WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., took to the Senate floor to discuss the urgent need to protect the rights of the unborn. The Senator’s floor speech came on the eve of oral arguments in the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on December 1.
Senator Wicker’s speech highlighted the scientific progress made since 1973, when the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. Developments in medicine and technology now allow parents to see life functions and characteristics within the first 15 weeks, a point Senator Wicker said has moved many more Americans to become pro-life.
Wicker also compared the United States’ abortion policies to those of several European countries, including Germany and Belgium, which have banned elective abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy. American laws on abortion, Senator Wicker charged, are currently outside the “mainstream” of international thinking on the issue.
Read the full text of the Senator’s speech as given below.
I congratulate my friend from Montana for his passionate, and analytical and, in my view, correct assessment of this issue.
I rise this afternoon in support and in encouragement of the public officials and the attorneys who will bring this case before the Supreme Court in argument tomorrow.
I rise, as does my colleague from Mississippi, Senator Hyde-Smith, in appreciation for the state legislature, where she and I both served before coming to Congress, and an appreciation for the governor and the Legislature enacting the Gestational Age Act, which is the subject of this DOBs case, which will be argued tomorrow.
This is a serious issue.
It's an issue that will determine whether millions of American children have an opportunity to be born and to enjoy the good life, in this, the greatest system of representative government that the world has ever seen.
So it's a serious issue, but Mr. President, I'm happy today.
I'm encouraged and hopeful today, and one of the reasons that I'm so encouraged is that the American people steadily over the decades have been moving in the direction of protecting life.
This has not always been the case.
And as my friend from Montana so accurately pointed out, we just know so much more—science knows so much more—today in 2021 than science do and that Americans do and the world knew back in 1973.
And so we see more and more people becoming pro-life now.
Since 1995, the share of Americans who identify themselves as pro-life has jumped to 47% from 33.
Well, you say, well, that's not that great. Of course, it leaves some folks undecided.
But when you sort it out and become more specific, two out of three Americans support a ban on second trimester abortions.
This is what the Mississippi law does. This is the law that will be allowed to stay in effect if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mississippi based on the argument tomorrow.
Four out of five Americans oppose late term abortions.
And you know, my friend, the distinguished senator from Montana, encouraged people within the sound of his voice to take their smartphones out and type in 15-week old baby, and I did that.
I don't know if the rules quite permit that yet, Mr. President, on the floor, but I daresay it's not the first time that has been done, and so I did that.
I clicked on a 15-week old baby and that very picture, along with other photographs, came up.
And as the gentleman says, it is every much, every bit a human baby, no question about it.
So I'm encouraged that the American people are moving in the direction of life because they've seen these pictures, because they listen to the science, and we know more than we did in 1973.
The Supreme Court knows more than it did in 1973.
After 15 weeks, an unborn baby has more than 90% of its body parts that it will ever have.
They've been formed and almost every organ is functional at the 15 week period.
That's a baby. That's a human, American baby.
The child's heart is pumping 26 quarts of blood per day at 15 weeks and has already beaten approximately 15.8 million times in about 15 weeks.
That's a human, that's a baby. Babies at this stage respond to touch and taste, and a dominant hand begins to emerge.
We know at that point - 15 weeks - whether that baby is right handed or left handed, and of course, we know that that baby can feel pain.
That baby deserves the constitutional rights that the gentleman from Montana mentioned of life and the pursuit of happiness as an American.
And I do want to congratulate our friends across the sea for actually being ahead of us on this.
We like to think that sometimes we know best and we're ahead of the curve.
But it happens that almost every European country has legislation in place, rules in place, that are very much like the Mississippi law that will be in question tomorrow and in the hearing.
Germany and Belgium have banned elective abortions after 14 weeks.
Now this law in Mississippi has set that at 15 weeks, but Germany and Belgium 14 weeks.
Denmark, Norway and France: a very live and let live country, if ever I've heard of it, draws the line at 12 weeks.
So when the Supreme Court hears this case tomorrow, they will have an opportunity to decide to place the United States of America in the broad mainstream of international thought on this.
There are so many, so many reasons why I'm happy today and encouraged today that we have this opportunity to make a case based on the facts.
And Mr. President, I will say this: my heart and my thanks go out to the millions of Americans right this minute who are doing what some think is a quaint thing, performing an act that many people are skeptical about at this point.
But I stand with those millions and millions of Americans who are right at this moment, praying for the Supreme Court, praying for wisdom in these nine appointed and confirmed figures.
They're praying for the right words to be said by the attorneys, and they're praying for the future of our great country.
This is our opportunity and we have every reason to believe that we're on the right side of history.
I stand with the people who are bringing this case, and I stand with the people of Mississippi and the millions upon millions of Americans who are praying for the right decision.
I yield to my good friend from across the river, the junior senator from Louisiana. And I know that my friend from Mississippi is also waiting to speak.
Watch the full speech on the Senate floor here.