Hire More Heroes Act of 2014—Motion to Proceed—Continuedby Senator Richard Blumenthal
Posted on 2014-05-13
BLUMENTHAL. Thank you, Mr. President.
Reserving my right to object, and I will object, I respect my friend and colleague from South Carolina. We are friends, and we agree on a lot of issues.
[[Page S2936]] On this issue we fundamentally disagree.
I am here to remind the American people and my colleagues that this proposal to ban abortion after 20 weeks, in my view, is irresponsible and should not be before the Senate. But I am more than happy to cast a vote on it, along with the Women's Health Protection Act, and I hope they will be considered. This issue deserves to be before this body.
Neither of these proposals has yet been considered in committee. The minority leader of this body has recently spoken about the need for ``a vigorous committee process'' in handling bills. This bill should not be considered in this way.
This bill would prohibit the medical profession from performing an abortion when a fetus is older than 20 weeks and would do nothing, frankly, to help women protect their health and the health of their families as well as their right to have control over their health care needs. This bill leaves the vast majority of women who may need an abortion for health reasons after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no options, and it punishes doctors with up to 5 years in prison for providing a service that the doctor believes in his or her professional medical opinion is best for the woman and her family. Our constitutional right to privacy tells us unequivocally and emphatically that these choices should be between the doctor and her family or her advisers, including her clergy.
The proponents of this bill would have us believe the bill would reduce the number of abortions in this country. In fact, the statistic that matters in this debate shows there are a mere 1.5 percent of abortions that occur 20 weeks after conception, and the majority of these medical procedures occur due to a health issue that would put the fetus or mother or both at risk.
Take for example a young woman I am going to call Laura. She is a young mother from Connecticut. She became ill at 22 weeks into her first pregnancy with early onset of severe preeclampsia. Laura's blood pressure rose dangerously, her kidneys stopped, and she was at risk. Her pregnancy was wanted. She wanted a baby and she planned for it, but she needed to end it to protect her health. Her physician was able to provide her with a timely and safe abortion. Although Laura felt a future pregnancy would be too risky, she went on to adopt three children.
Facing such severe medical risk, women such as Laura need the safest care modern medicine can offer. With all due respect, Senator Graham's bill ignores the health realities of women, the realities they face every day in Connecticut and around the country. Had this bill been law, a doctor would have had to wait for Laura to be facing death before protecting her with the abortion she needed.
The Women's Health Protection Act would put women's rights first. The Women's Health Protection Act seeks full and thorough consideration of these issues, and I seek it through the regular order. Let's have hearings, let's consider these measures in committee, and let's bring them to the floor in a way that they can be debated insightfully and thoughtfully, not this way. The Women's Health Protection Act protects a woman's health and her ability to make her own decisions and her constitutional rights.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is heard.