Sen. Ben Sasse (File photo: Jim Bourg/Reuters)
On the Senate floor this afternoon, Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) knocked Democratic presidential candidates as they prepare to participate in a “women’s health” forum, hosted this weekend in South Carolina by abortion provider and political-activist group Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood is the country’s largest abortion business. That’s their main staple operation,” Sasse said in his remarks, noting that the group reported performing more than 330,000 abortions last year alone and that Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen admitted that “providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion” is part of the organization’s “core mission.”
Sasse criticized his Democratic colleagues for embracing Planned Parenthood’s hardline stance on abortion: that it ought to be available for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, funded entirely by the U.S. taxpayer. “Today, the radical things that the nation’s largest abortion business wants are basically indistinguishable from the position of almost every Democrat running for president: Abortion — anytime, anywhere, for any reason, for free,” he said.
The Nebraska senator reminded listeners of comments from Virginia governor Ralph Northam suggesting that infants born alive after an attempted abortion procedure could be denied medical care, at least in some circumstances, as well as the fact that Democratic presidential contenders voted against his own bill earlier this session to protect those infants from neglect. This position is morally abhorrent to be sure, but it’s also, as Sasse noted, highly unpopular with the public, including with Democratic voters and with Americans who call themselves pro-choice. More from Sasse’s remarks:
Gallup polling over the last two decades has consistently shown that a majority of Americans are opposed to unrestricted abortion access beyond the first trimester. The Gallup numbers show that well under one-third of Americans support abortion beyond the first trimester. And a new NBC/PBS/Marist poll found that only fully four out of five Americans are opposed to abortion in the third trimester — and that includes a majority of self-identifying pro-choice voters.
In particular, Sasse called out New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand — who is attempting to run for the Democratic presidential nomination but continues to linger at the bottom of the pack — for recent remarks in which she equated being pro-life to being racist. “According to a sitting United States senator, and a candidate for the Democratic nomination to be president of the United States,” Sasse said, quoting Gillibrand’s comments, “holding pro-life views is ‘no longer acceptable.’ It is not a ‘fair’ position, she tells us. It is the ‘moral equivalent’ of ‘racism’ or ‘anti-Semitism.’ Perhaps in the senator’s next interview, my colleague will suggest that pro-life Americans belong in a basket of deplorables.”
He went on to note the historic connection between the abortion industry and the eugenics movement in the U.S. “It’s in part because of this ugly history that black women in America are three-and-a-half times more likely to have an abortion than white women,” he said. “In some parts of Senator Gillibrand’s home state, black children are actually more likely to be aborted than to be carried to term.”
Sasse said Gillibrand’s comments are evidence that Democrats aren’t just out of touch with Americans’ views on abortion, they’re also incapable of talking about ideas at all or engaging with pro-life Americans as human beings:
Slandering pro-life Americans as, in effect, Klan members and Nazis is a way of crushing debate. It’s a way of saying that these people — people like my mom, who prays outside abortion clinics; people like my daughters and my wife, who’ve spent a lot of hours volunteering at a crisis-pregnancy centers; and people like the overwhelming majority of the Nebraskans that I get to represent — . . . are so morally repugnant that they don’t deserve a voice. They don’t deserve to be treated like human beings. They don’t deserve to be engaged in debate. They’re not people that you could possibly have reasonable conversation with them.
“I’d suggest to the Democrats that are heading to South Carolina this weekend that they should spend less time wrestling with each other to say more ridiculously extreme clickbait things for a high propensity primary voter, and they spend more time listening to the voices of their pro-life fellow citizens,” he concluded.
Watch Sasse’s full remarks here: