknowledging the humanity of these precious little children.

We must not look away any longer.