Cotton Hits House Democrats for Voting for Right to Kill Premature Infants before Birth

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Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 28, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Reuters)

On Wednesday, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Supreme Court’s “shadow docket,” Arkansas GOP senator Tom Cotton blasted House Democrats for voting almost unanimously on September 24 in favor of a bill that would enshrine in federal law a right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy:

Maybe this entire hearing is to distract from the radical law that just passed the House of Representatives last week—the most extreme pro-abortion measure to ever pass the Congress. Now, the Democrats over there, all but one of them whom voted for it, argue that this bill merely codifies Roe v. Wade. Oh, if only that were so, Roe v. Wade though wrongly decided at least acknowledged, at least acknowledged, our people’s legitimate abiding interest to protect innocent life, before a child is born.

The law that passed in the House of Representatives, though, last week allows abortion to occur up until the very moment of birth—40 weeks or even beyond, displaying a grotesque indifference to the most vulnerable kinds of human life.

I remember when my son was in the NICU, it was adorned with photos on the wall matching on the one hand a small child that had been born at 30 weeks or 28 weeks or even 23 weeks, sometime so small it was held in the palm of a doctor. To the picture of that child at age 5 or 7 or 11, riding a bike, performing in a ballet, running through a field of flowers, all of whom would have been subject to the most grotesque and abusive kinds of abortions under the bill the House of Representatives just passed.

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A National Review editorial explained last week how extreme the congressional Democrats abortion bill is: 

H.R. 3755, the deceitfully named Women’s Health Protection Act, would invalidate nearly all state laws limiting and regulating abortion, including many health and safety regulations designed to protect the lives of women.

The legislation is nothing short of an act of barbarism: It would create an absolute right to abort a child before “fetal viability” — that is, according to the Act, when a baby born would likely survive outside the womb — and it would prohibit states from protecting life after viability until birth if a lone “health care provider” determines the “continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk” to the mother’s life or “health.” The bill’s chief sponsor in the Senate has acknowledged the legislation “doesn’t distinguish” between physical and mental health, and the text of the bill explicitly instructs the courts to “liberally” interpret the legislation. There can be no doubt that courts would broadly interpret “health” as Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe, defined health: “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age. . . . All these factors may relate to health.”

Congressional Democrats have for decades introduced bills that would “codify Roe” — the legislation was long-known as the Freedom of Choice Act, but it was renamed and revised as the Women’s Health Protection Act in 2013. Before Friday, however, the legislation had never been put up for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House or Senate. “We haven’t been able to codify [Roe] because we never had a Democratic pro-choice majority with a Democratic president,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Thursday. Pelosi’s claim was transparently false: When Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama took office, they each had Congresses controlled by Democrats who generally supported legalized abortion. Pelosi claimed otherwise to cover up the real reason that the bill never came to the floor for a vote: It was seen as politically poisonous and too extreme for many “pro-choice” Democrats.

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