It's not every day that you see the GOP caucus conducting business in the House visitors center. But yesterday wasn't just any day. It wasn't just a defining moment for the Republican Party but the Democratic Party as well. For the first time in years, the House minority held a pro-life hearing in open defiance of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). They'd tried to schedule the event through regular order – but the answer was the same as the other 80 times they asked Democrats to help them stop infanticide: No.
Even when House liberals refused to give them a committee room, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) wasn't deterred. His party would have held the event in the basement if it meant more Americans would finally know the truth about the killing of newborn babies. “One of the things you don't really appreciate until you're here,” Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kans.) told me on Monday's “Washington Watch,” “is how much power the Speaker controls over what items get to the floor.” This was “a struggle,” he insisted. “Not only would [Democrats] not schedule a hearing, but they wouldn't allow us to have a hearing room,” Estes explained. “But we're pushing forward.”
If Speaker Pelosi and company want to pretend that perfectly healthy infants aren't being slaughtered in the name of “personal choice,” that's her decision. But conservatives aren't playing along. These are real human lives hanging in the balance – and yesterday afternoon, listening to one chilling story after another, even Democrats couldn't ignore it.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” Melissa Ohden wrote in an emotional appeal, “to not only survive an abortion, but to have someone fight to save me. But no one should have had to fight for me. They should have been expected and mandated to do so.” Most unborn babies are scalded by saline solution in the womb for three days during an abortion. Melissa, the medical records show, was poisoned for five. She wasn't supposed to live – not through the procedure, and certainly not through the complications of surviving it.
But survive she did. “I'm alive today,” she says, “because life-saving medical care was right down the hallway for me – once someone decided they couldn't leave me to die.” Not everyone, nurse Jill Stanek knows, is so lucky. During her time at Christ Hospital in Illinois, she heard and experienced countless horror stories of babies with beating hearts left to die, abandoned in dirty laundry rooms, or lying cold and naked on the medical scales. With gut-wrenching clarity, she describes moms screaming for someone to help their babies when they survived. She remembers the excruciating moments when women realized their little children didn't have the physical deformities their doctor had warned them about. And realizing, too late, that they were perfect.
So many mothers, she shakes her head, had no idea their babies might be aborted alive. One woman was beside herself to see that her tiny son wasn't just breathing, but that he didn't have the disability she'd aborted him for. A nurse “rushed to call a neonatologist ... But after the neonatologist examined the baby, he said that there was nothing he could do ... [T]he little guy had been born too early. The mother was so traumatized that my friend had to give her a tranquilizer. The baby had to be held by his grandmother for the half hour that he lived.”
The refrain from the nurses was the same. “I can't stop thinking about it,” they told Jill when another infant was left to die. And it's no wonder. The nightmare was so common that the Chicago Sun-Times estimated “between 10 percent and 20 percent” of aborted babies “survive for short periods.” That means an hour, Jill insists, maybe two. Plenty of time, everyone knows, to save them.
But Democrats like Governor Ralph Northam (Va.) and Speaker Pelosi aren't interested in saving lives. They're interested in keeping them “comfortable.” Maybe that's why the governor's words hit Jill so hard. She's seen the lengths people take to dull their consciences. Now, instead of taking babies with beating hearts to a soiled utility room to die, they take them to the “Comfort Room,” complete with a “First Foto machine in case parents wanted pictures of their aborted babies, baptismal supplies if parents wanted their aborted babies baptized, and a foot printer and baby bracelets if parents wanted keepsakes of their aborted babies.” At her hospital, there was even a special chair to rock the newborns to death. “How far will doctors go to comfort themselves for letting abortion survivors die?” she asks. “Pretty far.”
How far will America go? That's up to Democrats. Republicans have asked every single day for Speaker Pelosi to at least let the House have an up-or-down vote on protecting innocent survivors like Melissa. They refuse, even as 70 percent of their own party begs them to reconsider. “You see in the media,” Whip Scalise told our listeners Monday, “they're trying to act like this doesn't even happen. And yes, it does happen.”
Now is the time to stand up and say, “Enough.” It's our future.
If you want to see just how much is at stake in this debate, don't miss this year's Values Voter Summit. You'll hear the emotional stories of the real-life abortion survivors, including Melissa. The left says they don't exist. This event will prove them wrong. Register to join us in Washington, D.C. from October 11-13 today.
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by the Family Research Council.