Click here to watch Thune’s speech.
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the Democrats’ refusal to recognize the rights of the unborn. Senate Republicans will continue to stand up for what’s right and fight on behalf of unborn children. Thune also recognized the tens of thousands of pro-life Americans, including those from South Dakota, who marched in January to advocate for the hundreds of thousands of babies that are killed by abortion each year in this country.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, on January 24, tens of thousands of pro-life Americans filled the streets of Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t come down to the floor to talk about the March because the Senate was tied up with the impeachment trial – although I did get to meet with some great marchers from Rapid City.
“But now that the floor is open again, I wanted to come down to recognize this year’s marchers – including those from my home state of South Dakota – and talk about why they march.
“Mr. President, every year in this country, hundreds of thousands of babies are killed by abortion.
“Hundreds of thousands.
“That’s not some number the pro-life movement has cooked up.
“That’s straight from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood, which reports, and I quote, “Approximately 862,320 abortions were performed in 2017.”
“Most of us can’t even fathom what a number that big looks like.
“But that’s a lot of babies.
“Because, of course, that’s what we’re talking about.
“Proponents of abortion try to deny the humanity of the unborn child.
“But science and ultrasounds and common sense all make it very clear that when we talk about unborn children, we’re talking about human beings, with their own fingerprints and their own DNA.
“And human beings, Mr. President, deserve to be protected.
“Even when they’re small and weak and vulnerable.
“Especially when they’re small and weak and vulnerable.
“Mr. President, stick around politics long enough, and you’re sure to hear someone talking about the importance of being on the right side of history.
“It’s a common trope, but it’s no less true for that.
“The truth is, we should think about being on the right side of history.
“When people look back at us, we want to be remembered for standing up for what’s right – not for going along with injustice.
“Abortion repeats a tired pattern.
“One group of people or society decides that another group of people is less valuable.
“They advance plausible-sounding reasons why it’s legitimate to deprive these people of their human rights.
“And for various reasons, people in that society go along with it.
“It’s a story that has been repeated too many times.
“And the judgment of history never looks kindly on these societies.
“Mr. President, the United States was founded to safeguard human rights.
“We haven’t always lived up to that promise, but we’ve never stopped trying.
“And it’s time for America to start standing up for the rights of unborn humans.
“Last week, in his State of the Union address, the president called for a ban on late-term abortions.
“In 2016, somewhere around 11,000 babies were aborted at or after the 21-week mark in pregnancy.
“In one year.
“That’s a lot of babies.
“As neonatal science advances, we’ve been able to save babies born at earlier and earlier stages of pregnancy.
“Babies have survived after being born at 25 weeks.
“At 24 weeks.
“At 23 weeks.
“And, like Ellie Schneider, who attended the State of the Union Address with her mom, at 21 weeks.
“And yet in this country, it is legal to kill babies at 40 weeks, right up until the very last moment of pregnancy.
“Mr. President, that makes no sense.
“How can a child be born at 23 weeks and be regarded as a human being deserving of care, and yet an unborn child who is that very same age is regarded as less than human?
“The moment of birth does not magically confer humanity.
“And yet our law acts as if it does.
“Mr. President, I’d like to think that a bill to ban late-term abortions, like the president proposed, would be a no-brainer here in Congress.
“At the very, very least, we should all be able to agree that we shouldn’t be aborting babies who can live outside their mothers.
“But unfortunately abortion extremism has grown to such an extent in the Democrat Party that leading Democrats – including a Democrat presidential candidate – have not only ruled out banning late-term abortions, they’ve actually refused to rule out infanticide.
“Last year, after the Democrat governor of Virginia implicitly endorsed infanticide, the Senate took up legislation that simply stated that a baby born alive in an abortion clinic is entitled to the same protection and medical care that a baby born in a hospital is entitled to.
“And 44 Democrats – almost the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate – voted against the legislation.
“It was a grim day for human decency and for human rights.
“But, Mr. President, for all that we have a long way to go to protect unborn babies in this country, I remain hopeful.
“And I am never more hopeful than when I see tens of thousands of Americans – so many of them young people – descend on our nation’s capital every year to march for life.
“We may not win this battle today, or tomorrow – but we are turning the tide.
“‘The arc of the moral universe is long,’ but I believe that it does ‘bend toward justice.’
“And in the end, right will prevail.
“And I look forward to the day when every child, born and unborn, is protected.”
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