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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 29, 2018 3:59pm-6:00pm EST

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last year doing exactly the opposite. they have held vote after vote to try to gut the affordable care act and medicaid when we should be expanding those programs. affordable health care reform accessible contraceptives, and other programs that support working women and families are all under attack. and today republican politicians want to distract from their hypocrisy with an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban, one that will not pass, that ignores the actual experiences of women, and that would cause enormous harm if it were signed into law. today's vote, which we all know will fail, isn't about policy; it is about political theater. but women don't get abortions to prove a political point. reproductive rights are about health. they are about safety. and this particular vote about
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banning abortions at 20 weeks is about a bunch of politicians intruding on one of the most wrenching decisions that a woman will ever make. it's been 45 years since roe v. wade, 45 years since women gained the constitutional right to a safe, legal abortion. 45 years since the days of illegal abortions. i've lived in that america. i've lived in the world of back alley butchers and wrecked lives, and we are not going back, not now, not ever. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: madam president, i would like to thank my friend, senator murray, for organizing this block of time for us. you just heard from senator
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warren and for all the work senator murray has done to fight for women all across the country. today's debate is the latest battle in the continuing assault on a woman's constitutionally protected right to an abortion. as decided by the supreme court in roe and reaffirmed in casey, the right to an abortion is rooted fundamentally in a woman's right to privacy. but the supreme court's recognition of this constitutionally protected right has not prevented continuous efforts to limit that right. i ask my republican colleagues who are on a mission to limit a woman's constitutional right to choose, what is more private than a person's right to her own body? not just to control her body but to literally own her body. what could be more private than
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that? that's what's at stake as we debate the bill before us today. my home state of hawaii was the first state in the country to legalize abortion and it continues to be at the forefront of protecting, expanding, and preserving this constitutional right. but for every law we fought to pass, we've had to fight just as hard to beat back a wide range of antichoice legislation. republican-controlled state legislatures have enacted hundreds, hundreds of limitations on choice. these efforts have not abated in the states or indeed in congress. courts have deemed many of these laws unconstitutional. it's why donald trump and the entire conservative movement have prioritized selecting, appointing, and confirming judges that are ideologically sympathetic to their views on choice.
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the trump administration is also eroding this right through executive action. in one prominent example last year, a senior official at the department of health and human services went to court to impose his own ideological views to prevent a young woman in his care from obtaining an abortion after forcing her to undergo antiabortion counseling. fortunately, the d.c. circuit courts stopped this official from forcing this young woman to be pregnant against her will. the republican congress is complicit as well. over the past seven years of republican control, the house and senate voted to defund planned parenthood more than 20 times. i understand this is an emotionally charged issue and that each of us has strongly held and sincere positions.
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but it really shouldn't be too much to ask for my colleagues to stay out of my private life and the private lives of women all across the country. that's called respecting each other's views. why should we constitutionally force -- we institutionally force other people who do not share your views to basically have to live with your version of the choices that we all ought to be able to make in our lives. so the bill we are debating today would jeopardize the health and safety of women by establishing a nationwide ban on abortion care after 20 weeks. this bill is arbitrary and it is not meaningly different from the arizona law deemed unconstitutional by the ninth circuit in 2014 in a case that the supreme court let stand. this bill fails to account for the reasons why a woman might
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seek an abortion after 20 weeks, and it restricts the ability of women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. this bill includes no exception allowing for abortion in the case where the pregnancy is a risk to the woman's health. instead, a doctor would only be able to provide care after establishing that a woman would die -- would die or suffer life threatening injuries without an abortion. how cruel can this bill be? that the only exception is that when a woman is about to die before she can get the care she needs. and to make matters worse, this bill places additional burdens on women who have survived the horrors of sexual assault. under this bill, a sexual assault survivor must provide written proof she had obtained
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counseling or medical treatment to receive an abortion. however, a woman's own ob/gyn could not provide this counseling if he or she provides abortion services or even worse at a practice that provides them. adult women who are able to qualify under this outrageous conditions would still have to wait 48 hours before they could receive abortion care. if a survivor is a minor, the law establishes an additional burden to prove she reported the crime to the authorities. according to the department of justice, only 35% of women who are raped and sexually assaulted report the crime to the police. victims of incest who are over 18 would also not be specifically permitted an exception under this bill.
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this legislation would even threaten doctors with fines and/or imprisonment for providing abortion services to women who do not meet the bill's narrow exceptions after 20 weeks. but the outreach doesn't end there. this bill does not contain an exception for cases where a woman's fetus is not developing probably and -- properly and has no chance at living after birth. many of the women in these circumstances desperately want the pregnancies they are choosing to terminate. last year i read a moving account from meredith isakson, an english instructor at berkley city college who shared her personal and heartbreaking story in an essay in "the new york times." madam president, i ask unanimous consent that a copy of her essay be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. hirono: meredith was 21 weeks pregnant when she learned that her second baby boy was
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missing half of his heart. it had stopped growing properly at around five weeks, but it wasn't detectable until her 20th week anatomy scan. meredith's decision to terminate her pregnancy was an agonizing one, but as she weighed her options, she reflected on the meaning of compassion and she said, and i quote, for us the decision was about compassion for our unborn baby who had faced overwhelming and horribly painful obstacles. compassion for our 2-year-old son who had contend with hours upon hours in a hospital, missing out on an invaluable time spent with his parents. and the death of a very real sibling. it was about compassion for our marriage. perhaps most important, it was about our belief that parenthood sometimes means we sacrifice our
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own dreams so our children don't have to suffer. end quote. meredith asserted and i good he that our government has no place in the anguish that accompanied her decision to have an abortion. meredith closed her essay with a very poignant reflection on her own experience two years later. she wrote, quote, saying goodbye to our boy was the single most difficult and poe found experience -- profound experience of my life. the truth is, it has come to define me. today i am a better mother because of him. i am a better wife, daughter, and friend. he made me more compassionate and more patient. he taught me to love with reckless abandon. despite the knowledge that i could lose it all. end quote. meredith and her husband named him lev, the hebrew word for heart. meredith was fortunate in that
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she lived in the state that permitted abortions past 20 weeks. 13 states -- 13 states have established a 20-week abortion ban, and the women living in those states have suffered as a result. think about all those -- all the merediths in those 13 states and many others. recently i heard from dr. huzala moyata, an ob/gyn who has practiced medicine in texas which has a 20-week abortion ban and in hawaii, a state that has strong protections for women seeking to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion. her experience clarifies why it's so urgent that we defeat this bill. dr. moyata shared the story of a young woman in her town who sought medical treatment at another provider after her water broke at 22 weeks.
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this is in texas. although she desperately wanted her pregnancy, her fetus was not viable outside the womb. because of the texas law, this patient's doctors were unable to counsel her on all medically appropriate option, such as immediate delivery. as she became increasingly ill, the patient requested an abortion to prevent her condition from getting worse. the doctors on her case refused. after spending two weeks in a hospital in intensive care unit, this woman was transferred to the doctor's care where she ultimately had to have both her hands and feet amputated due to ensuing severe infection. she also lost her baby. dr. moyata recently moved from texas to hawaii where she now provides life-saving abortion care to women at all stages of pregnancy.
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recently dr. moyata had a patient with a desired pregnancy who was flown in from a neighbor island for management of her previable labor. despite the expert specialist care she received, the patient's water broke at 22 weeks. at that point there was nothing dr. moyata could do to prevent labor and because abortion is legal after 20 weeks in hawaii, dr. moyata was able to provide life-saving abortion care for her patient and prevent her from developing a massive infection. dr. moyata put it plainly in her note, quote, restrictions on abortion care and danger -- care endanger the lives of my patients. end quote. restrictions on abortion care endanger the lives of my patients. and that is exactly what this bill will do. it will endanger the lives of millions of women in this
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country who do not -- who do not make the decision to have an abortion after 20 weeks lightly. and as my colleague from massachusetts said, most abortions take place before 20 weeks. so we are passing a cruel, unconscionable and indeed unconstitutional law. and why are we doing that? why these continued attacks on a woman's health, her economic well-being, and her ability to control her own body? i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this unconscionable bill. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the
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senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: madam president, i join my colleagues on the floor today to speak in opposition to the pending legislation to outlaw abortion procedures after 20 weeks. this is yet another extreme effort to allow the government to interfere in the health care decisions that should be strictly between a woman and her family and her physician. this latest attempt is particularly dangerous. it would impose prison sentences of up to five years on physicians who don't fulfill the laws deliberately, burdensome requirements for documentation and reporting. and it would even impose a prison sentence up to five years on doctors who fail to inform a law enforcement agency about another doctor who failed to meet the law's requirements. viewed more broadly, this bill is part of a continuing campaign to take away women's constitutional right to privacy.
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a right that protects profoundly personal decisions concerning our bodies and our families. i remember very well the days prior to 1973 when abortion was outlawed in most states. an estimated 1.2 million women each year resorted to illegal abortions typically performed in unsanitary conditions by unlicensed practitioners and often resulting in infection, hemorrhage and even death. well, i think women remember those days, and we are not going back. as governor of new hampshire in 1997, i signed into law a bill that repealed our state's archaic laws that dated back to 1848 that made abortion a felony. like that 1848 law, the legislation now before the senate would also threaten physicians with criminal charges
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and imprisonment. abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare. indeed, almost 99% of abortions occur before 21 weeks. and when an abortion is needed later in pregnancy, it typically involves very complex, life-threatening and heartbreaking circumstances. for example, the discovery of a severe and likely fatal abnormality as described by senator hirono. in these difficult circumstances, a woman consults with her doctor and with other people she trusts. a woman needs the freedom to consider every medical option, including serious risk to her own life. the extremely narrow exceptions in the bill before us, exceptions if the pregnancy results from rape or incest, or deliberately designed to impose burdens, complications and shame on women who have chosen to
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terminate a pregnancy. the victim must provide written verification that she's obtained counseling or medical treatment from a very specific list of, quote, medical providers who do not provide abortions and who are often strongly anti-abortion. this requirement is a completely unnecessary burden on a woman who is already dealing with a crisis. it's also insulting and condescending to all women. we're not children who need guidance from an adult. we can consult those we choose to consult, and we can make our own decisions. to impose this requirement in this crude manner is something right out of the a hand maid's tale. then if the rape victim is a minor, she's allowed access to an abortion only if she can provide proof that she reported the crime to law enforcement. again, this is completely out of touch with the real world. only a small percentage of
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sexual assaults and rapes are reported to police. nearly 80% of rape and sexual assault victims know their offender. so let's say this plainly. the reporting requirements in this bill are an outrageous attempt to judge and shame women and girls who have been victims of a violent crime. i heard from rachel, who is a registered board certified nurse in new hampshire. she told me that bills to impose blanket rules and arbitrary limitations, bills like the one before the senate today, are out of touch with the reality she sees in her practice every day. rachel said, and i quote, while procedures at 20 weeks and beyond certainly comprise a small portion of the care we provided, it was absolutely critical for those that needed it. many pregnancies are not surveyed with ultra sound until
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19 to 20 weeks, at which time previously unforeseen complications can be detected. then there are often further procedures to finalize a diagnosis and a prognosis. for people who receive devastating news about a pregnancy after 20 weeks, abortion may be the best option, and they deserve access to that care. end quote. the american medical association opposes this bill. the a.m.a. says, and i quote, we strongly condemn any interference by the government or other third parties that causes a physician to compromise his or her medical judgment as to what information or treatment is in the best interest of the patient. i urge my colleagues to respect the women of this country and their right to make their own health care decisions without the unwelcome involvement of politicians and law enforcement agencies. let's reject this partisan,
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extreme and, frankly, unnecessary legislation today. and then let's focus our bipartisan attention on the urgent business of passing a budget, funding our military, combatting the opioid crisis, and the other needs that this country faces. thank you very much, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. madam president, today is a proud but also painful one for me. proud because i am honored and proud to join my distinguished colleague from new hampshire, senator shaheen, and others on the floor. i was proud to join connecticut
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organizations and advocates this morning in hartford for a rally that involved planned parenthood of southern new england, naral, pro-choice contract, the women'e connecticut, the women's march of connecticut, aids connecticut, proud and steadfast and strong activists who joined me to support a woman's right to determine her medical future, the right of privacy, the constitutional right to be left alone, as one of the supreme court justices once called it. and a proud moment for me also because it reminded me of my days as a law clerk for justice harry blackmun, who was the
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author of roe v. wade, and who taught me the constitutional principles that underlie a woman's right to determine her own health care decisions. harry blackmun was a republican appointee. he was a republican before he became a jurist, but there was nothing partisan for him. and there should be nothing partisan for us about this decision. i am tempted to call this 20-week abortion ban a republican proposal, but when i think about the republicans, i know, and especially justice harry blackmun, whom i revered,
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there's nothing republican about this proposal. there's nothing partisan about a proposal that seeks to interfere in this fundamental right of privacy. it is an extremist right-wing proposal that happens to have been brought here by 45 of our republican colleagues. all of them men, except one, who are essentially trying to tell the women of america what to do with their own body, when to have children or not. and that is fundamentally unconstitutional. it flies in the face of roe v. wade and all of its progeny. it is a restriction that has been struck down when adopted at the state level in at least two
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courts. and the others that have adopted similar proposals will be struck down, in my view, as well. the consensus of the medical community and the legal community and ordinary citizens, particularly women, is that women have reproductive rights that would be violated dramatically and directly by this proposal. it violates those rights for totally baseless reasons, policies founded on falsehoods. it is another excuse for right-wing dogma and ideology out of touch with america to seek to put opponents at a political disadvantage. it is transparently a political
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ploy. the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists, the doctors who are most qualified to present scientific evidence-based facts disagree with the assertions and falsehood that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. in fact, the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists wrote -- and i'm quoting directly from medical experts on fetal health -- sound health policy is best based on scientific fact and evidence based, medicine. the best health care is provided free of governmental interference in the patient physician relationship, personal decision making by women and their doctors should not be replaced by political ideology.
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worse than the fabrications behind this bill are the very real consequences that will come if it is passed. this nationwide abortion ban would provide virtually no adequate exception when a woman's health is at risk and when there are fetal anomalies and when there are dangers to the health and well-being of a mother who is sick, if her life is threatened, this bill fails to guarantee that she has access to the health care that she needs. if there is a fetal anomaly and a woman learns that her child will be born with significant impairments. or worse yet, a short life filled with pain, it would force her to carry that child to term.
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and if a woman is advised that her child will not survive pregnancy at all, the most personal medical decisions of her life would be usurped by a cruel, hardless, unconscionable, unconstitutional law. she would be deprived of the right to make those decisions with her family, her clergy, her doctor. the american public disagrees strongly with this potential law, as does the medical community. and individual doctors who have real-life experiences disagree strongly with it as well. one doctor who practices in connecticut told me about patients that are treated in that office who choose to get an
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abortion after 20 weeks, it is oftentimes -- and i quote him --, quote, an agonizing decision, an unexpected one and too often a lonely one, a decision that's deeply personal and altering. end quote. for many women, he told me medical tests showing a devastating issue with a future child, and i quote him, a joyous event becomes a tragic one as they learn of a lethal condition or a syndrome that will lead to a brief life of suffering. end quote. i could quote other doctors. i could quote women who have been through this experience. but without exaggerating, it is one of the most deeply difficult and personal decisions that
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women have a right to make without interference of politicians, insurance bureaucrat or anyone else in positions of authority. it's their decision. congress must keep its hands off women health care. to my colleagues, keep your hands off women's health care. it is their lives and their well-being, and their personal privacy that is at stake. i'm going to continue to fight this ban painfully, because its consequences would be so cruel. but also because it's certainly not the republican party that i
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know who would advocate. and it certainly should not be partisan in any way, and it certainly should not even be before us in this great chamber that has such respect and such a profound role in our constitution. to -- to consider that is a disservice to this great body. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, as we vote this evening on the pain capable child p protection act, i -- child protection act, i speak as a doctor at a hospital for the uninsured for decades. i mention this because the
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uninsured are vulnerable. but, mr. president, if the uninsured are vulnerable, the ununusual pregnant women is particularly vulnerable. if we say she is particularly vulnerable, then we can say that her unborn child is most vulnerable of all. so i speak to these folks with that background. our country has struggled to find a balance between those of us who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. as a pro-life doctor, i think this legislation strikes a balance. again, as an obligation, it is a society's obligation to care for the woman who is pregnant. again, she is among the most vulnerable. her child is the future of our society. we all agree to this. you can see that we agree
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because the social programs provide a safety net both for her and her unborn safety. example, society pays for well-baby visits through medicaid or special programs for women if they are uninsured. if that child is born healthy, then he or she is more likely to be a healthy person to contribute to society, to have life, liberty, and be able to pursue happiness. now, those of us who are pro-life and proi pro- -- pro-choice, but society has agreed at some point that protection is allowed. again, i'm pro-life. i think the protection should be when the child is conceived, but right now the law is divided. if a pregnant woman and her child is killed by a reckless
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driver, there's two counts of manslaughter filed against the driver. on the other hand, let's be clear, a woman has the right to terminate that pregnancy at another point in the pregnancy. on the other hand, partial birth abortion says that child's life cannot be terminated when she is coming through the birth canal. i think the rationale for this is that as a child comes through the birth ka nape, we -- canal, we recognize that child could live independently if allowed to proceed. if you build the criteria, does the child have the ability to live independently from the mother? again, i think that is the rationale for the partial-birth abortion ban. now, as it turns out, a child who is five months old within the womb has the ability to live independently.
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again, i speak as a physician. when you see a baby in the womb at five months, it's incredible. a friend of mine, who works for me, and his wife is expecting and they went and saw the sonogram, and it is marvelous what they see inside the child. you can see him yawning, stretching. at 18 weeks, you can find out if it is a boy or girl. and thanks to modern medicine and the amazing neonature nature -- neonato doctors we have, these babies can have productive lives. research has shown that unborn babies can feel real pain at 20 weeks. as a doctor, i have to look at
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the scientific evidence. at 20 weeks studies have revealed that babies can feel pain, despite the fact that the nerves are developing. that is why fetal anesthesia is administered when unborn children require surgery in the womb. by the way, doctors know this. i just got a letter from the louisiana academy of family physicians. one of their physicians called me last night and stated that representing 1,900 including medical student members as well as the patients in louisiana, the louisiana academy of physicians is the voice of family medicine as are advocates we pass this resolution resolve that the lafp is against
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performing elective abortions at 20 weeks and after and this goes on, but that's the take-home point. family physicians take care of both the mother and child, the totally of -- totality of it. can i also say, this bill includes explicit exceptions when the mother's life is at risk or in cases of rape or insist, again, attempting to strike a balance between those pro-life and those pro-choice. versions of this law have been passed in 20 states, including my state of louisiana. but all babies who feel pain deserve the same protection. most americans agree, even some who believe abortion should be legal, polls show that a majority, both republicans and democrats, support this. i hope my colleagues will join
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me in supporting this commonsense, humane legislation. it is projected that this bill will protect 12,000 to 18,000 unborn babies. protecting their right to life is the right thing to do. i urge my colleagues to vote for this important legislation. and, madam president, i yield the floor. mr. daines: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i'm grateful for the comments that the senator from louisiana just shared as a physician. i'm not a physician.
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i'm a chemical engineer, and i believe it is important, as the senator from louisiana believes, that we look at science when we have this debate about abortion. our nation loses anywhere between 13,000 and 18,000 children a year to late-term abortion. and the numbers of children aborted overall are over 600,000. the focus of the debate here today and on the vote coming up this evening is on late-term abortion. i remember a few months ago i was having a discussion with a young man, a father of several children, about abortion. we were just two guys chatting. we were having a snack in our kitchen. he didn't come from a pro-life perspective. and he kind of asked my views. at what point should an abortion
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be legal? we took it out to the very end of gestation. if the baby is literally ready to be delivered, should an abortion be allowed at that moment? and he said, of course not. let's back it up a day. what if you're eight months and 28 days, should an abortion be allowed in that situation? well, of course not. that is too close to the date of giving birth. we moved upstream toward conception, and where do you draw the line? i believe life begins at conception because that is when unique d.n.a. is created. i realize that is a very contentious issue in our nation. and so one line we can draw is at 20 weeks, and i'll talk about why i think 20 weeks is a place we can start here to get bipartisan support to stop late-term abortions.
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in fact, this young man i was chatting with, he teared up and he said, steve, do you realize that when we were pregnant with one of our daughters -- they have five children -- he said at about ten or 12 weeks, they had a test run when they thought there was an abnormality of the baby and the doctor recommended abortion. we said, what's the alternative? we could wait a few weeks and have a better idea of what is going on with the baby but it puts the mother at greater risk. and they decided to wait a few more weeks and when they came back with the test results, the baby came back clear. they now have a healthy, beautiful young girl who is five years old. with tears in his eye, he was so glad that they did not choose to abort and chose life. babies at that age can stretch,
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suck their thumb, make faces, and science also shows these babies are capable of feeling pain. i became a first-time dad 28 years ago. i still remember taking david to his first well-baby appointment. cindy and i would go to the pediatrician and get the well-baby checks. when we -- i think the hardest part as a patient is -- parent is to see the nurse or doctor give a shot to the child. those cries for pain were excruciating. he doesn't remember it. we remember it. it may have hurt us more than him at the time. but he felt pain. my heart breaks for those thousands of babies who are able to feel pain as they are losing their life to abortion. our ears may be deaf to their cries physically, but we don't have to live in ignorance, not
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when research, not when the science, not when common sense shows that these unborn children can feel pain. there's a reason that unborn babies are given anesthesia with feel surgery, and that is why we must pass the pain capable unborn child protection act. it is unconscionable as a nation when we are allowing unborn children as old as 20 weeks -- that's five months. that is beyond half way of the nine month gestation period that we allow them to be killed in this country. in fact, do a google search for 20 weeks. you don't have to type in baby. type in 20 weeks in the google search bar there and hit enter, and then take a look at the pictures that come up that match the simple terms 20 weeks.
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this is one of the pictures you will see when you google that. i believe there is a principle that people believe what they discover for themselves. what is happening right now is because of technology, because of the precision and the clarity of ultrasounds today, what we can see now in the womb is incredible. and it's no wonder that the attitudes of mill yells -- millennials, 18 to 24, are becoming increasingly pro-life. 94%. i think part of that reason is in the hands of their smart phone when you take a look at the images, and how can you say that is not a baby? that is it a 20-week baby. we're on that horrible list of just seven countries that allow ee lgbtive -- elective abortions after 20 weeks. china and north korea join the united states on that list.
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before coming here, i worked for procter & gamble. i was asked to go over to china to launch operations there to produce and sell products, american brands to the chinese consumer. i had a large operation. one day one of my managers, a young man, chinese, wonderful, wonderful, very bright, very capable, one of our future stars. he and his wife were both p and g employees, both chinese. he said i need to go to the police station this afternoon. i said, well, is there something wrong? he said, well, no, it will be okay. he kind of looked away and said, you are asking time to go to the police station. is there something wrong? well, my wife and i did not have permission from the police to get pregnant with the one-child policy then. he said, he just discovered she
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was pregnant. i said, do you want to keep the baby? they said we do, we're excited about it but we won't be allowed to keep that baby. i said what can i do? at this moment we were focused on saving that baby. a and he said to me, what might help is a case of shampoo, because we were there producing brands like pantene, vidala is a soon -- vidal sassoon. i arranged to get a case of shampoo and gave it to him. he came back the next day with a smile on his face, said we got the problem solved. they later became parents of a beautiful little girl who is today an amazing young woman. as an american citizen, i believe in our founding principle ar -- principle that l men and women are endowed by
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their creator, with a capital c, among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. as a person of faith, i believe in those who are people of faith, we are called to help the most vulnerable in our society. as a united states senator, it is my honor to support this legislation, the pain-capable unborn child protection act. i also want to thank my colleague, senator james lankford from oklahoma, for his leadership on this issue. and i urge the rest of my colleagues to urge us in standing up and protecting those who do not have a voice on the floor of the united states senate here this afternoon. join us in protecting human life. madam president, i yield back my time. mr. sasse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: thank you, madam president. as we consider this legislation to protect 20-week-old babies
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who feel pangs i want to ask my friends this in body to put aside whip counts and scorecards, politics, and reelection and let's talk today just simply about beauty and about science. we love beauty. beauty calls us. beauty inspires us. beauty captivates us. it's part of what makes us human, and it's not surprising that there's almost nothing more universal on this earth, almost nothing more beautiful than our natural impulse to care for a little baby. we all start in the same place -- vulnerable and dependent in every day. we all oo hings and ah over sonogram pictures, even sonogram pictures from a stranger on a bus or plane. we all ooh and ah in the same
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way. when we look at those pictures, we love -- we love -- we don't have to be taught this. you don't have to be conditioned to love. you don't have to be conditioned to know that we should help the vulnerable. this isn't because of economics. this isn't because of politics. we love because they're babies. you don't need anyone to explain this to you. every one of us have experienced this when you've seen the sonogram pictures. but we should note that this love is not just a feeling. it's also built oned and backed up by facts. as we consider whether these unborn babies, having been carried by their mamas for almost five months, as we consider whether they deserve legal protection, whether they deserve our protection, we should think, too, about the science and what is becoming clearer year by year and month by month. i want to associate myself with the comments of the senator from montana who preceded me.
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a huge part of why the millennials are becoming more pro-life than the two generations ordinarily than they are is because they're seeing these sonogram images and it's changing them year by year and month by month. i've been on the floor toker about 45 minutes today and i've heard a whole bunch of claims about polling and facts on the floor today that just aren't true. a. not here to argue this case and argue about how we should vote on this legislation because of polls. i'm here because we should all love babies. that's why we should be doing this. but just at the level of polling, there have been claims on the floor today that are just absolutely not true. younger people are becoming more pro-life, as the gentleman from montana said, year over year right now, and it's because of the prevalence and the per viciveness of sonogram technology and this movement, the pro-life movement is ascendant and it's because people are grappling with
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science and they're grappling with images and they're grappling with the reality of that intrinsic feeling we have to love. we request and we should appeal to ethics -- we can and we should appeal to ethics. we can and we should discuss human dignity. for this conversation today, we could limit ourselves just to scientific facts. as we consider those facts, i want to respectfully ask my colleagues in this chamber today, where will we draw the line? no one seriously disputes that that little girl in that image is alive. no one seriously disputes that that little girl is a human being -- no one. there's no one in this chamber and there's no one outside this chamber who's ever looked at that sonogram image that's going to come to this floor and say, you know the debate i want to have? i want to say that that baby is not alive and she's not a human. should be come to the floor and
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make that case who's going to vote no on the legislation today. say that that's not a life and that that's not a human. because it's not true and no one believes it. the science is year. we all know and understand that that little baby in that sonogram umage is a unique and separate being. we know that she has unique d.n.a. from her mother and she has d.n.a. that's unique from her father. and the baby apps are now telling new moms and dads to be that that baby or when that baby is a size of a sesame seed and then a blueberry and then an apple. and with the help of these sonograms, we're now catching pictures of her sucking her thumb, freddie macing her arms and legislative session, yawning, stretching, making faces. here's what's really new the last couple of years. you're catching pictures and images of her responding to voices, voices that are familiar of other human, that she's
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already in community with, people who are called to love her. as early as 20 weeks post fertilization, which is about halfway through the pregnancy, scientists and our doctors now tell that is this unborn baby can feel pain. in fact, it's become routine procedure of late for us to give underborn and premature infants anesthesia for her surgeries. why? this is new. we didn't used to do this. why do we do it? it's because we have new scientific evidence that they feel pain. it turns out that babies that are 20 weeks along in gestation are pain-capable inside mom's uterus. as dr. conwaddle anan testified before the congress, quote, the human fetus supposes the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks jess takers if not earlier, and the pain perceived by the fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by termed
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newborns, close quote. not only can she feel pain, not only do the images show us that she recoils from being poked or prodded, advances in modern medicine are now helping babies born at 22 weeks, at 21 we, at 20 weeks post fertilization survive outside the womb. the pain that those babies feel outside the womb is supporting the evidence that those babies also feel pain inside the womb, which leads knee ask my friends, have our hearts grown cold to truth? have we become indifferent to questioning our previously held convictions? are we indifferent to what the science is clearly showing us? well, this body, captive to abortion zealots activists, might be ignoring the sonograms. that might be what's happening in this body today. but the american people are actually listening to the science and the sonograms. contrary to those bizarre claims
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that were made on the floor a couple times over the last hour, a hefty majority -- it is not close -- of americans support this legislation, including a supermajority of women, including most young people, including most independents, and now ticking up just shy of half of all democrats. this should not be a partisan issue, and in the future it won't. because more and more people are looking at these images and it's not going to be a partisan issue. it's going to be a bipartisan issue that you have to tell the truth that those pictures are pictures of babies and they're alive and zev our protection. but have our hearts in this body grown cold to the truth? we should also not forget the mothers because the pro-life message is about being both pro-baby and pro-mother. late-term abortions are actually not safe, even for the mother. women seeking abortion after 20 weeks are 35 more times -- times
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more likely to die from an abortion than when done in the first trimester, f-35 times more likely. the united states is ol' one of only seven countries on earth that allows elective abortion after 20 weeks and we're actua actually tied with only three other countries as having the most permissive abortion regime on earth. you know who our peers are? north korea and china. and if our rhetoric about huge rights should mean anything it should mean we don't want to be on a human rights worst list with north korea and china. that's where we are today. and there are a whole bunch of reasonable people who are going to argue against this legislation. they're reasonable in other ways in lifetime and they want to make an argument about the really complicated issues about abortion in the first trimest he had and there are a lot of reasonable people that can have a debate about that. when you listen targets made today, they're not actually grappling with today's legislation. they're talking about abortion in general but nobody is telling us why are we tied with only china and north korea as having
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the most permissive abortion regime on earth? my friends, beauty and compassion can stir our hearts, and science and facts should still confirm the truth. this legislation, the actual legislation we're voting on today, is pro-baby, it's pro-mom, and it's pro-science. and these little babies who are capable of feeling pain, they deserve legal protection. they deserve our protection. and i invite -- i beg my colleagues to join in that conviction and to vote yes on this legislation today. thank you, madam president. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i rise today to strongly support an important nomination and also to tell you my position on the legislation before the united states senate right now. the one that senator sasse has just spoken eloquently about. first, i strongly support the nomination of minnesota supreme
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court justice david stras to serve as a circuit judge on the u.s. circuit court of appeals for the eighth circuit. second, i strongly support the passage of the pain-capable unborn child protection act. i will briefly address both of these issues. over the next couple days, the senate will vote on whether to invoke cloture and then confirm the nomination of justice david stras to serve on the eighth circuit. justice stras is eminently qualified and exceptionally bright. he has received praise and support from the legal profession and across the political spectrum. justice stras is the grandson of a holocaust survivor. he graduated number one in his class from kansas law school in 1999, serving then as a law clerk to two federal circuit
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judges and to a justice on the united states supreme court. justice stras has served on the minnesota supreme court since his appointment in 2010. then in 2012, he ran for a full six-year term. he handily defeated his opponent winning 56% of the vote. justice stras has received wide, bipartisan support from the minnesota legal community. he has also taught law for many years at the university of minnesota. he also teaches law at the university of iowa, which obviously is in my home state. many of the faculty there, including even liberal professors, such as professor shelley kurtz, strongly endorse justice stras' nomination. his time in the private sector
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was spent at two highly regarded law firms. during his service on the minnesota supreme court, justice stras has participated in over 750 cases. as my colleague senator klobuchar noted, justice stras' judicial record demonstrates that he is impartial and apolitical in his writings. justice stras has cited with a minnesota supreme court majority 94% of the time. justice stras has descented one-third of the time with then justice alan pagers who was the first african american justice in minnesota and who has a record of being very liberal. former justice paige strongly endorses justice stras' nomination to the eighth circuit, and four former justices from all political
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stripes also endorse justice stras' nomination. so this shows me that justice stras won't be a rubber stamp for any political ideology. i'm convinced that justice stras will rule fairly and impartially finding and applying the law as written. and not legislating from the bench. justice stras is a very accomplished and impressive nominee. he has a long judicial record of impartiality. i strongly support his nomination, and i urge all of my colleagues to do the same. i also come to the floor today to urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the pain-capable unborn child protection act. this commonsense measure recognizes that the government has an interest in protecting our children from the excruciating pain that they're
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capable of experiencing during a late-term abortion. this is a measure that many americans, including a majority of women, broadly support, and it's time that we get this bill passed. as judiciary committee chairman, i convened a hearing on this bill in 2016. witnesses, including a northwestern professor of pediatrics, one of three witnesses, a second one, a woman who survived a botched abortion as a baby, and a former abortion provider offered compelling evidence in support of this very important legislation. there's also the history of an iowa boy, micah pickering who is living proof that we need to do more to protect unborn babies at this stage of development. micah and his parents visited me
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in washington last september. they tell me that when micah was born at 20 weeks post fertilization, he received intensive care, including a medication to minimize his pain and discomfort. babies like micah born in the fifth month of pregnancy are capable of feeling such pain. that's why it has -- that's why it has now become routine procedure to give premature infants anesthesia for fetal surgeries. how could anyone think that these unborn babies would not experience the same excruciating pain from an abortion when premature babies like micah from iowa are being born at the same stage of development and are
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surviving late term. once again, i call upon my colleagues to support the passage of this bill entitled pain-capable unborn child protection act and embrace at the same time the sanctionty of -- sanctity of an innocent human life. i yield. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: madam president, i want to join senator grassley and my colleagues in supporting the legislation before us today. this always -- as we debate this issue, it always seems to be such a defining issue in terms of who we are and who we hope to be. no country in europe allows pregnancies to be ended this late in the pregnancy. no country in africa allows pregnancies to be ended this late in the pregnancy. only six other countries in the world allow pregnancies to be
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ended at any time. as i've listened to the debate today, the debate about 20 weeks, it sounds to me like the opponents of the bill, it wouldn't matter if it was 30 weeks. or 21 weeks or -- there is no week you can pass here. the other bill that we should vote on that the house has passed is the born alive bill. there are people in the country today who actually oppose the born alive bill. when a baby in an abortion process is born alive, my understanding is you can't step in and take the life of that living child, but you can all step back from the table where that baby is in front of you and let the baby die. so obviously there's a point here when we are not going to be able to talk to each other in a way that apparently persuades
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anybody. maybe hearts won't change. maybe minds won't change in the senate today, but as many of my colleagues have pointed out, they are changing in the country. people realize there is a time when that child has every opportunity with a little help to live independently, and that surely would be too late to end that life in the minds of most people. younger people have more of the view that that life should be saved than older people, but all people -- i think all groups, 63% of all americans say we shouldn't continue to allow this to happen. senator grassley and others have said and senator grassley just said, a majority of women, a majority of democrats, a majority of republicans, a majority of young people all believe that this is not an acceptable place for us to be. why would we want to be one of
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seven countries in the world that allow abortion at any time? why would we want to be one of four countries in the world that allow abortion at a time when it is widely accepted that the child being aborted, the life being taken is a child that can feel pain? i think we've come to a point here where the -- the senate in its ultimate resolution today, while a majority of senators i think will vote for this, not a big enough majority to put it on the president's desk, as we come to this point today, i think once again we have to ask ourselves what do our friends on the other side who clearly disagree with us on this issue, at what point is that life clearly a life that should be saved? would you vote for the born alive bill? would you vote for this bill if
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it was 25 weeks? would you vote for this bill if it was 28 weeks? i don't hear any of that in the debate. it's just this is not the government's business. at some point it is the government's business. protecting life is at some point the government's business. when the presiding officer and at least one other person and i served in the house, we changed the law. when a homicide is created and the woman is pregnant and the child is lost also, that's considered in law as a double homicide. there are two lives taken at that point. two lives at 20 weeks or 12 weeks or 15 weeks -- not sure where that threshold begins, but i do know that we've decided that this is not just one crime. it's two crimes when that happens. and so we have an opportunity today to define something that
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is pretty clearly and significantly defining as to who we are as a nation. otherwise, virtually every country in the world wouldn't have stopped doing this if they ever had allowed it to happen in the first place. so, mr. president, i urge my colleagues to join in passing this legislation and standing up for those who can't defend themselves but understanding that harm is done. and when harm is done in this way, our society is harmed by that harm. and i would yield the floor, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: mr. president, the senator from nebraska has generously allowed me to intrude on her time for half a minute to say that i strongly support this legislation. the pain-capable unborn child protection act.
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science is on our side in supporting this legislation. public opinion is on our side in supporting this legislation. 60% of women, 64% of independents, 56% of democrats support ending late-term abortions, which is what we're trying to do. medical practice is on our side in this legislation. and world opinion and world practice is on our side. let me simply reiterate that we are -- we in america are among a grim group of seven countries that permit abortions after 20 weeks. canada and netherlands in the west and then china, north korea, singapore, and vietnam. we are in a grim group, including north korea and china. we may not have the votes this
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time, but we are advancing the issue ndz we're -- issue, and we're going to continue to fight for the unborn, particularly those who are capable of feeling pain after 20 weeks. i thank the senate for its time. i particularly thank the senator from nebraska for indulging me for a moment. mrs. fischer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. over my time in public service, i have been committed to supporting commonsense pro-life measures that offer empathy for women and for unborn children. too often women experience despair and pain and judgment from others during an unplanned pregnancy. we should offer compassion for these expectant mothers, and they need to know that we will continue to support them in the
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challenging years ahead. we should also be willing to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn who can feel pain and have the chance at viability. i rise today to discuss the legislation that the senate will consider shortly, the pain-capable unborn child act. this is a reasonable bill that has the support of 47 senators. this kind of bill has passed in many states, including my own. my state of nebraska has a proud tradition of being pro-life. we were the first state in the country to pass a 20-week abortion ban. the legislation before us today would enact the same policy at the federal level and doing so makes sense. as a state senator, i was a strong supporter, and i was a cosponsor of that legislation.
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this legislation passed in nebraska because we focused on areas of agreement and like the bill we're debating today, the legislation provided exceptions for rare and dangerous circumstances. this kind of bill passed overwhelmingly in nebraska by a vote of 44-5. it had the support from pro-choice and pro-life senators from both parties, republicans and democrats in my state. the enduring support for this kind of legislation across the country and the world is pretty easy to understand. it is a righteous cause that is based on science. it states that abortions during the six month of pregnancy should only be allowed in moments of extreme danger and with exceptions.
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basic embryology shows that the human nervous system is developed during the first six weeks of pregnancy. our sensory receptors for pain develop around the mouth as early as ten weeks, and are present in the cien and mao cows -- skin and mucosal skin 20 weeks gestation. the connections it the spinal cord and tha and thalmus is pret 20 weeks gestation as well. none of this is debatable. it is fact. we also know that babies have been born. they survive and thrive before the current 24-week limit. in march of 2017, the academic journal of pediatrics discussed a girl in dallas who in 2014 was born at 21 weeks gestation.
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today she is a typical happy 3-year-old living her life to the fullest with a operate future ahead of her. over time views on this divisive issue have evolved toward the side of pro-life policies because as we gain more knowledge about pregnancy and gestation, we understand the humanity of the unborn. we recognize them as the people that they are. this movement is on the rise. nearly two-thirds of americans support legislation prohibiting abortion into the sixth month of pregnancy. this includes almost 80% of the millennial generation, those most likely to be affected by such restrictions. it's gaining momentum because it is a movement backed by science.
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it is a movement of truth and it is a movement of love. we have an opportunity to join together in support of the basic truth that all life is sacred. we should protect the child in the womb, especially when he or she can feel pain. we can make a statement that every person is deserving of life and deserving of love. i believe that life is a gift from god, a gift to be lovingly cherished. i ask my colleagues to support this reasonable piece of legislation. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mrs. feinstein: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, in the last few years i have watched attempt after attempt to restrict a woman's right to
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choose. this legislation bans a woman's access to abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the risk to her health, and it weakens protections for women who are victims of rape and incest. it would allow for criminal prosecution of doctors and nurses who provide health care to a woman in these most difficult circumstances. for years we've seen politicians at the federal and state level push to limit a woman's access to reproductive health care. the goal is to completely eviscerate this right. from 2010 to 2016, states adopted 334 restrictions on women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care. these include laws that require mandatory waiting periods which
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have no medical basis, force doctors to give patients inaccurate medical information, restrict access to contraceptives and in just one year the trump administration has attempted to restrict women's access to birth control, attempted to defund planned parenthood, supported legislation to dismantle the affordable care act and its protections for women's health, and created new government offices to undermine women's health care, and nominated judges who openly oppose women's privacy rights under roe v. wade. this bill is yet another attempt to harm women by criminalizing their health care, even threatening the doctors who care for them with years in prison. think of a pregnant woman who's planning for her family's future
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and then something goes terribly wrong. she's experiencing a miscarriage. this happens to women every day. it's not just scary. medically it's extremely painful and emotional. under this bill, a woman's health is put at risk and her doctor could be threatened with criminal prosecution. if a woman's miscarriage hasn't completed, her health could rapidly deteriorate from fever and infection. if this bill passes and a woman goes to a hospital, no doctor could help her, because under this legislation there is no exception to protecting women's health. none. only a doctor can be certain that a woman is close to death and they could legally intervene. and that, i think, is
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unconscionable. i've heard from women in california who were thrilled to be pregnant only to receive the devastating news that their babies had fatal anomalies and would not survive. let me give you an example. one person from northern california -- and let me quote her. our baby's heart was severely deformed. he was missing parts of his brain and his lungs likely would not have supported him breathing on his own ever. we found all of this out at 19 1/2 weeks. if we were a few days late under this bill, we would have been forced to carry our baby to term only to have him suffer for a few minutes, days, maybe weeks, but then die. families dealing with situations like rosalee deserve compassion and support for this situation, but instead this legislation
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leaves them with no options. last congress at a judiciary committee hearing we heard from christie zinc who learned late in her pregnancy that her baby was missing the central connecting structure of the two parts of his brain. she told us in public testimony, and i quote, at no point in this decision and the resulting medical care would the sort of political interference under consideration have helped me or my family. what happened to me during pregnancy can happen to any woman. this bill is not only harmful to women like rosalee and christie, it's unconstitutional and it violates roe v. wade. look at the challenges to two states that enacted 20-week
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bans: arizona and idaho. both were struck down at the circuit court level as unconstitutional. let me read that again. two states -- arizona and idaho -- with this legislation, it was struck down at the circuit court level as unconstitutional. the supreme court refused to review arizona's case. idaho didn't appeal. it's also important to point out that this bill weakens protections for women who have been victims of rape or incest. rape victims would no longer be able to access health care unless they could show proof that they received medical treatment or counseling for the rape or reported the assault to law enforcement. i find this shocking. think of a young girl who's a victim of sex trafficking.
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she's beaten, she's imprisoned, she's raped by multiple men each night. she gets pregnant. this law would require this rape victim to go to law enforcement or a government official to access medical care. these girls don't have control over their own bodies. they have no freedom. to deny medical care to rape and incest victims because they don't have the right paperwork or have not reported their assault to police is unworkable and, i believe, cruel. it's deeply troubling that we're using valuable floor time for this dangerous bill. the current funding bill expires in ten days, and we still don't have a legislative solution for dreamers. that's what we should be taking up right now. instead republicans have chosen
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to spend the senate's time trying to turn back the clock, debating on legislation that would drive us back to pre-roe v. wade. i remember those days. i know what it was like. we knew then and we know today that banning abortion does not end it. it just means that women undergo unsafe procedures and lives are lost. it's 2018. women are more than half the population of this country. we run fortune 500 companies. we're leaders in our government. we're the heads of households. the constitution of the united states guarantees our right to privacy and our right to access reproductive health care. i for one will not see these rights skreupd -- stripped away.
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thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: i'd ask unanimous consent to be able to complete my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. graham: i want to thank my colleagues on this side of the aisle who have joined in this debate in having your voices heard. you're on the right side of history. you're where america will be. it's just a matter of time until we get there. to my colleagues on the other side, i appreciate your passion, but i think you're on the wrong side of history. what are we trying to do here today? we're trying to proceed to a bill. it's called a motion to proceed. but i think what we're trying to do is proceed to a better america. we're one of seven nations on the entire planet that allow abortion on demand at 20 weeks. that's the fifth month of pregnancy. what do we know about unborn children at that stage of development? we know for a doctor to operate on the unborn child they provide
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anesthesia because it hurts the child and no doctor wants to hurt the child in an effort to save the child's life. listen to what i said. medical practice dictates that if you're going to operate on a 20-week-old unborn child, you provide anesthesia because science tells us that the baby can feel pain. can you only imagine the pain you feel from an abortion? there's a reason there's only seven countries in the world that allow this. the question for america is do we want to stay in this club or do we want to get out? i want out. 20 states have aversion to this bill and more taking up as i speak. pro-choice people, when informed of what we're trying to do, the majority support this. abortion is a divisive issue. it's an emotional issue. but in the fifth month of pregnancy, i think most americans are going to side with what we're trying to do. stopping abortion on demand in the fifth month. does that make us a better nation?
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i would say it does not. so we're trying to proceed to make sure that america will be a better place, that we become part of the mainstream of the world when it comes to protecting unborn children in the fifth month of pregnancy. if you look at a medical encyclopedia, read about the birthing process, parents are encouraged in the fifth month to sing to their child because the child can begin to associate your voice with you. there's all kinds of literature of what you should do at the fifth month to enhance the relationship between you and your unborn child. we do allow exceptions to save the life of the mother. that's a terrible situation, we have to pick between the mother and the child. there is an exception for that situation. result of rape or incest if the child was a minor. when it comes to a pregnancy caused by rape, it would require
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that the law enforcement authorities be notified of the rape before the abortion, not at the time it occurred. and i think most americans would want to encourage people to come forward and report rape. it's a difficult situation. but we have commonsense exceptions, and this is a commonsense bill designed to change america in a commonsense way. it's a motion to proceed to put us in better standing as a nation with the world at large, i believe. it's also a motion to withdraw, to withdraw from a club of seven nations that allow abortion on demand at a time when doctors can save the baby's life. but to do so, they have to provide anesthesia because that baby feels so much pain. savannah duke is a young lady in south carolina. she's 17 years old. she goes to spartanburg. she goes to high school in spartanburg, south carolina.
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she does all the things that a 17-year-old would do. she's a very incredibly gifted young lady. at 20 weeks it was discovered that she is missing a leg and the doctors feared she would have severe birth defects. and her parents, wendy and scott, were deciding what to do. they could see the baby move, and they decided not to opt for an abortion. and she's in high school today. there's micah from iowa. you probably heard from senator ernst who's been a stalwart on this issue, was born at 20 weeks and is alive today to tell about it. this is not about medical liability, mr. president. roe v. wade says there's a compelling state interest to protect the unborn at medical viability. i would argue that the difference between medical viability in 1973 and 2018 is enormous. what we're trying do is provide a new theory to protect the
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unborn, and it goes something like this. can a legislative body prohibit an abortion on demand at a time science tells us the baby feels excruciating pain? at a time science tells us the parents should sing to their child. at a time science tells us that this baby has well-connected tissue and can feel pain, and on occasion people survive. my answer is yes, it is okay for the congress and state legislators to pass laws saying at the fifth month we're going to disallow abortion on demand. there will be exceptions but they'll be rare. there's about 10,000 cases every year that is affected by this law potentially. so what are we trying to do? we're trying to proceed forward to a better day in america. we're trying to get out of a club where there's only six other members. we're trying to reconcile the
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law with science. and to my friends on the other side who talk about science a lot, count me in. science is very important. we should listen to our scientists when it comes to climate change, i do. i'm convinced, climate change is real. you should listen to what doctors tell you about the unborn child in the fifth month. you should listen to what medical science is able to doll to save -- to do to save the child's life. you should listen to the stories of those who have made it at 20 weeks. you should understand that pain is felt by an unborn child in the fifth month and america does not want to be in the club of seven countries that allow abortion on demand. i don't know where the vote will turn out. it's probably going to be short of 60. but to those who believe in this issue, we will be back for another day.
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we're never going to give up until we get america in a better place. a better place, i think, would be having a country that recognizes that in the fifth month of pregnancy, the law will be there for the child because science is on the child's side, that will reconcile our laws to science. we know what science says about a baby in the fifth month. you know what the law says? they can be aborted on demand. i think there's a disconnect not only between science and law, between what's right and where we're at today. i just don't see how this makes us a better nation to continue this practice of allowing babies to be aborted on demand in the fifth month of pregnancy when we know they feel a lot of pain. i just don't see how that makes us a better nation. we'll get there, mr. president,
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with your help and the help of others. the majority of american people want to understand what we're trying to do. there are 20 states that have some version of this. it's just a matter of time until most states will as to this debate, i don't think it's a waste of time. i want to do two things. i want to get out of the club of seven nations that allow abortion on demand of babies that feel pain. i can work on behalf of the dreamers too. i can talk about two things at once. i can talk about getting babies a better spot when it comes to the fifth month of pregnancy and finding a place for dreamers. i think it's odd that somehow you can do one without the other. i want all these dream act kids, young adults now, to stay in the country that they know. they have no other place to go, mr. president. on average they were brought
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here at the age of six, and if you told them to go home, it would be some foreign country. it makes perfect sense to me that we should be trying to find a solution to secure our border and fix a broken immigration system and deal compassionately with millions of young people who, at no fault of their own, have no place to go but america. it also makes sense to me that we can talk about this issue at the same time. that we, as a nation, will rise to the occasion and withdraw from a club where there's only six other nations on the planet who allow a baby to be aborted in the fifth month of pregnancy at a time when that child can felix excruciating -- can feel ex sciewshating pain. i want the law to stop the abortion unless there is a darn
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good reason. our time will come for the dreamers as well as the baby. our time will come. with that, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask that i be allowed to speak on leader time. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with and speak in leader time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. i know we have a vote coming up. today the senate will vote on cloture on the nomination of david stras for the eighth circuit. senator franken opposed this nomination. it's my understanding that the new senator from minnesota, senator smith, intends to vote against his nomination. if judge stras is confirmed, it will mark the first time since 1982 that a circuit court nominee was confirmed without both home state senators returning blue slips in support of a hearing.
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democrat and republican chairs have stuck to the blue slip rule, despite the tensions in this body. so this is a major step back, another way that the majority is slowly gnawing away at the way this body works and making it more and more and more like the house of representatives. it's not a legacy if i were the leader or a member of that party that i would be proud of. tax. so tomorrow president trump will address the nation in his first state of the union. we all look forward to hearing what the president has to say. one thing we can expect is for the president to link any good piece of economic news to the republican tax bill, as the majority leader does most days and did again today. of course, the reality of the republican tax bill is much different than the image painted by the leader's cherry picked
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examples. one of the real examples of the tax bill is the massive give aways to the most powerful and they got the majority of the breaks. individuals, some got increases, some stayed the same, and some will get a little bit. but companies have nounsed multi -- announced multimillion dollar stock buyback programs which benefit wealthy shareholders. according to morgan stanley, 83 are% of analysts said that they would use that money for buybacks and mergers. we will have less competition because this tax bill has given the big corporations money so they could buy other corporations and reduce competition. even though republicans sold it as a job creator, there have been a slew of layoffs in this country just after the tax bill passed.
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wal-mart which made a big deal of what it would do for its workers is laying off 1,000 workers at their headquarters. macy's will cut 5,000 jobs. carrier, a company that the president promised to save is still bleeding jobs. kimberly clark will cut up to 5,500 jobs and their chief financial officer said that the savings from the republican tax bill gave them the flexibility, his word, to make these rubbingses. -- reductions. so the tax bill is actually leading to a whole lot of layoffs. we don't hear that from president trump or the republican colleagues, but it's true. another impact of the tax bill will be felt on tax day when the nation's highest income earners will get an average tax cut of $50,000 while nine million middle-class families will face a tax increase.
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true, bipartisan, deficit-neutral tax reform could have delivered more jobs and better pay for the middle class, but the republicans opted for a partisan bill that rewarded their wealthy donors, big corporations, and the super rich and increased our deficit that our children and grandchildren will have to pay by $1.5 trillion. i don't expect the president or republican leader to mention these facts. i certainly don't think the president will mention them in tt state of the union -- in the state of the unitdown, but -- union. mr. president, when we passed the last extension of government funding, we gave ourselves a lengthy to-do list, pass a budget, provide disaster aid, protect the dreamers, negotiate a health care package. we have been talking about this for months without resolution. now is the time to resolve them. we waited too long to full -- fully fund our military, waited
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to long to dedicate money to the opioid crisis, we've wait too long to improve veterans health care that our veterans receive. many are waiting in line still to get treatment. we waited too long that address failing pension plans which are the safety net for so many teamsters, carpenters, miners, people approaching retirement. we waited too long to give the dreamers the peace of mind that they won't be deported by the only country they know. we need to address these issues soon. no more delay. we hope our moderate senators will find a bill on daca and border security that will pass. expanding this beyond daca, beyond border security, as the white house framework tries to do, will only delay a solution to this time sensitive problem. now, my guess to tomorrow's state of the union will
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highlight the urgency of a few issues i mentioned. her name is stephanie kegan. her son died from an opioid overdose. at the time he was suffering from ptsd, his nerves shattered by war. he waited for 16 months for treatment at the v.a. that's a shocking amount of time for a young man who bravely served his country to wait for his country to serve him. daniel died two weeks before he was given his first appointment at v.a. -- at the v.a. so there are many things that can be done to change this situation, mrs. kegan, told me. we can do more to fight the scourge of opioid addiction and help the pensioners who need money, make sure social security works, make sure the kids
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waiting for college or have to pay for college can get there a little easier. so stephanie, being at tomorrow's speech, i hope inspires us to tackle these things. one more topic, the f.b.i. i want to return to a topic i addressed at some length last thursday. the ongoing, scorched earth campaign by the white house, right-wing media, and some republicans in congress to destroy the integrity of the f.b.i. and the investigation into interference in the 2016 election. this scorched earth campaign, ongoing, weakens law enforcement, weakens one of our best agencies, the f.b.i. now, we recently learned that president trump at one point last summer directed the firing of special counsel mueller, what would have been a shocking and
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unambiguous obstruction of justice only to be pulled back. today we learned that deputy director of the f.b.i. andrew mccabe will be stepping down immediately. he has been attacked by the white house relentlessly. and as soon as this evening, the house will vote to release the contents of a secret memo prepared by the republican majority on the house intelligence committee that insinuates the f.b.i. and d.o.j.'s investigation into russia's interference in our elections as politically biased. according to the ranking member of the committee, representative schiff, this memo is full of innuendo, glaring omissions. it presents evidence without context and jumps to unfounded conclusions. we should call it what it truly is -- a slanderous memo of g.o.p. talking points. this is not an erudite study. this is a bunch of talking points to discredit an agency that's doing a good job that we
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all have supported and respected over the years. and if republicans vote to release their memo of partisan talking points tonight, they should also vote to release the memo prepared by ranking member schiff and let everyone judge on the merits. let both memos go forward. that's what's good for the goose is good for the gander. it would be absolute hypocrisy for house republicans to release their memo and not allow representative schiff to release his. and everyone should keep in mind, who is promoting this stuff? who's promoting these right-wing talking points defaming the f.b.i.? none other than russian-linked bots. they are using the hashtag release the memo 100 more times than any other hashtag by kremlin-linked accounts. putin and the kremlin are trying at all times to undermine our democracy through the spread of
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information. what does it say about the republican memo that the kremlin is pushing it? more than they're pushing anything else right now? this pn should wonder whether the house republicans are working harder for putin or for the american people, at least those house republicans that put together this memo. mr. president, this republican talking points memo is part of a pattern of behavior from this white house and their republican allies in congress -- not everybody, just some -- and the media, the hard-right media. they do not welcome the results of special counsel mueller's investigation, so they are trying to smear the investigation and the entire f.b.i. before it concludes. the attacks on the credibility of the f.b.i., we all know agents, we all know how hard they work, how decent they are. the attacks on the credibility
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of the f.b.i. are beyond the pale. they have fueled wild speculation and outright paranoia, talks of coups and deep states and secret societies. it brings shame on the folks propagating this nonsense. but more crucially, it diminishes our great country. when prominent voices in one of our country's two major political parties are outright attacking the f.b.i. and the d.o.j., the pillars of american law enforcement, they are playing right into mr. putin's hands. they are unfairly, dishonestly clouding a crucial investigation into russia's interference in our elections, a matter of most serious concern for every american. it's abhorrent. it must stop. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke
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cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to s. 2311, a bill to protect pain-capable unborn child protection act -- pain-capable unborn children, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to s. 2311, a bill to amend title 18, united states code, protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes, shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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