Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday to ask a simple question: Is that a baby?
“That face, that nose, those two eyes, that mouth, that chin, those fingers—is that a baby? That’s really the only question,” the Senator explained while pointing to a series of images set up on the Senate floor.
His speech comes ahead of the annual virtual March for Life this week. Lankford said America can no longer ignore the question of whether a child in the womb is in fact a human baby.
He shared his “shock” at some of the work the current nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, has done to actually promote and allow abortions of the most vulnerable humans among us.
And he encouraged those attending the March for Life virtually this year to continue to speak up for the lives of the unborn.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF SEN. LANKFORD’S REMARKS:
If you buy a new GM car, a Nissan, Honda, Kia or Toyota, even a Hyundai. You’ll notice they started installing a new feature in their cars. It’s a reminder when you turn off your engine to check your back seat. Quite frankly, I rented a car not long ago, and it started dinging, and I tried to figure out what I had done. I kept looking around until I saw the little monitor on the dashboard, and it said check the back seat, which I thought was great. Because the makers of those cars all believe every child is precious, and they shouldn’t be harmed.
We’ve all heard stories like this, but I distinctly remember last summer seeing in the news the story about an infant who died because they were left in a hot car. That’s why these carmakers are making this feature now. I remember as I saw the story on the news and just the reports and how angry people were in the community, and they were angry at the store and they were upset on the news. And they couldn’t believe that a mom had left a child in the back seat of a car, and they had slowly died in the heat, because no one wants to see a child harmed. Everyone believes that every child is precious. But I remember when I saw the story on the news last summer, I remember turning to my wife and saying, ‘I can’t figure out our culture sometimes, because that same mom and that same baby could have gone into an abortion clinic just a few months before, and that child’s life could have ended, and it wouldn’t have made the news. In fact, no one would have flinched.’ In fact, the very same people that were furious at that mom for leaving her child in a hot car to die would have argued for her right to destroy that exact same child, and in fact would have called it her reproductive right or even the new euphemism out there reproductive ‘care.’ Same child, same mom, nothing was different but a few months in time.
Reproductive care seems like such a nice little euphemism, but what it really means is paying someone in a clinic to reach into the womb with a surgical instrument to pull the arms and legs off of a child in the womb so that they will bleed to death in the womb and then suction out the little boy or girl’s body parts one at a time. That’s what reproductive care means. And I don’t understand why that’s normal, but leaving a child in the back seat of a hot car is a tragedy. Maybe it’s because as a nation, some people are afraid to answer the most obvious question: is that a baby? That’s the most obvious question. That face, that nose, those two eyes, that mouth, that chin, those fingers—is that a baby?
That’s really the only question. Is that a child?
Maybe there’s a second question that needs to be answered: are all children valuable, or are only some children valuable? We seem to have a great deal of debate today in our society—and we should—about facts. People say we can’t seem to agree on the same set of facts and truth. You can’t have your facts and my facts. We just only have facts. The media, big tech, activists have all decried of our loss of our ability as a nation to just accept clear facts in front of our face. The obvious truth.
So let me ask a question again: is that a baby? Yes or no?
Because if we’re all supposed to say let’s at least agree to the most basic of facts, how about that one? Is that a human child with a future and a purpose and a name? Are all children valuable, or are only some? Gold is valuable. It doesn’t matter its size. I have gold in my wedding ring. Many people have gold in their wedding rings. If we found a small piece of gold on the floor, it would be valuable. It wouldn’t matter its shape, wouldn’t matter its size, small or large. We don’t discriminate. Gold is valuable because everyone recognizes its worth. Every single senator in this room recognizes the value of gold. It’s around $1,800 an ounce right now to get gold. No matter how small gold is valuable, but we can’t seem to agree that all children is valuable. Literally gold is more precious to some people in this room than children are. Children aren’t valuable only sometimes, or only certain children. Children are valuable. It can’t be just if a mom or dad wants a child they’re valuable, and if they don’t want a child, they’re not valuable, they’re disposable. The mom or dad gets to choose who’s precious and who’s medical waste.
Is that a child? That’s really the only question that has to be answered, because everything else flows from that.
There are political conversations in this room about the value of children, and every time it comes up, it gets noisy. People will say, ‘Well, you don’t fund enough money for education or child care or health care in communities, so you don’t love children.’ I would say I voted for the exact same bill you did last year for billions of dollars for assistance in child care, billions of dollars for early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education. We did additional assistance for SNAP benefits last year and assistance of benefits of moms in need, increased health care for all communities, for federally qualified health centers to make sure we get health care to every single community. I voted on those exact same things multiple other people did in this room. I care about children outside the womb.
But those questions really aren’t the question. They are distractions to the question, and I get it. Because if I ask: is that a child, people respond, ‘Well do you spend enough for child care or health care?’ And I still say, “Stop, answer my first question. Is that a child?’ Maybe I should ask a more basic question: does everyone in this room believe in the principle we should do unto others as we would want done unto us? What would you want done to you when you were in the womb?
Listen, I don’t want to address this issue lightly. This is a difficult issue for some people. I don’t think an abortion is a flippant thing that anyone walks into an abortion. I don’t meet anyone that had an abortion is somehow gleeful about it. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine that anyone who had an abortion would ever forget the sights and the sounds and the smells of an abortion. Knowing that a helpless child is dying at that moment. I grieve for moms and dads who will never, ever forget that they went into a clinic and paid someone to get rid of their child in the name of ‘reproductive care.’ I can’t imagine what their emotion is. But we as a society have to answer this question still for every child that is yet to come.
Forty-eight years ago this week, the Supreme Court made a decision that has now resulted in the death of 62 million children in America—sixty-two million. That is hard to fathom. And like so many other Supreme Court decisions, America has not forgotten about this one. Our culture has not just moved on and accepted it. Every year since 1974, the first year after the Roe v. Wade decision, individuals from across the country have gathered in Washington, DC, in defense of the unborn. Friends, families, church leaders, community folks, they have all marched in the rain, the sleet, the snow. It’s cold every year this week in January. But they come. This year will be different due to COVID-19 and the ongoing security concerns in Washington, DC, marchers are staying home, and they are engaging virtually. Maybe this is one more moment where even more people can get involved online because I expect the rally this year will draw an even larger number of people. Students and families and people, quite frankly, from all over the world, just to ask a question is on the motion: will we recognize the most obvious thing in front of our face? That’s a baby.
President Biden this week celebrated the passage of Roe v. Wade by declaring that he wants to pass a federal law requiring abortion to be provided in every single state in America. Not just trust a court decision from 1973. He wants us to proactively require in statute that every state demands abortion in their state. And that the federal taxpayers with hard-earned tax dollars should actually be required to pay for those abortions all over America. It wasn’t long ago that Senator Biden was saying things like ‘taxpayers shouldn’t be required to pay for abortion. They shouldn’t be required to pay for something that they find so morally objectionable.’ It wasn’t that long ago, Senator Biden was talking about abortion being safe, legal, and rare.
Now as president, within the first week, he’s moving as fast as he can to promote abortion and demand taxpayers pay for it. In fact, painfully so, President Biden’s nomination for the Secretary of Health and Human Services has actually no health care experience at all. It’s a little surprising to a lot of us when we saw it because we are used to seeing the leader of Health and Human Services be a physician or scientist. Which would make sense in the time of enormous global pandemic to have a physician leading health and human services, but he actually nominated someone that his biggest qualification is he is one of the most radical advocates for abortion in the country. He did as a House member. He did as an attorney general in California. And clearly, the promise was made he’ll do it if you put him into Health and Human Services.
Let me just give you an example of what I am talking about for Mr. Becerra. I just, I can’t process some of these things. Mr. Becerra, when he was the Attorney General for California, actually went to Mississippi to be able to lead a suit against Mississippi, another state, obviously, because that state was talking about limiting abortions, only the earliest days of abortion. Their belief was after a child feels pain, we should at least not tear a child limb from limb in the womb when their nervous system is developed. Mr. Becerra led a coalition of state attorneys general to fight Mississippi and say, ‘You can’t protect children that way.’ He actually argued before the United States Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit against the Little Sisters of the Poor, trying to require that group of nuns to provide birth control services so the group of nuns literally attacking the Little Sisters of the Poor to kind of push this whole agenda.
When he was a Representative in the House of Representatives, he voted against the Born-alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act so if a child is in a botched abortion, is actually delivered instead of destroyed, he wanted to say, ‘No, even after they are fully delivered, that child can still be destroyed, even though they are fully delivered,’ which would make sense because he also, as a representative, fought against the partial-birth abortion ban. The procedure where they would—it was a rare procedure but it was a procedure—where they would deliver the child all but the head, and then penetrate the head with scissors and kill the child. He fought against that.
He fought against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which really is odd to me. All it did was criminalize if someone attacked a pregnant woman and killed her child, they could also be liable for that death as well. He also didn’t want to recognize the child as a child, even if the mother saw the child as a child. He also fought against crossing state lines for minors and saying they shouldn’t have to get parents’ permission if they cross state lines to go get an abortion somewhere else.
As the Attorney General in California, he fought to require churches to pay for abortion care in their health care plans when it directly violated their religious belief. Unbelievably so, he also fought to be able to require pro-life medical clinics where you could go and say, ‘I don’t want an abortion, but I do want a sonogram. I want to be able to get some more information about this child.’ If you went into one of those pro-life centers and got a sonogram, he fought to require there to be a poster on the wall that would say, ‘If you would rather have an abortion, here’s the place that you would go.’ Now, this is beyond just protecting abortion. That has moved to promoting abortion, encouraging the death of children.
It got even so bizarre that in California, when there was a video taken of a Planned Parenthood group of folks that were trafficking the body parts of children and it was caught on video, instead of confronting the folks that were trafficking the child body parts, he went after the folks that took the video, the whistleblowers, and exposed them. I have to tell you, this is not an attack on Mr. Becerra. It’s just a shock to me that all of those things seem normal. I don’t understand that, culturally. I don’t understand how the person who is being appointed to lead Health and Human Services can say that children are sub human. I don’t have to recognize that as human, though I’m leading Health and Human Services. That’s apparently optional tissue, not a human child. I believe that children are human. We should honor every child’s life.
It should be baseline for us to be able to say, ‘If a child is actually delivered in a botched abortion and had been fully delivered outside the womb, we should help that child get medical care.’ I don’t understand why that’s so hard.
I don’t understand why it’s so hard to say, ‘Some people are absolutely appalled by the taking of a child’s life. Don’t force them with their tax dollars to pay for it.’ I don’t understand why that’s controversial.
I don’t understand why it’s controversial that when a child can feel pain in the womb, that we shouldn’t dismember a child in the womb. I don’t understand why that’s controversial.
I don’t understand why it’s controversial to some that if a health care provider who has sworn to protect life, that that person shouldn’t be compelled to take life in an abortion procedure by their employer. I don’t understand why that’s controversial. But for some reason, it is.
Among our most basic rights in America, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, one of the most basic things that come out of our founding documents is these things are referred to as self-evident. Facts are facts, especially when those facts have a face. How can you look at that picture and say, ‘That’s not a human child?’ How can we not acknowledge the simple facts? Now, I do understand for some people, this is very difficult because they fought for years for abortion, and they don’t want that to change, because if it changes, they would have to admit there have been deaths of millions of children on their watch. That is not a simple thing to admit. But please do not tell me you’re following the science. Because that child has ten fingers and ten toes and a beating heart and a functioning nervous system. That child has DNA that’s different than the mom or the dad. That’s not random tissue. That is a separate person, and science would confirm that, so please don’t tell me you follow the science wherever it goes, because some facts are obvious. And the science is clear.
And this all gets resolved when we answer one simple question: is that a child or not? Because everything else goes from that.
For those of you joining the March for Life online this week, good for you. Keep going. Don’t give up. Defend the facts that are self-evident. Speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves because millions of future Americans are counting on it. And they’re watching for someone to admit the facts, the facts that have a face.