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Daniel C.
Republican IN

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  • Hire More Heroes Act of 2015—Continued

    by Senator Daniel Coats

    Posted on 2015-07-28

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    COATS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.



    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Planned Parenthood Mr. COATS. Mr. President, in recent weeks, the American people have learned the shocking story of the barbaric practices Planned Parenthood uses to terminate life and to harvest organs of innocent human life. In a video released earlier this month that has gone viral--as it should have--the senior director of medical research at Planned Parenthood explained the process by which she harvests aborted body parts to be provided for medical research. I quote her: We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna to see if I can get it all intact.

    Additional videos have been released--I am told more are to come-- with Planned Parenthood officials discussing the organ harvesting of fetuses. Unborn children. Beating hearts on the sonogram, on the screen. Human beings.

    Despite the stunning impact and outrage of millions of Americans, Planned Parenthood's response to the release of these videos is this: Blame the messenger or the videographer, but let's not address the practice of harvesting aborted body parts.

    Ross Douthat writes for the New York Times. I urge every Senator to read his July 25, 2015, column, entitled ``Looking Away From Abortion.'' Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that this article be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From the New York Times, July 25, 2015] Looking Away From Abortion (By Ross Douthat) In an essay in his 1976 collection, ``Mortal Lessons,'' the physician Richard Selzer describes a strange suburban scene. People go outside in the morning in his neighborhood, after the garbage trucks have passed, and find ``a foreignness upon the pavement,'' a softness underfoot.

    Looking down, Selzer first thinks he sees oversize baby birds, then rubber baby dolls, until the realization comes that the street is littered with the tiny, naked, all-too- human bodies of aborted fetuses.

    Later, the local hospital director speaks to Selzer, trying to impose order on the grisly scene. It was an accident, of course: The tiny corpses were accidentally ``mixed up with the other debris'' instead of being incinerated or interred. ``It is not an everyday occurrence. Once in a lifetime, he says.'' And Selzer tries to nod along: ``Now you see. It is orderly. It is sensible. The world is not mad. This is still a civilized society . . .

    ``But just this once, you know it isn't. You saw, and you know.'' Resolute abortion rights supporters would dismiss that claim of knowledge. Death and viscera are never pretty, they would say, but something can be disgusting without being barbaric. Just because it's awful to discover fetuses underfoot doesn't mean the unborn have a right to life.

    And it's precisely this argument that's been marshaled lately in response to a new reminder of the fleshly realities of abortion: The conversations, videotaped covertly by pro- life activists posing as fetal organ buyers, in which officials from Planned Parenthood cheerfully discuss the procedures for extracting those organs intact during an abortion and the prices they command.

    It may be disturbing to hear those procedures described: ``. . . we've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact.'' [[Page S6060]] It may be unseemly to hear a Planned Parenthood official haggle over pricing for those organs: ``Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it's fine, if it's still low, then we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini.'' But in the end, Planned Parenthood's defenders insist, listening to an abortionist discuss manipulating the ``calvarium'' (that is, the dying fetus's skull) so that it emerges research-ready from the womb is fundamentally no different than listening to a doctor discuss heart surgery or organ transplants. It's unsettling, yes, but just because it's gross doesn't prove it's wrong.

    Which is true, but in this case not really true enough. Because real knowledge isn't purely theoretical; it's the fruit of experience, recognition, imagination, life itself.

    And the problem these videos create for Planned Parenthood isn't just a generalized queasiness at surgery and blood.

    It's a very specific disgust, informed by reason and experience--the reasoning that notes that it's precisely a fetus's humanity that makes its organs valuable, and the experience of recognizing one's own children, on the ultrasound monitor and after, as something more than just ``products of conception'' or tissue for the knife.

    That's why Planned Parenthood's apologists have fallen back on complaints about ``deceptive editing'' (though full videos were released in both cases), or else simply asked people to look away. And it's why many of my colleagues in the press seem uncomfortable reporting on the actual content of the videos.

    Because dwelling on that content gets you uncomfortably close to Selzer's tipping point--that moment when you start pondering the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism.

    That's a hard thing to accept. It's part of why so many people hover in the conflicted borderlands of the pro-choice side. They don't like abortion, they think its critics have a point . . . but to actively join our side would require passing too comprehensive a judgment on their coalition, their country, their friends, their very selves.

    This reluctance is a human universal. It's why white Southerners long preferred Lost Cause mythology to slaveholding realities. It's why patriotic Americans rarely want to dwell too long on My Lai or Manzanar or Nagasaki. It's why, like many conservatives, I was loath to engage with the reality of torture in Bush-era interrogation programs.

    But the reluctance to look closely doesn't change the truth of what there is to see. Those were dead human beings on Richard Selzer's street 40 years ago, and these are dead human beings being discussed on video today: Human beings that the nice, idealistic medical personnel at Planned Parenthood have spent their careers crushing, evacuating, and carving up for parts.

    The pro-life sting was sweeping; there are reportedly 10 videos to go. You can turn away. But there will be plenty of chances to look, to see, to know.

    Mr. COATS. I will share a couple of excerpts from his piece.

    Writing in the New York Times, Ross Douthat says: And the problem these videos create for Planned Parenthood isn't just a generalized queasiness at surgery and blood. It's a very specific disgust, informed by reason and experience--the reasoning that notes that it's precisely a fetus's humanity that makes its organs valuable, and the experience of recognizing one's own children, on the ultrasound monitor and after, as something more than just ``products of conception'' or tissue for the knife.

    For those who defend the role of Planned Parenthood, Douthat writes that reflecting on the content of these videos ``gets you uncomfortably close to . . . that moment when you start pondering the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism.'' I wish to repeat that again. He writes about the barbarity of what has taken place here and the videos of the response of Planned Parenthood--the description of what actually is happening to a child on the way to birth, seen in the ultrasound, hearing the beating of the heart, and then talking about the methods used so that certain parts of that body are not crushed and so that other parts of the body can be harvested for other purposes and sold--sold for money. That this is part of what Planned Parenthood is all about is just stunning.

    Douthat said that even though people want to ignore it, even though they want to talk about it and blame the videographer--that he took things out of context--how can you take what is said and happened out of context and provide any rationale or justification for what is being done? He said: But surely that is the moment when you start to ponder the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is actually dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism. That is a hard thing to accept, he said.

    But, as difficult as that is, Douthat states that we must acknowledge that what is being discussed in these videos is human beings, and the nice, idealistic medical personnel at Planned Parenthood have spent their careers crushing, evacuating, and carving up that human life for parts to be sold on the market.

    It is important that this body let Planned Parenthood know the American people do not support these inhumane practices. Congress should debate this issue. It should vote. It should vote soon. It should not leave here for our August recess until we send a clear message to Planned Parenthood that this is totally unacceptable, that the taxpayers of America will not fund with 1 cent of their tax dollars this barbaric practice, provided through an agency that pretends to be offering sound health care advice to pregnant mothers. Every Senator should have the opportunity to affirm that life is sacred and a precious gift, and it must be protected.

    I yield the floor.

    I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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