Mar 02 2020
Senate Republicans Defend Basic Rights of the Unborn
From the beginning of my time in public office, I have worked to advance policies to defend innocent human life. Recently I joined with Senate colleagues to continue that effort. We considered two bills that would establish basic protections for children, born and unborn. Unfortunately Senate Democrats blocked both bills.
Senate Republicans Support Basic Life Protections
One of the bills we considered was the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This bill is based on scientific evidence that unborn babies at this stage can feel pain – meaning abortion is excruciating for them before it ends their life.
The second bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would require doctors to provide care to babies who have survived an abortion attempt. In other words, it would prohibit these babies from being killed outside the womb or left to die. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 143 babies survived abortion attempts between 2003 and 2014 – and many more such cases may have gone unreported.
The need for this bill became clear last year when Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, suggested that an unwanted newborn baby should be “kept comfortable” while the mother and doctor determine its fate.
I am disappointed these measures were unable to advance. But I remain committed to standing with all Americans and Mississippians who believe we have a duty to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us.
Despite the partisan divide in Washington, Americans support these measures by wide margins. A survey taken last year by the Susan B. Anthony List revealed that 77 percent of American voters support protecting babies who survive an abortion attempt – including 70 percent of Democrats. Likewise, 71 percent of Americans oppose late-term abortion, according to a Marist poll taken last year. Bills like these should be a source of common ground, not division.
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion
Since 1976, Congress has passed the Hyde Amendment each year, a measure to ensure that taxpayer dollars will not go toward abortion. This protects pro-life taxpayers from paying for something they consider to be morally wrong. No American should be forced to pay for a service that violates their conscience or beliefs.
To make this provision permanent, Congress needs to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill I have introduced numerous times. This would give certainty to pro-life Americans who do not wish to fund abortion. I will continue to work with my colleagues to advance this bill and other proposals that would protect American taxpayers and recognize the inherent dignity of every unborn child.
The Pro-Life Cause Is Gaining Ground
In spite of the gridlock in Congress, the pro-life cause is making progress. Last year nearly a dozen states, including Mississippi, passed legislation to protect life at earlier stages of development. Our friends in Louisiana passed a similar law that will soon be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling later this year will include the input of President Donald Trump’s two appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Perhaps there is no greater measure of enthusiasm for the pro-life movement than the thousands of Americans who travel to Washington for the annual March for Life. Every January, I see hundreds of Mississippians, and scores of young people, joining in this gathering. These young citizens can play a pivotal role in moving the pro-life cause forward.