Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal, was decided January 23, 1973 and this year on Friday, Jan. 21, those who stand for life are gathering yet again in the 49th annual March for Life. To note that occasion, Sen. James Lankford, (R. OK.) gave this talk in Congress.
We talk a lot about division and things that are hard. If you don’t mind me taking a bit of a detour, there are things we disagree and agree on, some of them profoundly. One of them I want to mention as well. You know, this week would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday. Talk about America’s sweetheart—I can’t find a soul that doesn’t like Betty White. If you find somebody that doesn’t like Betty White, will you let me know who that is because that is one hard heart. Everyone loves Betty White. Betty White spent 70-plus years raising money in support for the humane society, overwhelming support, millions of dollars that she raised for the humane society. And there was broad support for puppies and kittens. Who disagrees with Betty White’s puppies and kittens? We’ve got common ground already. We see some things so similar and some things so different – hard issues at times.
Let me give you a Rorschach test. Can I do that? You know the Rorschach test, the inkblot. Let me give you a Rorschach test. What do you see in that picture? I see a child. When I look at it, that looks a lot like a baby to me. Now, you may look at it and say, I don’t see it. I see a castle or I see clouds. But in this particular Rorschach test, it happens to be a modern sonogram of a child. Why do I bring this up? Why do I bring this to the floor today?
It is fascinating to me on the floor today, as a Republican I can be accused of not caring about the challenges of voting in America when I’d be willing to ask the question, does this child get to vote 18 years from now? Or does she get disposed of? What happens to her? I do believe every life matters, no matter how old or how young, how small or how big, regardless of race or color or national origin or sex or ability. All people have inherent value. All people have worth. And all should be protected in America. This is the United States of America, and that child matters.
Forty-nine years ago the Roe v. Wade decision was made.
It’s coming up -this Friday is the 49th anniversary actually. That’s why I bring it up. There will be tens of thousands of students out in March for life. It will be an absolutely spectacularly beautiful display of value of human life. In 1973 just a few months after the decision was handed down, Nellie Gray and some other pro-life leaders, like the Knights of Columbus and other groups – they decided one way they could continue the national dialogue about children was to March for life until Roe v. Wade was overturned. And I’m going to march with them again this year. And it’ll be freezing cold again this year, like it usually is in late January. A lot has changed since 1973. Science has changed the conversation on abortion where it used to focus on cells and tissue and viability. Now science recognizes that babies can feel pain, have a beating heart. That child already has fingerprints, by that age right there. By conception, that child has DNA that is different than the mom and different than the dad.
Every single person in this room was once in your mom’s womb and the only difference between you now and you then is time. That’s it.
And I’ll be very blunt. My greatest hope is after 49 years this’ll be the last March for life in a Roe v. Wade America. That this will return back to the states to be able to make decisions, and my state will step up to this Rorschach test and will say, that looks like a baby to me, and will start protecting the value of every single child. We brought bills to this floor that have been filibustered, bills on conscience protection. Just giving the rights of a nurse, of a nurse who told her employer, I don’t want to perform abortions, I have a conscience issue with that, then was hired and later her hospital said you have to participate in this abortion.
We have laws in America that protect that. They just have no teeth at all. And so individuals do get forced to perform abortions against their conscience. We brought that to the floor but it got filibustered. We brought to the floor the protections for children in the womb that have Down Syndrome – that they couldn’t be aborted simply because they have Down Syndrome. But guess what – it got filibustered and blocked. We’ve brought bills to the floor sayings that if a child was actually born alive in a botched abortion, they had to get medical care. But it got filibustered and blocked.
By the way, I wish the people in this room had the opportunity to meet some of the folks that I’ve had the opportunity to be able to meet that are abortion survivors because I hear from people all the time, that never happens, that never happens. I’d like for you to meet some of them that literally have survived a botched abortion, that they were delivered alive and someone in the room took them to the hospital in their own vehicle usually and survived. I wish you had the opportunity to be able to sit down with Dr. Alveda King, the daughter of Dr. King, was a great civil rights leader and, yes, the niece of that Dr. King you’re thinking of, who is an outspoken proponent for life. She speaks often of grace to people.
I wish we had the opportunity to be able to talk more about chemical abortions and what’s actually happening in that industry, where people are literally being mailed drugs from all over the world to be able to perform an abortion at their home or their dorm room a hotel room. Where this child is being delivered into a toilet and flushed. And where we have a much larger incident of deaths of moms on chemical abortions than there is on surgical abortions.
And the statistics that have been kept which, by the way, were blocked from being kept other than just deaths – from to 2000 to 2017, 3,800 what they call adverse events from chemicals abortions occurred. Why do I bring this all up? I bring it up because this week we’re going to remember 49 years of Roe v. Wade and we’re going to start a dialogue in the days ahead about how states are going to handle life and what that Rorschach test is, is that a baby or tissue? And we’ll have to face that reality. I bring it up because it’s a rare moment for us to have a real bipartisan conversation today.
As the body knows, it’s not often we all sit in our chairs and actually talk to each other. We typically talk to each other through the media rather than talk to each other in here. I brought it up because the conversation about her has been filibustered over and over and over and over again. And we don’t get to have real debate about her. We just move on. When do we get to have a conversation about her? That’s a real dialogue, and determine what direction we go as a nation. For her sake, I hope it’s soon. Because she matters.