Lankford Calls on Democrat Colleagues to Pass Commonsense Bills Protecting Women’s Health and Affirming Life

CLICK HERE to view the remarks on YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), chair of the Senate Values Action Team, led his colleagues in a floor event to ask for unanimous consent to pass commonsense bills that protect women’s health and affirm life. This floor event comes ahead of the two-year anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade

During the floor event, Lankford sounded the alarm on the Biden Administration’s refusal to enforce conscience protections and stressed the importance of the Conscience Protection Act to protect health care providers and insurance plans from government discrimination if they decline to participate in abortions. His request for the Conscience Protection Act to pass by unanimous consent was blocked by Democrats.

Senators John Thune (R-SD), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, Katie Britt (R-AL), and John Cornyn (R-TX) also joined Lankford’s floor event to ask for unanimous consent on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection ActReproductive Empowerment and Support through Optimal Restoration (RESTORE) Act,and More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed (MOMS) Act. Senate Democrats blocked each bill.


LANKFORD: Mr. President, my guess is if I went to every person in this room, every page, every person sitting in the gallery, every Senator, and I pointed to this image and said, what do you see there? My guess is every person in this room would go, well, that’s a baby. That’s my guess. I mean, I haven’t asked every person here, but my guess is every person would look at it and they would go, well, that’s a sonogram of a baby. So, what I would say looks like a child to me.

So, the interesting thing in America is the next question is, should it live or die?

The first question is pretty obvious. That’s a baby. The second question is should it live or die? That one in America is not quite so obvious anymore.

You know, what’s interesting is I have two daughters. They’re amazing, remarkable, beautiful women. They’re adults now. But I distinctly remember that pregnancy test. And seeing those little lines on that test for my wife and I, looking at each other with excitement. I distinctly remember talking to friends and her parents and other folks saying that we were pregnant. As we shared our story. I don’t remember a single person saying to me, ‘well, you’re pregnant. What are you going to do with it? Are they going to live or die?’ No one asked us that. No one asked us. Is it really a baby or is that just a fetus? No one said you just had tissue. They asked us questions like: Had we thought of a name? Have you figured out how to install the car seat yet? Those are the questions they asked us. Because every person we talked to and every person that we shared we were pregnant with all acknowledged that reality that that’s a baby.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled what’s now called the Dobbs decision. It took away the Roe v Wade decision that mandated that abortion had to be everywhere in the country and took it back to where it was for the first 180 years or so of our country, when the law was the rules about abortion were handled in each state.

That’s all it did. It didn’t end abortion in America. We still have abortion in America in very high numbers. But the decisions of how that’s done was not done by a Supreme Courtit’s done by legislators. That is, as it always had been, and that’s what the Court said. So, this is now going back to the people and the people’s representatives on all levels. And so the debate is, again, scattered across the entire country now. And the debate is very simply over. Is that a child? And if it is a child, what should happen to it? 

Now, I have to tell you, that baby’s not mine. But she’s really cute. I look at a baby like that. My daughters both slept in that same position, which we as parents called the touchdown position, where they had both had their hands up over their heads. And I’m amazed at this picture of this sonogram to see that infant in the womb in that exact same position asleep. And I think the only difference between this child in the womb sleeping with her head, hands over her head and this child is time.

That’s it.

That baby’s as much of a baby, as that baby’s is a baby. There’s no difference there other than time. So, we debate, and we talk about this very complicated question. When is a child valuable and when is a child medical waste? When’s a child valuable and when’s the child disposable? And we as Americans are grappling with that issue.

And the issue about when that child is a child really comes down to preference and convenience and to determine, is the child convenient? If they’re convenient, then they’re a child. If they’re not convenient, they’re disposable. If two ladies are walking down the same street, both of them, let’s say 18 weeks pregnant, those two ladies on opposite side of the street, one of them steps into her workplace and into a baby shower. And the folks at work are going to talk about how to install a car seat. They’re going to talk about where are you going to set up the crib, and they’re going to talk about baby names, and they’re gonna talk about all the expenses and things. And the person on the other side of the street, also 18 weeks pregnant, is headed to get a surgical abortion. And so I ask the question of those two children. What’s the difference between those two children? Both at 18 weeks of development. One of them is being celebrated and prepared for. And one of them will be disposed of.

What’s the difference between the two?

We as Americans are trying to figure out the answer to that exact question. And the conversations happening all over the country. I get it. It’s a fair conversation. When is a child a child? Or when are they not a child?

Well, under this Administration, this Administration has by far been the most pro-abortion Administration ever in the history of the country. And that’s not just an opinion. That’s just the actions of the Administration. That’s just been the response to the Dobbs decision. This Administration was so disturbed that we might have fewer abortions in America, that the Biden Administration has aggressively worked to increase the number of abortions in America, to offset the possibility that there could be fewer abortions because they didn’t want to see fewer abortions in America. They want to see as many or more.

So, the Biden Administration opened up for the first time, VA hospitals to provide abortions, even late term abortions, even up to the very final months of a viable child, that VA clinics would be the first VA hospitals to be the first time to be able to provide abortions, but they’re withholding funds for pregnancy resource centers. Now, these are the centers that they really hate the most. These are pregnancy resource centers that are around the country that offer crazy things like diapers and formula, and support for pregnant moms… Moms walk in and say, hey, ‘I’m really struggling with my pregnancy, and I’m afraid’ that they say, we’ll walk with you. We’ll counsel you, we’ll give you free materials, will help provide diapers and baby clothes and a car seat. And we’ll walk along with you so you don’t have to be afraid and alone.’ Biden Administration really hates those folks. So, they’re withholding funds from any grants going to those folks where they have received grants in the past.

HHS is now paying to move people that illegally cross our southern border to places, even teenagers, places where they can get abortions, and we have federal dollars going to be able to move people to make sure that those people that illegally cross our border, that want access to abortion, to be able to get it.

It’s been frustrating to be able to watch, even in my state, and my state has chosen to say, we think every child is valuable. We look at these two girls and we see them just a couple of weeks apart, but we see them both as young girls. Kind of state the obvious, but my state, because we don’t allow abortion and promote abortion. Health and Human Services has now stripped away grant dollars from my state for one reason. Health and Human Services came to my state and said, ‘if you don’t put a 1-800 number on all of your health care materials coming from the state telling women where they can get an abortion, we will take away your federal funding. If you don’t show and give 1-800 numberwhere you can get an abortion, we’ll take away your grant funding. And they didn’t take away just any grant funding because, by the way, my state said we’re not going to do that. So, the grant funding they took away from my state was for impoverished women to get cancer screenings and for AIDS patients to get testing. They took that funding away, saying, we will not allow any federal dollars coming into your state for AIDS testing and for cancer screening for impoverished women if you don’t promote abortion in your state. They were serious. So they did it. Because this Administration is obsessed with increasing the number of abortions in the country and finding ways to be able to expand this and telling people not to look at this picture. 

It’s been a frustrating journey the last couple of years because we seem to be ignoring the obvious, and we’re so tied up here on the politics of this.

Even when Senator Thune brings a bill that says, if a child is born alive after a botched abortion, they’re fully delivered—full-term baby on the table, breathing. What should we do? That’s a pretty commonsense bill. But yeah, my Democratic colleagues have knocked it down today and said, no, that child should not have the opportunity for life.

And Senator Hyde-Smith brings a bill that just says, why don’t we give education to more doctors and more moms about infertility? It doesn’t limit IVF at all. At all. It was like, nope, nope, not going to do that.

When Senator Britt from Alabama brings a bill that says, why don’t we recognize during pregnancy that’s really expensive, and if states have their requirements to do child support for a child—I’ll just say it—for a deadbeat dad that’s not paying its child support. If they walk away at that point, that child support should also cover the time of pregnancy, not just after delivery. That’s pretty common sense because for any mom they know, pregnancy is really expensive. It’s a very expensive time. So child support should begin when that child is there. A commonsense bill that I daresay most Americans would say, well, that makes sense, has been knocked down today.

And I bring one more that I think is pretty commonsense. It is already the law in the United States. That every person has the right to conscience. Health care providers that go into the profession to protect life, to save life, to heal. Many of them also say, I don’t want to be a part of taking human life. I went into this profession to protect life. So, they expressed to their clinics, their hospitals, wherever they serve, that they don’t want to be a part of the taking of human life. They understand it’s happening in their hospital. They just don’t want to be a part of that. They express their conscience issues, by the way, that’s protected in federal law right now that every one of those health care providers has the right to be able to express their conscience and not be required to take human life. The problem is, it requires the federal government to actually step in and enforce that law.

So, let me show you what that looks like. A nurse in Vermont a few years ago, that nurse went into her hospital, as she normally did, as she went into a hospital, went into work as she normally does. She’s a nurse that’s passionate about the life of every person, including children in the womb. And she’d expressed that to the hospital. She got caught as she was going in saying, hey, we need you in the ER right now. She said, no problem. So, she steps into the ER to help with the procedure—gloves up, gets ready and is going to go assist. As she walks in the doctor that’s in the room looks at her and says, ‘don’t hate me.’ And she suddenly says, what’s going on? And realizes she’s been called in to be able to assist with an abortion. She’s already made it clear she doesn’t want to be a part of taking human life. The hospital says, no, we’ll fire you if you don’t help. We need your help. We’re short of staff today. So, you’re going to do this.

A direct violation of federal law. Clearly. No question. Direct. They express it in the operating room. They knew they were violating her conscience. So federal government goes through the process of starting to be able to enforce the law on that hospital until the last presidential election occurred and the last presidential election occurred, the new leadership of HHS stepped in and said, we’re not going to enforce that.

In other words, we’re dropping that case. It would be the equivalent of a police officer walking down the street looking at a burglary that’s happening, knowing that a crime is occurring right there, and just saying, I’m going to choose not to enforce the law today and just walk on by. That’s what’s happening right now. So, the Conscience Protection Act that I bring in does a simple thing.

It says if an employer violates federal law and the federal government chooses not to enforce this, the individual that’s had their conscience violated, that individual has the right to be able to bring a case on their own. This is not controversial. This will not eliminate a single abortion in America. Not one of we will not have one fewer in abortion in America based on this policy.

But what it will do is will say to an American, you’re free to be able to live your conscience without fear of being fired for living your conscience. That’s the only thing that it does. I think that’s pretty straightforward and pretty commonsense of all things that we should be able to agree to in this body. Let’s protect each other’s right to belief and to live their faith.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions be discharged from further consideration of S. 4524 in the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration further that the bill be considered read a third time passed, and the motion to reconsider be considered made laid upon the table.