Senate Democrats didn't look Melissa Ohden in the eye and say they wish she'd never been born. But at today's Judiciary Committee hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, they might as well have. For the first time since they voted to make the killing of newborns legal, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) decided it was time to force the liberals who openly lobbied to destroy lives like Melissa's to sit and hear her story.
"I wake up every single day," Melissa has said, "living with the fact that people somehow want to pass this kind of legislation that would have ended my life." Today, at the "Abortion until Birth" debate, those same people had the opportunity to look into the eyes of a grown woman who wouldn't exist if they had their way. And not even that seemed to change their minds.
Melissa, who, by a series of profound miracles, survived being burned alive for days by a saline abortion, says she's known since age 14 that children just like her are "being subjected to similarly horrific, painful abortion procedures that lead to their death." "I know of 281 others just like me through my work as the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network," she told the committee, although "statistics say the actual number is much higher." Had her birth mom been in a Planned Parenthood -- not a hospital -- she's convinced her life would never have been saved.
"I was blessed to be born alive accidentally at a hospital and to have that nurse willing to rush me off from that room into the NICU, because I do believe if I had been born accidentally at Planned Parenthood or another abortion clinic, they would not have done what they needed to do to get me to a place where medical care would have been provided... I know too much about other people's experiences to believe to know that children like me aren't always provided immediate medical care. I think we try to make ourselves feel good [by believing] that a child must be immediately saved by those professionals at clinics, but that is not the case."
She told a brutal story from 2007, where a child just like her had survived an abortion. The mom, who was only 18 at the time, called 911 from the clinic absolutely panicked about her baby. But by then, it was too late. The child, who was breathing, had already been shoved into "a biohazard bag, where it suffocated to death. The child was then thrown onto top of the building [like trash] and left on the roof..."
As horrifying as that is, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) pointed out that there are 44 U.S. senators who wouldn't do a thing about it. "It's stunning to consider," he said, "that one of our nation's two political parties -- a party that once said abortion should be 'safe, legal, and rare' -- uniformly opposes even minimal protections for babies outside the womb. Babies who, like Miss Ohden, have survived an attempted abortion." The American people understand it, he said, citing overwhelmingly public polling. Even, at one time, he argued, Democrats did. "The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 established that children born following a botched abortion are in fact legal persons for the purposes of federal law. It passed the United States Senate by unanimous consent."
That was then. Now, Democrats like Senator Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) don't bat an eye telling survivors like Melissa to their face that efforts to protect them are "doomed and divisive." Worse, they're a distraction from "issues of health care that really impact children and women." But what exactly does he think late-term abortion is, if not an issue that impacts women and children?
"We hear all of this talk about women's rights," a forceful Melissa said later, "but I beg the question: where were my rights in the womb? Where are the rights of the little girls who are going to lose their lives to abortion every single day? Where are my rights now as a woman who survived an abortion? Where are the rights of my daughters who never would have lived if that abortion had succeeded in ending my life?"
In the eyes of the new Democratic party, the answer is simple: they don't exist.
At a press conference after the hearing, FRC's Patrina Mosley joined members of Congress and other pro-life leaders to call for end to the bloodshed. Under the Pain-Capable bill, America would outlaw abortion when science tells us babies can feel pain: 20 weeks. It also includes born-alive protections if a child like Melissa survives.
"Abortion is the greatest human rights violation of our time, and for such a gruesome death to be called 'healthcare' is only dubious marketing from the elite and powerful to accomplish their eugenic purposes," Patrina argued. "The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will not only protect innocent lives from an excruciating death but remind Americans how evil and violent abortion is. With science affirming what we already know to be the right thing to do, it's time we put that knowledge to further use and pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act."
Join us in sending that message to Democrats by supporting FRC's End Birth Day Abortion campaign. Send a newborn hat to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and remind her that babies should be welcomed into life with warmth!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.