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Senator Lankford Releases Podcast Discussing Pro-Life Issues

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today released the sixth episode of Lankford’s podcast, The Breakdown with James Lankford. The sixth episode focuses on pro-life issues in our nation, how people can find common ground on ways to support life at all stages of development, and how we can continue to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. During the episode Lankford speaks on life in the womb, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the Hyde Amendment among other pro-life priorities.

Lankford, who serves as chairman of the Senate Values Action Team, has authored or cosponsored numerous pro-life bills throughout his time in Congress. Earlier this week, Lankford spoke on the Senate floor on the value of life. Lankford is an original cosponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which makes permanent the Hyde Amendment and eliminates federal funding for abortions, and the Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act, which would prevent federal tax dollars from funding Planned Parenthood and redirect those dollars to thousands of other eligible women’s healthcare facilities that provide screenings and care but not abortions. Lankford also joined a letter to the Secretary of HHS Alex Azar to help ensure American healthcare consumers are not forced to subsidize abortions through fees on their health insurance under the ACA. Lankford also sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ensure American tax dollars are not being used to lobby for abortion services in Latin American nations.

Excerpts:

On the Carnegie stages:

(Starts at 5:45) Staff: The Carnegie stages of human embryonic development, so that is taught in med schools across the country, and it starts off with stage one, fertilization, and that’s when life begins. So, our medical students know that this is when human life begins, we are not still trying to figure that out. Oftentimes, you hear people say, ‘It’s based off of a religious belief,’ or ‘It’s above their pay grade,’ but it’s not. We can know the origin of our species; we know human life begins upon fertilization. It’s a life sciences question that we are able to understand.

On DNA:

(Starts at 6:44) Lankford: The only difference between that embryo and that fertilized egg with cell division and me right now is time. That used to be me. I was that small. All the things that are in me now, my red hair, my height, my pasty-white skin, all that was built into those initial moments and all developed from there. It is life; it’s cell-division; and we see it that way.

On late-term abortion:

(Starts at 13:56) Lankford: This is an issue about late-term abortion that Americans on the whole agree with. There’s a lot of division, and folks that are still listening to us right now are either listening to us because they agree with us or tuning us out because they’re mad, because they have a different preference. They’re looking away and saying, ‘I don’t want to think about this because I prefer not to,’ but 75 percent of Americans—in the most recent survey that was done—75 percent of Americans do not believe that abortion should be legal in America after 12 weeks. After that three-month time period, that’s where most of the rest of the world is; that’s where most Americans are as well. To say, ‘To get to late-term abortion, if you’re three months down the road and you’ve not made that decision, this child really developing, they’re very viable,’ that’s a whole different thing. By that time, they have a nervous system, a functioning brain. We may argue about life. I believe life begins at conception; other people believe life is at viability; other people believe it’s at birth.

On the Pain-Capable Bill:

(Starts at 15:20) Staff: This was something the Senate considered last year, what was called the ‘Pain Capable Bill,’ unfortunately we didn’t proceed with that bill, it did not get enough votes to continue in the consideration process.

Lankford: That bill was at even later – that was at 20 weeks.

Staff: Yes, that was at 20 weeks, not even 12. That just shows you that it’s not even coming down to a debate of, ‘Is this life, is this not?’ It’s coming down to sort-of a convenience issue of it would be inconvenient for some people to stop an abortion at that time, so, we are going to give that preference to the mom—the parents—as opposed to focusing on the child.

 On the Hyde Amendment:

(Starts at 16:32) Lankford: Another one [common area for Americans to agree on] is if American tax dollars should pay for abortions here in America. That is something that has been in America law for a long time now, called the Hyde Amendment. That says, ‘American tax dollars cannot be used for abortions.’ This is such a divisive issue that compelling Americans in their tax dollars to pay for something that they find morally wrong, ethically wrong, and they hope at some point will be legally wrong, that becomes a really big issue. Americans on the whole agree that we shouldn’t compel other Americans to pay for someone else’s abortion.

Staff: Since 1976 actually, we have been continually adding what’s called the Hyde Amendment to our annual appropriations, but that has even, especially this year, really become, like you said, a point of contention where people want that to be more available, where people want to use federal dollars for abortions.

 On the life in the womb:

(Starts at 20:43) Lankford: There are moments in our history where we look back and are grieved, and I tell you, honestly, I look forward to the day that we stop and pause as a culture, and go, ‘Wait a minute, time-out for a second.’ I know all of what we’re doing, but let’s for a moment pause and look inside the womb at when we can see a 3-D Ultrasound and we can hear the sonogram, heartbeat, when we get a chance to be able to know exactly what’s happening there, and the development of a human being and ask the hard question that no one really wants to ask, not is that a life, and not do I prefer if that’s a life or not, but, is that a life that should be protected? Do we value the life of each individual?

 On areas upon which Americans can agree:

(Starts at 24:34) Lankford: My encouragement in this Breakdown is let’s look at where can we agree. Let’s look at spots like late-term abortion, foreign funding for abortion, taxpayer funding for abortion. Maybe not everybody is not in the same spot I am in, and you’re in, Susan, to say that life begins at conception, but let’s talk about the spots where we do agree and let’s start standing up for those things.                       

The Breakdown with James Lankford is now available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Spotify.

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