US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Protecting the Most Vulnerable Among Us

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressProtecting the Most Vulnerable Among Us
By Sen. John Thune

Recently, the Senate took up a common-sense bill to protect human life, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill would protect unborn children who have reached the age of 20 weeks – the age at which unborn children can feel pain – from being killed by abortion. Unfortunately, this bill was defeated in the Senate after just three Democrats joined Republicans in voting for this legislation.

It’s difficult for me to imagine how anyone could oppose this bill. Twenty weeks (about five months) into a pregnancy, the humanity of unborn babies is clearly visible. They have fingers and toes, eyebrows and eyelashes. They suck their thumbs. They yawn and stretch. They move around and make faces. They respond to noises. And they feel pain.

The scientific evidence on this point is incontrovertible: Five months into a pregnancy, the physical structure by which human beings experience pain is in place, and scientists can measure spikes in babies’ stress hormones when the babies are confronted with painful stimuli. In fact, some scientific evidence suggests that babies of this age feel pain even more keenly than adults do, since some of the neural mechanisms that inhibit pain don’t fully develop until after birth.

If there’s one thing all Americans ought to be able to agree on, it’s that unborn babies who feel pain deserve to be protected. Americans are rightly horrified by deliberate cruelty to animals – it is unthinkable that we allow unborn human beings who feel pain to be subjected to late-term abortion procedures that are so brutal it is difficult to even talk about them.

Thanks to advances in medical science, doctors and nurses in this country are saving babies who are born months early. A May 2015 article in the New York Times on advances in the treatment of extremely premature infants reported on one baby who was delivered at 22 weeks and 1 day and weighed 1.1 pounds at delivery, yet today is “a healthy 5-year-old.” Yet in the United States, our laws allow a baby of the very same age to be killed by abortion.

There are only seven countries in the world that allow elective abortion past five months of pregnancy. Among those countries are China, North Korea, and the United States. That’s not the company the United States should be keeping when it comes to protecting human rights.

And the American people agree. Polls show that a strong majority of Americans – including a strong majority of women – support banning elective abortions after five months of pregnancy.

Ultimately, it’s simple: That unborn baby – the one with the fingers and toes, who sucks her thumb and responds to her mother’s voice – that unborn baby is one of us, and as such she deserves to be protected. While I’m disappointed that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act failed to pass the Senate this time, the fight is not over.


12 thoughts on “US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Protecting the Most Vulnerable Among Us”

      1. If Thune doesn’t accomplish anything on defunding planned parenthood, he should just shut up about it. It is that simple.

    1. Were your congressional buddies too stupid to know that when they were making the promise to their gullible supporters? If they didn’t know what does that say about them? If they did know, what does it say about how they view “you people”?

  1. This was a great bill. Disappointed in those who voted against it. Babies don’t matter to them unless they can dissect them, I guess.

  2. What I don’t understand is how the GOP can be blamed for a govt shutdown, if that happens, when the GOP could fund everything but Planned Parenthood and send it to Obama. Then of course Obama will in his pious wisdom veto it. So really who is to blame for a govt shutdown in that case? It’s NOT the GOP; it’s Obama. So let him take the blame.

  3. All very commendable Mr. Thune. Yet, what a pity that you do not possess the force of personality or the guts that this man does. Or the character and courage to stand up to McConnell. Pay particular attention between the 42 – 44 minute marks, Mr. Thune.
    One of the Rubes back home

    PS: A Homer Simpson once famously uttered: “I THINK HE’S TALKING TO YOU”

  4. In order to change current US policy:

    1) Pass a bill with a majority of the House and in many cases 60 votes in the Senate.

    2) Have 290 votes in the House (there are 247 Republicans) to over-ride a veto.

    3) Have 67 votes in the Senate (there are 54 Republicans to over-ride a veto.

    In short, our ideas need nearly 30% of the Democrats in the House and Senate to “get anything done” which will be vetoed by President Obama. In this environment, the only thing possible is slow incremental change.

    Any candidate on a soap box who thinks yelling and arguing is lying to the people and any conservative who expects him to be successful is delusional.

    Give us the White House and the House has the votes to do what we desire. And, in many cases we can do much with our 54 Republican Senators and when we need to invoke cloture for the more controversial issues, we just have to get 15% of the Dems to come our way.

    Hope is grounded in reality and not fantasy. And, hope is engendered with Reagan-esque language that speaks to the inner good of all and not the rantings of someone angry and highlights the bad that is within our broken nature.

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