Videos & Speeches

Mr. President, just a short time ago, the Senate rejected legislation that would promote and protect women's health and protect the lives of unborn children. The legislation introduced by Senator Joni Ernst would deny the Nation's largest abortion provider taxpayer funding and shift that funding to local health organizations to provide necessary health care and medical treatment for women.

This issue arises once more after the release of several undercover videos that successively have become more gruesome than the last. The videos of Planned Parenthood that have been released so far reveal the breadth of institutionalized disregard for human life at its earliest stages.

At the basic level of decency, we are repulsed by these videos because science and reason inform our consciences and lead us to the inescapable conclusion that lives are being ended through this exploitation. If individual organs and tissues can be harvested from aborted babies, it is impossible to make the case that this is not a human life that is being destroyed. Why do we place more value on the parts and the pieces of a human life than the life as a whole?

In one of those videos, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services noted: “We've been very good at getting heart, lung, and liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm going to basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

Another Planned Parenthood official in another video--this one from California--said this:

“It's been years since I talked about compensation, so let me just figure out what others are getting. If this is in the ballpark, it's fine. If it's still low, then we can bump it up. I still want my Lamborghini.”

These words by two different officials in two different settings reflect a view that unborn children are nothing more than a commodity to be exploited and abused and they seemingly would do that for material gain. Is this where we would want our scarce tax dollars to go? In fact, if we had an abundance, is this a place we would want those dollars to go?

Critics contend that the videos are heavily edited. Yet the videos have been released in their entirety and the transcripts of the full conversations have been provided. It is telling that despite full access to what was discussed, these critics have not been able to justify their grotesque practices being described, nor the inappropriate tone adopted with regard to selling tissues and organs of an unborn child.

This isn't news. We have long known of the hundreds of thousands of abortions Planned Parenthood performs each year. If we can only avert our eyes and look the other way, as critics would have us do, we can avoid what is obscene and hugely uncomfortable. That can no longer happen. Light needs to be shed on an organization that destroys human lives while hiding behind the veil of women's health services.

It is alarming that Politico reports that Planned Parenthood's public relations firm is requesting that members of the media refrain from airing the videos that expose the truth of Planned Parenthood practices. We cannot allow atrocities such as this to be swept under the rug because of the power this organization wields.

Kansans have long made it clear they don't want their tax dollars contributing to abortion providers, and I have worked to make their voices heard in Washington. Taxpayers should not fear that their money is going to fund actions they find sincerely and seriously morally wrong. This legislation would prevent taxpayer dollars from funding Planned Parenthood, allowing our taxpayers peace of mind and a sense of morality that their hard-earned money is not facilitating something they abhor.

Instead, S. 1881 would reallocate the funds Planned Parenthood receives through grants back into their communities. The money would go to local health care providers that offer important women's health services, allowing them to care for more women in their communities. By distributing the funds Planned Parenthood currently receives through a grant process to community health centers, we can increase the number of women's health care providers instead of funding a contentious organization that ends life. In fact, in our state, there are two offices of Planned Parenthood, but there are 50 community health centers. It would actually be more available. Women would have more access to health care services if the money was provided through community health centers. We are a rural state and only through that process would many women be able to access this service. Hard-working Americans--our constituents--deserve to have their taxpayer dollars going toward local community centers and county health departments, places that value life instead of destroying it.

Women deserve affordable health care, and it is being provided by a number of organizations that have nothing to do with abortion. We can and should support these health providers and we can and should protect the unborn. We can do both. S. 1881 would be a significant step, an important step, in accomplishing both of those goals, and I believe it should have passed with broad support.

Though I am deeply disappointed by the result of tonight's vote, I remain hopeful for a solution that will advance the life and health of both mother and child. In fact, as science improves our understanding of the unborn and the practices of abortion providers are further exposed, I think a solution will be inevitable.

Unfortunately, that time apparently has not yet come, but I and others will remain focused on this goal. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to act appropriately to do the same.