Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712):

Chairman Goodlatte: Today, thousands of people are rallying in the nation’s capital to be part of the March for Life and to join a celebration of hope and compassion for those who do not yet have a voice.

And many millions more have viewed videos of representatives of Planned Parenthood, which performs some forty percent of all abortions each year.  Those videos, recorded undercover, sadly portray a much darker side of our society.  They show discussions of the exchange of money for the body parts of aborted babies.  They also include discussions of instances in which, during the course of an attempted abortion, a baby is born “intact,” and then shipped to a lab for the use of its body parts.  Congress must move immediately to protect any children born alive during the course of a failed abortion.

The bill before us today provides that in the case of an abortion or attempted abortion that results in a child born alive, any health care practitioner present must exercise the same degree of professional care to preserve the life of the child as he or she would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.  The bill also provides that the child must be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.  If a baby born alive is left to die, the penalty can be up to five years in jail.  If the child is cut open for its body parts, or some other overt act is taken, the punishment is that for first degree murder, which can include life in prison or the death penalty.

Babies are born alive during failed abortions.  The House Judiciary Committee heard direct testimony by two grown women who, as babies, survived attempted abortions.  The mother of one of them, Gianna Jessen, was advised by Planned Parenthood to have an abortion.  But as Ms. Jessen testified: “Instead of dying … I was delivered alive in an abortion clinic in Los Angeles.”  Her medical records state clearly that she was “born alive” during an abortion.  She continued, “Thankfully, the abortionist was not at work yet.  Had he been there, he would have ended my life with strangulation, suffocation, or leaving me there to die … I was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain while surviving the abortion.  I was never supposed to hold my head up or walk.  I do.  And Cerebral Palsy is a great gift to me.”

Just think of that for a moment.  Ms. Jessen says cerebral palsy is a gift to her because it came with the gift of life.  She forgave her mother long ago, and gives praise each day for that gift of life, which she enjoys to its fullest to this day.

Ms. Jessen presented a picture at the hearing showing the results of the sort of abortion she survived.

I urge all my colleagues to support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, so others who survive failed abortions can have the same chance to be as thankful as Ms. Jessen.

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