Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., delivered an emotional speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday about the recent Planned Parenthood undercover video and their abortion practices to harvest body parts. Lankford also wrote an op-ed on the matter calling for Congress to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and take up the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1553) to ban abortions after 20 weeks. At the time of the speech, Lankford was the only Senator to speak on the floor about the Planned Parenthood video.
You can watch the video of the speech, or read the transcript here:
"Mr. President, I'd like to take just a moment to be able to speak about a subject that's very, very difficult for me to speak about, and quite frankly difficult for a lot of Americans to talk about and hear about. It connects to all of us, in extremely personal ways. Let me set some context. Not long ago a group of animal rights activists gathered around a research facility, a research facility that was using animals for their testing. The activists gathered around the facility and chanted and has signs that they held up saying 'it's not science, it's violence.' And other signs that said 'animal lives are their right, we have just begun to fight.' As they protested to protect the lives of the animals that were being used in that facility for research.
Now, I understand their frustration there. But let me put it into context of some things that came out this week. We learned that this week an organization called Planned Parenthood is using children that are aborted and sending the bodies of those aborted children to research facilities, sometimes for sale, different body parts, to be used in research. These are not mice, these are not lab rats, these are children. Children that have gone through the process of a horrific abortion.
This morning in an Appropriations hearing, that the President and I both were in, we had extensive conversation about the rights of orca whales. And this protracted conversation went on and on, that many people were also connected to, about the rights of orca whales and the care for them. Then we had a protracted conversation about horse slaughter and how horses would be humanely put down. But in the middle of all that conversation happening today, there were children still being aborted with an instrument reaching into a mother, tearing apart a child but carefully protecting certain organs because those organs would be valuable to sell.
Now, the challenge that we have on this as a nation is, the argument is for that baby. That baby's really not a baby, it's just a fetus, it's tissue. That's not a human baby is what everyone is told. That's just tissue and it's up to the mom to determine what happens to that tissue. And then on the flip side of it moments later they take that tissue and then sell it because it's human organs that are needed for research. You can't say in one moment that's not a human and then sell it for the next moment as a human organ and say now suddenly it is. It was a human all the way through. There was never a time that wasn't a child, never a time that wasn't a human, and it seems the ultimate irony to me that we spend time talking about humane treatment of animals being put down like in horse slaughter and we completely miss children being ripped apart in the womb and their body parts being sold.
So here's how it happens. A mom comes into a facility, gives consent to have an abortion, makes that request. After that request is made, to some moms -- and we don't know exactly how they choose which moms -- to some moms they then ask consent for their child after it's aborted to be used for research purposes. From the video that was put out this week, they said that was actually comforting to some moms that they would know how traumatic the abortion is, at least some good would come out of it, that those body parts would then be used for research to hopefully save other children, which again comes back to this ultimate irony that we would literally tear one child apart in an abortion with the assumption that hopefully would help some other child in the future, missing out on the significance of the child that's right there that could be helped by protecting their life.
And then the doctor in this particular video gives the details of how once they get that consent from the mom, they would be careful to reach in and actually crush the head of the child to kill the child in the womb so they could preserve the rest of the organs because the kidney has value, the liver has value, because the lungs have value, because the muscles in the legs have value. I would tell you that child has value. And that every single adult that can hear me right now was once 20 weeks old in the womb and we can look at each other and understand the difference between that child in the womb and any of us now is time. That's a human being we're talking about.
And it doesn't bring me comfort to know that one child is torn apart so that maybe they can do research on the child's organs to in some future moment help a different child. Not every woman is being asked that her aborted child would be used for research and we really don't know the whys. Maybe they're looking for particularly healthy moms. Maybe they're looking for very mature, healthy babies. Maybe it's a situation where a particular mom couldn't afford to have the abortion procedure and so they swap off and say if you can't afford to have the abortion procedure maybe we can cover the cost by then possibly selling some of these organs then. We don't know. But I think maybe the question needs to be asked.
Why this Congress would spend time today debating horse slaughter and debating orca whales, but yet we've become so numb to children that the other debate doesn't seem to come up. Maybe we need to start again as a nation, asking a basic question. If that's a child, and in our Declaration [of Independence] we said every person that we believe is endowed by our Creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, maybe we need to ask as a nation again, do we really believe that?
Let's start with some basic things. How about a child at 20 weeks that we know scientifically can feel pain? We cannot have their limbs ripped apart in an abortion. There are only seven countries in the world that allow that. We're in a prime group like North Korea and China with nations that still allow abortions that late. We should ask that question again – is that really who we are as America? Maybe we need to ask the question again with Planned Parenthood, who we give half a billion dollars in funding to, maybe this is not a good idea. And other organizations that serve people all over the country who raise their funds separately, and don't do it by federal funds. Maybe that's a legitimate question that we need to ask?
Mr. President… we have hard questions to deal with as a Nation. Budget, regulations, future direction that we're going. Why don't we add to the list, do we really care about children or not? And on a day that we passed an education bill, before we pat ourselves on the back saying how much we care about children, let's make sure we're dealing with a compassion for children at every age, not just at certain ages. Have we really become this numb? How do we turn it around? With that I yield back."