Years from now, when history looks back on the Democratic Party, one date will almost certainly stand out: July 25, 2016. That was the Tuesday, in the capital of the Revolution, when everything changed. For the first time in America’s 240 years, a major political party threw its full support behind one of the most savage and violent practices of the modern age: full-term, no-apologies abortion.
It’s just a party platform, some said. It doesn’t mean anything. Try telling that to Americans today, who watched in stunned silence last night as a leader of the U.S. Senate walked to the same floor where giants of freedom have stood and defended the killing of a perfect, fully-born child. It was not just a party platform when another senator, Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.), looked at the other side of the aisle and saw a group of men and women willing to “betray the universal truth of human dignity and [turn] the stomachs of civilized people… in every country on earth.” And it wasn’t just a party platform when, the only other time this issue came up for a vote, every Senate Democrat agreed: infanticide is wrong.
The moment Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) rose to her feet and objected to protecting the survivors of abortion will be a defining one for Democrats. It should have signified to everyone that the radicalization of the party that started in 2016 is now complete. And like so many others, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) could only look on in horror. “This is the world’s greatest deliberative body,” she said. But “there is nothing great, there is nothing moral or even humane, about the discussion that we have before us today.”
New Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) stood in disbelief. “Is this really the extremism of the Democratic party?” After decades of proving that there was still some scrap of moderation in their abortion agenda, liberals have thrown off any pretense of solemnity or restraint. And just like the Brett Kavanaugh debate, they’ve significantly overplayed their hand. “I can’t imagine a vision less just or less consistent with the goodness and compassion of the American people,” Hawley argued.
He’s right. “Gallup polling from 2018 found that only 13 percent of Americans favor making third-trimester abortions ‘generally’ legal, and only 18 percent of Democrats shared that position,” Alexandra Desanctis warns. Less than a quarter of their own party is willing to follow them into the most radical terrain on abortion ever broached. “Women reject late-term abortion at an even higher rate than men. A Marist survey from earlier this year found that 75 percent of Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy, and majorities of Democrats and those who describe themselves as pro-choice agreed.”
With almost an eerie detachment to the issue at hand, Murray tried to frame the bill as unnecessary. “We have laws against infanticide in this country,” she claimed in her brief justification for stopping its passage. But, as so many have pointed out, only 26 states have “affirmative protections” for born-alive babies. Even if all 50 did, what’s the harm in reaffirming the Senate’s commitment to protecting these innocent survivors? Surely a party that can eat up hours of the legislative clock with a passionate plea to save the Delta Smelt can spare some sympathy for endangered children.
Even after yesterday’s disgrace, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has no intentions of walking away from survivors like Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen, who wouldn’t be alive today if Democrats got their way. Before the vote, McConnell cautioned that if the other side stopped the bill, it “would make quite a disturbing statement.” If they do, he vowed, “I can assure them that this will not be the last time we try to ensure that all newborns are afforded this fundamental legal protection.”
To almost every American, “health care” does not include the killing of innocent newborns. “But in defending bills that expand the right to abort [living children], Democrats are giving away the game,” Desanctis predicts. “Most people, even those who favor some abortion access, instinctively recoil from what they see. These late-term abortion bills do more than reveal Democratic radicalism. They draw back the veil of euphemism to expose abortion for what it is: At every stage of pregnancy, it is the taking of a human life. For the anti-abortion movement, it is a pivotal moment to insist upon that truth.”
That’s where you come in. If you haven’t contacted your senators about the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, make sure you do today. Let them know that extremists like Patty Murray stand alone!
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.