PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED
(Senate - January 29, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 19 (Monday, January 29, 2018)]
[Pages S527-S545]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




      PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2311, which the 
clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 294, S. 2311, a bill to 
     amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable 
     unborn children, and for other purposes.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the time until 5:30 
p.m. will be equally divided in the usual form.
  If no one yields time, then time will be charged equally.
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, the odds are quite good that when this 
Republican-controlled Congress closes up shop in December, time spent 
attacking the healthcare of women is going to be right up at the top of 
how this Congress spent their day. They are back at it again, and this 
latest attack that we will be discussing this week goes after women's 
essential healthcare decisions.
  In my view--and I want to be very clear about this point--this is 
another key part of the Trump agenda of healthcare discrimination. This 
time, it is going after women. This entire agenda is what the 
Republicans are doing their best to blast through the Congress into 
law. It is not just a one-off, either.
  So I am going to spend a few minutes now to put this particular 
health proposal that discriminates against women in the appropriate 
kind of context. To do that, I think it is important to describe what 
has happened on healthcare since day one of the Trump administration.
  The administration and Republicans in Congress came right out of the 
gate with legislation that would have deprived hundreds of thousands of 
women of the right to see the doctor of their choosing. There was 
another attack on Planned Parenthood that completely ignored the fact 
that the Congress already regulates what these trusted healthcare 
providers can and cannot spend public funds on. What Planned Parenthood 
does use public funding for are vital healthcare services that have 
absolutely nothing to do with abortion. Let me just make sure people 
understand what I am talking about. We are talking about cancer 
screenings, prenatal care, preventive services, routine physicals, and 
more.
  I have townhall meetings in every county in our State. I have had 
more than 860 of them. The vast amount of terrain in Oregon is rural. 
When I go to those small communities and the least populated areas of 
our State, that is what people tell me they go to Planned Parenthood 
for--to get those basic essentials, ranging from cancer screenings to 
routine physicals. That is what women would lose with this Trump agenda 
of healthcare discrimination.

  Next up, given the way the year and a little bit longer has evolved, 
is the ongoing attempt by the Trump administration to deny women 
guaranteed no-cost access to contraception. This is one of the most 
popular healthcare policies in recent memory. There are a lot of 
reasons why this is smart, not just because it is a matter of fairness 
for all women to have access to birth control. When women have access 
to contraception, it means healthier pregnancies and healthier 
newborns. It also reduces the risk of cancer among women.
  You can also look at it in terms of dollars and cents. When you take 
away no-cost contraception, you are essentially taxing women based on 
their gender. You are driving up the cost of their routine healthcare. 
It flies in the face of everything my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle say about the problems of healthcare costs in America.
  So those are strikes one and two: denying women the right to see the 
doctor of their choosing and making it harder for them to access 
contraception. Now the Senate is debating

[[Page S528]]

whether to throw a matter of settled law out the window with a 
hyperpartisan ban on abortion after 20 weeks.
  My view on abortion throughout my time in public service is it ought 
to be safe, it ought to be legal, and it ought to be rare. I have 
supported a whole host of policies that bring both sides of the aisle 
together.
  The Presiding Officer is fairly new to the Senate Finance Committee 
and is looking to be involved in a host of issues. My guess is, he will 
be very interested in the adoption tax credit concept which I and 
others have championed for some time, something that brings both sides 
together.
  So my view is, abortion, safe, legal, and rare; find ways to bring 
both sides together; and respect that the Federal Government ought to 
leave women alone on these most intimate decisions that involve women, 
their spouses, and their healthcare providers.
  The proposal the Senate is now debating is all about telling women 
what they can and cannot do. It criminalizes healthcare services that 
ought to stay between women and their doctors--healthcare services 
often necessitated by potentially life-threatening complications.
  I just, for the life of me, don't see the wisdom of a lawmaker or a 
bureaucrat in Washington, DC, or a State capital telling a woman how 
severe the danger to her life has to become before she is legally 
allowed to make this variably gut-wrenching decision to choose an 
abortion.
  This issue has been settled law in America for 45 years. The debate 
should be over, but here it is again, along with these other policies I 
have just described, as part of the Trump administration's healthcare 
discrimination agenda which is particularly punitive against women.
  Let me also recognize the biggest victims under this discriminatory 
agenda are women who walk an economic tightrope every single day. If 
their local Planned Parenthood clinic is forced to close its doors, 
they may not have the ability to take time off work and travel long 
distances to see another provider for routine healthcare. They already 
balance every day the food against the rent, the rent against 
electricity, electricity against gas. Take away these choices, like no-
cost contraception, and make their struggle to get ahead that much 
harder--especially when the rate of unintended pregnancy is five times 
higher among women living in poverty--folks who may not be able to 
afford a plane ticket or even a bus ticket to somewhere where they can 
find the essential healthcare services they believe are necessary.
  There are serious, genuine healthcare challenges that face the 
country. Millions of Americans get clobbered every single time they 
walk up to a pharmacy window and get pounded by the cost of 
prescription drugs. That is the kind of bipartisan debate looking for 
solutions.
  Another example is the opioid epidemic raging from one end of the 
country to the other. More than half a million lives lost in the last 
two decades, countless families and entire communities torn apart. The 
Congress and the Trump administration haven't done nearly enough to 
fight the crisis and, frankly, not anywhere near close to what was 
promised in the fall of 2016.
  Instead of taking on these challenges, the Trump administration and 
Republicans in Congress are just full steam ahead with this agenda of 
healthcare discrimination; this week, an attack on women and their 
healthcare choices. Passing this bill is going to make it harder for 
women to be in a position to make the healthcare choices they believe 
are important--maybe essential--for their lives.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose the bill.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mrs. ERNST. Mr. President, I rise to urge each of my colleagues to 
support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This critical 
legislation would prohibit a child from being aborted at 5 months of 
development.
  For those we have watching today, I would like you to focus a little 
bit on these photos, and I will return to them in a moment.
  Again, I am urging my colleagues to support the Pain-Capable Unborn 
Child Protection Act. By any measure, at 5 months of development, an 
unborn child is a child. At 5 months, babies have grown nails on their 
fingers and on their toes; hair has just begun to grow on their heads; 
and an ultrasound can tell an expectant mother or father whether their 
baby is a boy or a girl. These babies can detect light, hear sounds, 
they can swallow, and even experience taste as their taste buds grow 
and develop. These unborn babies in all ways are babies.
  There is also significant scientific evidence that at 5 months of 
development these babies can feel pain. By 5 months, babies begin to 
respond to painful stimulus with distinctive pain response behaviors 
that are exhibited by older babies. They will scrunch their eyes, they 
will clench their hands, they pull back their limbs in response to 
pain, just like any other child experiencing pain.
  There is also a great deal of evidence that stress hormone levels 
rise substantially when babies at this age are exposed to pain. In 
2015, a Cambridge University Press medical textbook acknowledged that a 
``fetus . . . becomes capable of experiencing pain between 20 and 30 
weeks of gestation.'' In fact, fetal surgeons routinely administer pain 
medications for babies after only 4 months of development. Doctors are 
giving babies pain medication after 4 months of development.
  As modern medicine has recognized, these babies are humans capable of 
experiencing pain. Yet there is no Federal law protecting these 
vulnerable humans from abortions. As a result, every year in our 
country the lives of thousands of babies end painfully through 
abortion. This is unacceptable. The majority of men and women across 
the Nation agree with this premise. According to a recent Marist poll, 
6 out of 10 Americans surveyed support a law prohibiting abortion after 
5 months of pregnancy.
  Additionally, multiple States, including my home State of Iowa, have 
passed legislation that would prohibit abortions after 5 months of 
development because these babies are babies. There is no way to deny 
the humanity of these children when you consider stories like that of 
Micah Pickering.
  Micah is from Newton, IA. He is a very young friend of mine. He is 5 
years old. Just a few weeks ago on the floor of the Senate I was able 
to share Micah's story. As you may recall, Micah was born at just 20 
weeks postfertilization--the very point at which the Pain-Capable 
Unborn Child Protection Act would begin to protect these young lives. 
Today, Micah is a very happy, very energetic little 5-year-old. Now, I 
would like to go back to these pictures.
  When I first met Micah, he was about 3 years old. He and his parents 
visited my office for the annual March for Life. I had this poster made 
of these pictures, and they were in my office because I was going to 
speak on the Senate floor in support of March for Life. Micah is 
pictured on the right side of the poster board. Micah, a happy, 
energetic little boy saw this poster board in my office, and he ran up 
to it--imagine, this beautiful 3-year-old boy--and he pointed not at 
the picture of himself as he was at 3 years old, but he pointed to this 
picture, and he said: Baby. I said: Yes, Micah, that is a baby.
  This is Micah when he was born. Micah at 3 years old understood that 
this was a baby. He didn't understand that was him when he was born, 
but he understood that was a baby.
  If you look at the picture, you will see Micah is grasping his mama 
and daddy's hands with five perfectly formed little fingers on each 
hand. It is a baby, folks. Micah knew that. While he might not have 
known that was him when he was born, he knew that was a baby--5 months 
of gestation.
  Today, Micah is a happy, extraordinarily healthy young boy. I got to 
see him again this last year. Again, he was running around my office, 
just full of energy and life.
  Yes, Micah, this is a baby. I agree.
  Micah's story is not an isolated incident. Extraordinary stories of 
babies who are surviving after just 5 months of development can be 
found all around the world.
  A little over a year ago, Dakota Harris was born in Ohio at 19 weeks 
of development--even younger than Micah. Last May, she left the 
hospital with her family as a healthy 7-pound baby.

[[Page S529]]

  In 2016, baby Aharon was born at 20 weeks of development, becoming 
the youngest premature baby to survive in Israel. After 5 months of 
care at a hospital in Tel Aviv, he was able to go home, again, as a 
healthy baby.
  In 2010, Frieda Mangold, who was born in Germany at just under 20 
weeks of development, became Europe's youngest premature baby to 
survive. After receiving intensive care, she too was able to go home 
with her family as a happy 7-pound baby.
  Babies have been on record as surviving birth after just 5 months of 
development for three decades now--three decades. What greater evidence 
do you need that at 5 months of development, an unborn child in every 
way is a child?
  Despite the clear evidence of the humanity of these children, the 
United States is one of only seven countries in the world to allow 
abortions after 5 months of development. That means that while an 
overwhelming majority of the world recognizes and protects the humanity 
of these vulnerable children, the United States keeps the company of 
countries like China and North Korea. They deny unborn children the 
most basic of protections. This is not who we are as a nation.
  It is time we listen to the scientific evidence, the men and women 
across America, and a majority of the rest of the world. There should 
be no disagreement when it comes to protecting the life of an unborn 
child who can feel pain and, as the inspiring stories of Micah 
Pickering and others show, survive outside of the womb. It is up to us 
to ensure these children have the chance to grow up and lead the happy, 
healthy lives that God has granted them.
  As a mother and a grandmother, I am urging my colleagues to support 
the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which recognizes these 
unborn babies as the children they are and provides them the same 
protection from pain and suffering that all of our children deserve.
  For my dear little friend Micah, I would say: Yes, Micah, this is a 
baby, and we are glad to have you here.
  God bless him.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. ERNST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  If no one yields time, the time shall be charged equally.
  The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I am here to talk about a vote we will be 
considering later this afternoon on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child 
Protection Act.
  I thank Senator Graham and my fellow cosponsors on the bill. I think 
it is a very important bill. I think it is a balanced bill as it is a 
bill that has the support of the vast majority of the American citizens 
and would make us consistent with all but only seven other nations in 
terms of restricting abortions to a limited number of exceptions after 
20 weeks. Those exceptions would be a threat to the life of the mother, 
someone who may have been raped, or someone who may have been the 
victim of incest.
  This is a balanced bill, and it is a policy that most of the world 
population agrees should be in place. I think it is our job to make 
sure this restriction is put into place, with medical science today 
suggesting that after 20 weeks an unborn child can experience pain, 
while still allowing for the choice of the mother. We could discuss 
different opinions about that in the earlier terms but certainly after 
20 weeks. I think this is balanced policy and is something I hope my 
colleagues will support and ultimately send to the President's desk.
  I was speaker of the house in North Carolina for 4 years. We worked 
on commonsense changes to protect the lives of the unborn, changes that 
also received the support of the majority of North Carolinians. This is 
just another example of where we at the Federal level can enact a law 
that I think can help us to demonstrate that the life of the unborn is 
a precious life. We as Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Congress 
are tasked with making sure we protect all lives in America. This is 
just a very important, precious, helpless part of the population. I, 
for one, think this is a great, modest step forward, and I encourage 
all of the Members to support it.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip is recognized.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, last week marked the 45th anniversary of 
Roe v. Wade, but many of us were not celebrating because last week gave 
us another opportunity to consider the real damage caused by the 
Supreme Court decision, which even liberal scholars have now said is 
flawed in the type of damage it has done to the social fabric of our 
Nation over the last four and a half decades.
  During this period of time, more than 50 million unborn children in 
America have been denied the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness--50 million. In other parts of the world, unborn children 
have been killed by the sheer fact that they happen to be girls instead 
of boys or because one has a disability like Down syndrome.
  For me, Roe v. Wade hits close to home because I come from the State 
where the lead plaintiff was living at the time of that now famous 
lawsuit. Her name is Norma McCorvey, or Jane Roe in the case. She was 
from Dallas, TX. What is unknown, generally, but interesting, is what 
is left out of this story when you hear about Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade. 
Mrs. McCorvey, actually, never went forward with the abortion. She gave 
birth instead, and her child was adopted. She later became an 
influential pro-life advocate.
  Her story should give us cause for hope that change is possible--
change of the human heart, change in the direction of the country--when 
it comes to unborn children, as should events like the March for Life 
that happened earlier this month here in Washington, where more than 
100,000 pro-life men and women, young and old, descended on our 
Nation's Capital.
  I want to applaud President Trump for becoming our Nation's first 
sitting President to address the march.
  Hope is increasingly being provided by advances in science that have 
dispelled some of the mythology associated with abortion. Advancing 
technology is making it easier for many to see the humanity of a 
growing child and to realize that it does have moral status.
  One physician at Northwestern University recounted recently:

       The more advanced in my field of neonatology, the more it 
     just became the logical choice to recognize the developing 
     fetus for what it is. . . . It just became so obvious that 
     these were just developing humans.

  Testimony like that lends credence to the bill that we are voting on 
today. It is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I 
don't doubt that some of our colleagues would just prefer to remain 
silent and to hope this vote passes without many people paying much 
attention, but I hope that doesn't happen. It is an entirely 
appropriate occasion for us to talk about abortion and its role in our 
society and how it is increasingly out of step with modern science and 
people's recognition that these are indeed unborn human beings.
  This legislation protects unborn children at 20 weeks, or 5 months. 
Who among us thinks that it is appropriate to have an elective abortion 
after 5 months in the womb? That is what we are talking about. We are 
specifically talking about the child's ability to feel pain at this 
stage of development. It doesn't apply in cases where the mother's life 
is at risk or in cases of rape or incest. It does have those 
exceptions.
  Advances in modern medicine help babies born at 21 and 22 weeks to 
survive. In other words, we are talking about unborn children who could 
survive outside the womb, who are still subject to elective abortion in 
this country. So babies roughly the same age are clearly alive and need 
our protection before they are born as well, and this bill will help 
provide that protection.
  Incredibly, the United States is only one of seven countries that 
allow elective abortions past 20 weeks. It is not exactly an honor to 
be in the same category as North Korea, Vietnam, and China when it 
comes to allowing elective abortions after 5 months.
  I am glad that the pain-capable bill has passed in 20 States, 
including my

[[Page S530]]

home State of Texas. It has been estimated that the law we are voting 
on today will save approximately 12,000 to 18,000 babies annually. That 
is 12,000 to 18,000 lives saved were this bill to pass. That is hopeful 
news.
  Polls have shown that a majority of Americans support a prohibition 
on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is one thing that brings 
people who consider themselves to be pro-life and people who consider 
themselves to be pro-choice together, common ground recognizing that at 
some point you are talking about a human being capable of living 
outside the womb.
  As my colleague from Oklahoma, the junior Senator, told us on the 
floor recently, people all across the country are waking up. They are 
beginning to say, as he put it:

       Wait a minute, that child has 10 fingers and 10 toes, 
     unique DNA that is different from his or her mom and dad, 
     [and] the child feels pain in the womb and has a beating 
     heart. . . . That sounds like a child.

  He is absolutely right. It sounds like a child because it is one.
  I wish to close by quoting Winston Churchill, who I realize is 
perhaps an unlikely figure to bring up at a time like this. That great 
leader once said that ``a nation that has forgotten its past has no 
future.''
  Here in the United States, we have forgotten our past when it comes 
to abortion. We have forgotten, for example, that some of the original 
advocates of abortion had ties to the eugenics movement. They believed 
that you could eliminate people who had disabilities or who were 
frowned upon for one reason or another by virtue of their gender or 
other characteristics they had no control over. They often promoted 
forced sterilization because some people, in their view, simply 
shouldn't be allowed to reproduce. One example is Margaret Sanger, the 
founder of Planned Parenthood, who is known to have spoken with the Ku 
Klux Klan and other disreputable organizations about her views.
  We have forgotten, as well, the activists advocating on behalf of 
racial minorities in the 1960s and 1970s who once emphasized abortion's 
civil rights connection--that protecting the unborn represented an 
effort to protect the weak and the disenfranchised.
  Respectfully, I call on all of our colleagues to remember these 
connections and to see how far we have come--and not in a positive way. 
These colleagues of mine often describe themselves as pro-choice, but 
they actually are not unique in that regard. We all attach value to 
choices. As others have said before, we all know that choices have 
consequences and that some are better than others.
  Each of us represents the sum of his or her choices, too. As a 
society, we should choose to offer pregnant mothers who are worried, 
financially insecure, or alone options other than abortion. We not only 
should do this, but we must.
  I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting the pain-capable 
legislation we will be voting on in just a couple of hours.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am prepared to deliver remarks, but 
I see that the majority leader is on the floor, and I do not want to 
intrude on his desire to take the floor if he wishes.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I thank my good friend from Rhode 
Island. I will not occupy the Senate floor for very long.


                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.


                  Marshall County High School Shooting

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the community of Benton, KY, is 
continuing to pick up the pieces after last week's harrowing shooting.
  I wish, once again, to thank our law enforcement and first responders 
for their heroism, and I would also like to recognize Marshall County 
Judge-Executive Kevin Neal for his leadership when his community needed 
it the most.
  For most of us, this tragedy is barely even conceivable, but to the 
parents of Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, it is now a painful reality. 
Bailey Holt was 15 years old, and her mother said that she had a 
``perfect, sweet soul.'' She has been described as compassionate, 
confident, and comfortable being herself. When she wasn't busy cheering 
for the University of Louisville Cardinals, Bailey was always ready 
with a kind word or a friendly gesture for those who needed it.
  On social media, her family and friends are using the expression ``Be 
Like Bailey,'' encouraging everyone who sees it to act with charity.
  Preston Cope, who was also 15, was known for being kind, soft-spoken, 
and a quick learner. He loved reading about history and playing 
baseball for Marshall County High School and the Calvert City Sluggers. 
Preston's friends remember his ability to inspire them and to make them 
laugh.
  One of Bailey and Preston's classmates called them ``the nicest 
people I ever met. They never had anything negative to say. They always 
had a smile on their face.''
  This weekend, friends and family gathered at the high school gym by 
the hundreds to remember Bailey and Preston and to comfort one another.
  As the other injured students fight to recover and the entire 
Marshall County community continues to grieve and heal, they will have 
Bailey and Preston's example to draw on and they will have the prayers 
of their fellow Kentuckians, of us here in the Senate, and of the 
entire country.


                           Work of the Senate

  Mr. President, on an entirely different matter, a great deal of work 
remains in the Senate in the coming days. Bipartisan discussions 
continue on a variety of important issues, including immigration, 
border security, disaster relief, healthcare, and funding for our Armed 
Forces. With our February 8 deadline fast approaching, it is vital that 
we continue these serious and constructive talks.
  Last week, the administration provided its framework for immigration 
legislation. As I noted, it builds upon the four pillars for reform 
that the President has consistently put forth and indicates what is 
necessary for him to sign a bill into law. As discussions continue in 
the Senate on the subject of immigration, Members on both sides of the 
aisle should look to this framework as they work toward an agreement.
  The President's proposal has received praise as a serious effort to 
solve some of the problems with our broken immigration system. Not 
surprisingly with a subject this complicated, it has also received 
criticism from both the right and the left. Constructive critiques are 
one thing, but the type of irresponsible racial invective used yet 
again on this subject by the Democratic leader of the House is 
decidedly unhelpful.
  These comments are precisely the kind of divisive partisanship that 
dim the prospects that a bipartisan compromise could become law. The 
American people elected us to legislate, not to trade insults. To 
resolve President Obama's unlawfully established DACA Program and other 
important issues in immigration, I would urge my Democratic colleagues 
to put serious, good-faith discussions ahead of cheap, partisan point 
scoring.


                       Nomination of David Stras

  Mr. President, now on another matter. These negotiations aren't the 
only important business before us this week. We will also consider 
another of President Trump's well-qualified judicial nominees, David 
Stras, of Minnesota, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 
Eighth Circuit. Judge Stras serves as an associate justice of the 
Minnesota Supreme Court. Three of his former colleagues on that court, 
now retired, praised him in an open letter last year for his sterling 
academic record, his considerable experience, and his ability to hear 
cases ``with objectivity and an open mind.''
  Their testimony confirmed Judge Stras's well-known reputation for 
thoughtfulness, fairness, and intellectual excellence. I look forward 
to voting to advance his nomination and to send this capable jurist to 
the Federal bench.
  Mr. President, the Senate will vote to take up a measure to ensure 
that the most vulnerable in our society are granted the protection they 
deserve under law. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act 
reflects a growing mainstream consensus--mainstream consensus--that 
unborn children should not be subjected to elective abortion after 20 
weeks.
  There are only seven countries left in the world that permit this, 
including,

[[Page S531]]

unfortunately, the United States, along with China and North Korea. It 
is long past time that we heeded both science and commonsense morality 
and remove ourselves from this very undistinguished list.
  Some refer to this legislation as Micah's Law in honor of a little 
boy who was born premature at just 22 weeks. Today, Micah Pickering is 
a healthy 5-year-old boy. He shows what can happen when we give life a 
chance.
  This afternoon, every one of us will go on record on this issue. On 
the commonsense side of this issue are 63 percent of Americans, 
according to a recent survey, and every other country in the world, 
save seven. There is no reason why this should be a partisan issue. I 
hope our Democratic colleagues will not obstruct the Senate from taking 
up this bill.
  I urge every one of my colleagues to join me in voting to advance it 
this afternoon.


                       State of the Union Address

  Mr. President, now, on a final matter, the President delivers his 
first State of the Union Address tomorrow. I am especially looking 
forward to his remarks on tax reform and the state of our economy. 
Already hundreds of businesses have announced significant bonuses, pay 
increases, new jobs, and expanded benefits. Just last week, we learned 
that Verst Logistics, which is based in Walton, KY, and employs nearly 
1,600, has distributed bonuses to full-time employees. The company's 
CEO told workers: ``I want to be sure that you and your families share 
in the benefits of your accomplishments and the new tax reform 
legislation.''
  When I hear my Democratic colleagues denigrate tax reform bonuses as 
``crumbs,'' I think about workers like these. I think about the Verst 
worker who came to her boss with tears in her eyes when she received 
word of her bonus. It was Christmas. She and her husband had recently 
had their fifth child. Money was tight. Mom and dad had enough saved up 
to buy gifts for the kids but were planning to skip presents for each 
other, but tax reform changed that. Thanks to the tax reform bonus she 
earned, this employee and her husband could go out to a nice dinner and 
buy each other Christmas gifts after all. The CEO says he has never 
been hugged so hard in his life.
  It is a shame that none of my Democratic colleagues voted for tax 
reform--not a single one of them--and it is jarring to hear some of 
them now denigrate the pay increases and the benefits that only wealthy 
people could deem insignificant. Maybe in San Francisco or New York an 
extra $500 or $1,000 is no big deal, but try telling that to families 
in North Dakota, Missouri, and Montana. Try telling that to that mother 
of five. I suspect you would get an earful.
  Tomorrow evening when the President describes tax reform's impact for 
middle-class Americans, every one of us should stand and applaud.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.


                     EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, tomorrow the Environment and Public 
Works Committee will have an opportunity to question Environmental 
Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt at an oversight hearing. 
Oversight of the executive branch is one of the Senate's great 
responsibilities. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership of this body 
has shown little interest in holding the Trump administration 
accountable, despite the fact that this administration is more 
ethically challenged, more riven by conflicts of interest, more 
captured by special interests, more defined by cronyism than any other.
  After a year of Pruitt at the helm of EPA--a tenure that has been 
marked by mass staff departures, a slowdown in enforcement actions, 
questionable travel and other personal spending, rolling back critical 
clean air and clean water protections, a purge of scientists, an influx 
of industry insiders, a smorgasbord of meetings with industry bigwigs, 
many of whom coincidentally also bankrolled his political career back 
in Oklahoma, an obsession with secrecy, and heaps and heaps and heaps 
of climate denial--Pruitt will finally be appearing before our 
committee. I urge my Republican colleagues on EPW to bring some good 
questions to tomorrow's hearing.
  Judging by Pruitt's first year, he is running dangerously amok. He 
has turned EPA into perhaps the swampiest Agency in a very swampy 
administration. Pruitt's record at EPA demands the sort of oversight 
this body used to exercise. If you don't believe this about Pruitt's 
record, just take a look at what some distinguished Republicans have to 
say. William Ruckelshaus, who under both Presidents Richard Nixon and 
Ronald Reagan ran the EPA, has criticized Pruitt's penchant for secrecy 
in this Washington Post op-ed contrasting it with his own more 
transparent management style. He said:

       We release[d] my full schedule and the publication of 
     written communications on a daily basis . . . Scott Pruitt is 
     taking the absolute opposite approach. Pruitt operates in 
     secrecy.

  In an interview with HuffPost, former New Jersey Governor and 
chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean, is also troubled by Pruitt's 
fixation with secrecy. I think this New York Times op-ed makes his 
opinion clear. He writes:

       [T]o satisfy his penchant for secrecy, [Pruitt] is 
     installing--at a cost of nearly $25,000 to taxpayers--a 
     secure phone booth in his Washington office to keep people, 
     including staff members, in the dark.

  Imagine that. While demanding massive cuts to EPA's budget, Pruitt is 
spending thousands of dollars to build himself, like Maxwell Smart, a 
cone of silence. He doesn't run the CIA. He doesn't run the FBI. He 
doesn't even run the State Department. What possible purpose could this 
very expensive, secure phone booth have at the Environmental Protection 
Agency?
  Governor Kean believes Pruitt is doing this to keep his own staff 
members in the dark, which begs the question: What does Pruitt have to 
hide from his own staff? It sounds like a question my Republican 
colleagues on EPW should ask him tomorrow.
  Pruitt's wasteful spending isn't just limited to his cone of silence. 
As Governor Kean points out, Pruitt has used private jets costing 
taxpayers another $58,000. His princely habits have even prompted 
questions from Senator Grassley. So I ask my EPW Republican colleagues: 
If Senator Grassley is troubled by Pruitt's wasteful spending of 
taxpayers' money on personal luxuries, shouldn't you ask him about it 
at tomorrow's hearing?
  Pruitt's penchant for secrecy goes well beyond the expensive cone of 
silence that was designed to keep his own staff in the dark. It also 
extends to his schedule, where he tries to keep the American people in 
the dark. Unlike Ruckelshaus and previous EPA Administrators, Pruitt 
will not even disclose whom he is meeting or when he is traveling. As 
Governor Kean notes, our only idea of the folks he is meeting comes 
from the Freedom of Information Act. Once EPA finally released the 
first few months of Pruitt's calendars in response to a FOIA request, 
that is when we learned he was meeting with scores of industry fat cats 
and almost no environmental groups.

  As for his travels, we only find out about them after the fact, which 
of course prevents the press from covering Pruitt, say, when he jets 
off to Morocco to lobby for American natural gas producers. One of my 
Republican colleagues on EPW might want to ask Pruitt why he is jetting 
around the world playing Commerce Secretary for the fossil fuel 
industry when he should be working here at home in America to protect 
people's health and their environment.
  What does Governor Kean have to say about Pruitt's industry ties? 
``He has elevated cronyism to new heights.'' Those are Governor's 
Kean's words, not mine.
  In an interview with HuffPost just this past Friday, Mr. Ruckelshaus 
echoed this concern that Pruitt cares more about his political ties 
than protecting the environment. ``He's just like Trump,'' Ruckelshaus 
said. ``He's got an ideological approach to it, an approach that 
affects the large contributors in his party in Oklahoma.''
  Here again, Republican colleagues on EPW might want to ask Pruitt 
about his close ties with industry and whether he is working for the 
fossil fuel interests that donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to 
his political activities back in Oklahoma or working for the American 
people. Governor Kean goes on to say that Pruitt ``built his

[[Page S532]]

political career by attacking clean-air and clean-water rules'' and 
that he is ``blocking scientific input,'' which brings us to science.
  Science, of course, gives society its headlights to look ahead and 
see oncoming hazards. Without science, if we ignore it or block it, as 
Governor Kean says Pruitt is doing, the decisions we make are simply 
uninformed and irrational, and Governor Kean and I aren't the only ones 
who think this.
  Yet another high-profile Republican, the former New Jersey Governor 
and George W. Bush EPA Administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, agrees. 
Pruitt claims he will pursue so-called ``red team/blue team'' exercises 
instead of the long-established gold standard peer review process for 
rigorously evaluating science. Governor Whitman sees right through 
that.

       [D]ecisions must be based on reliable science. The red team 
     begins with his politically preferred conclusion that climate 
     change isn't a problem, and it will seek evidence to justify 
     that position. That's the opposite of how science works.

  Pruitt doesn't want to follow the scientific method, at least not 
when it comes to climate science or any other science, for that matter, 
that his industry backers object to. He wants to fabricate a case for 
his industry backers' politically preferred hypothesis. This isn't 
science. This is a counterfeit of science. As Governor Whitman writes, 
``True science follows the evidence. . . . Government bases policy on 
those results. This applies to liberals and conservatives alike,'' or 
at least that is the way it used to be before Scott Pruitt turned the 
keys over to polluting industries.
  So, EPW Republicans, there is another question for you to ask Pruitt 
tomorrow: How does he justify throwing out the real scientists and the 
real science in order to arrive so predictably at the fossil fuel 
industry's preferred conclusions?
  Governor Whitman calls Pruitt's climate denial scheming ``a waste of 
the government's time, energy, and resources, and a slap in the face to 
fiscal responsibility and responsible governance.'' It is, in her 
words, ``shameful,'' ``unjustifiable,'' and a ``wild goose chase.'' It 
sounds like more great questions for EPW Republicans to ask Pruitt 
tomorrow: How does he justify spending taxpayers' money on his backers' 
climate denial schemes.
  This question is particularly relevant in light of Pruitt's campaign 
to radically cut EPA's budget and staff. Under his tenure, EPA staff 
has been reduced to the lowest level in more than 30 years. EPW 
Republicans, take note because here is another question you can ask 
Pruitt tomorrow: How can he justify spending taxpayer money on 
frivolities like his Maxwell Smart cone of silence or personal luxuries 
like exorbitant private travel or crazy climate denial schemes all 
while demanding drastic cuts to the people who do the real work of 
protecting the public at his Agency?
  In an interview, Governor Whitman said she ``would like to see 
[EPA's] budget have enough in it to ensure we are enforcing the 
regulations we have in place,'' a fairly conservative notion. As she 
notes, EPA enforcement actions are slowing down ``in some instances 
fairly dramatically because they've cut the budget for the number of 
enforcement agents.'' You can't do cleanups or police polluters without 
money and people, both of which Pruitt is looking to cut. Simply put, 
Pruitt's so-called back-to-basics campaign is a smokescreen to hide his 
attempts to gut the Agency he is supposed to lead because it will make 
his industry backers happy.
  Once again, I ask my EPW Republican colleagues: Will you confront 
Pruitt about his sham promises to get back to basics while he is really 
just cutting staff and resources and reducing enforcement?
  Governor Kean speaks for many Americans when he writes, ``For the 
sake of our children's health, it's time for Scott Pruitt to go.'' When 
you are hearing that from the Republican side, it is worth listening.
  Pruitt's tenure at the EPA has been an unmitigated disaster for 
public health, for the environment, and for the future of the planet we 
call home. Its only value is if you have some peculiar connoisseur 
interest in government corruption to watch all the many ways in which 
industry can work its will within its supposed regulator.
  Tomorrow, those of us who sit on the Environment and Public Works 
Committee have an important opportunity to put the Senate's oversight 
authority to good use and expose how badly Pruitt is in the pocket of 
the polluters he is supposed to police. I sincerely hope that my 
Republican colleagues on EPW will seize the opportunity. You can be 
sure that my Democratic colleagues and I will.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, today in communities across our country, 
young people are asking whether they will be able to stay in the only 
country they have ever called home. Struggling patients and veterans 
are wondering whether their local community health center will be able 
to stay open and provide the care that they can't otherwise afford. 
Workers and business owners are wondering--again--whether the 
government will even be open in a week or two.
  Instead of addressing the serious and pressing challenges that people 
are facing, Republican leaders today are debating whether to trust 
women to make their own healthcare choices. That is right. While this 
country is waiting for us to come together and solve problems, 
Republicans are wasting precious time with a politically motivated, 
partisan bill that is engineered to drive us apart and hurt women.
  I have come here today to oppose, in the strongest terms, the 
extreme, ideological abortion ban that Republican leaders have brought 
to the floor today. It goes against the Constitution, against medical 
experts, and against the rights of women across the country. However, I 
don't merely oppose this partisan bill. I oppose the very fact 
Republicans are once again bringing this bill--which they know is a 
nonstarter--to the floor.
  I oppose the very idea that in the 21st century, we are going to 
waste time on a question that has already been answered and shouldn't 
even be up for debate. I oppose the fact that we are still voting on 
whether women and doctors are best equipped to make healthcare 
decisions--or politicians here in Washington, DC. We are still voting 
on whether we should criminalize doctors for making sound medical 
decisions. We are still voting on whether we should turn back the clock 
and put women's lives at risk.
  Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago. We celebrated the anniversary 
of that historic decision last week. I would like to think that after 
almost half a century, we could move on from debating this settled 
issue. Yet here we are.
  In 2015, the Republican leaders stated quite flatly that a vote to 
defund Planned Parenthood would be an exercise in futility because 
there was no way it was going to pass. The same is true of this 
extreme, harmful legislation. Yet here we are.
  Bringing this bill to the floor is an exercise in futility, and 
passing it would be an exercise in cruelty. Just look at the story from 
a Washington State mother, Judy Nicastro. A few years ago, she wrote an 
op-ed in the New York Times, and she courageously shared a story that 
is every expecting woman's worst nightmare. Judy shared her experience 
of learning that one of the twins she was carrying had a lung 
condition. One lung chamber had not formed at all, and the other was 
only 20 percent complete. She wrote:

       My world stopped. I loved being pregnant with twins. . . . 
     The thought of losing one child was unbearable.

  She went on to say:

       The MRI at Seattle Children's Hospital confirmed our fears: 
     the organs were pushed up into our boy's chest and not 
     developing properly. We were in the 22nd week.

  I am grateful her doctors were able to give her sound medical advice. 
I am grateful that she and her husband were able to make the decision 
they felt was best for their own family. And I am so grateful to Judy 
for sharing her story, which represents the incredibly painful decision 
she and so many other women have faced.
  My colleagues might recognize that story. I have shared it before, 
just as Republicans have introduced this deeply harmful legislation 
before. I hope this time the Republicans listen. I hope they will stop 
trying to pretend they are in any way qualified to interfere with 
decisions that a woman has the

[[Page S533]]

constitutional right to make on her own. I hope they will stop trying 
to criminalize a doctor's ability to provide sound medical advice and 
protect the lives of patients. I hope they will stop wasting our time 
with bills that are so out of date, extremely out of touch, and 
obviously unconstitutional.
  But if Republicans will not stop this exercise in futility and their 
attacks on women's rights, they should know that I will not stop 
standing up and making clear exactly why they are wrong. They should 
know I am going to keep fighting for Judy and so many other women and 
their families, and I will keep urging them to work with Democrats on 
the serious challenges that face our Nation--none of which, by the way, 
have to do with trusting women or controlling their healthcare choices.
  I do want to thank the many Democrats who will be joining me here on 
the floor to stand up for women and deliver this same message to our 
Republican colleagues. Again, I hope they listen because Democrats 
would like to get to work.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I want to thank the senior Senator from 
Washington for her leadership on this important issue and for gathering 
women to come to the floor today to talk about the Republican bill that 
has been proposed and that we will be voting on soon.
  When I was a girl growing up in Oklahoma, women got abortions. Make 
no mistake, abortions were illegal back then, but women got them. 
Desperate women turned to back-alley butchers, and some even tried the 
procedure on their own, using coat hangers or drinking turpentine. Some 
were lucky, but some weren't. Some women bled to death. Some died of 
infection. Some were poisoned. And they all went through hell.
  In 1973, the Supreme Court stepped in. Forty-five years after Roe v. 
Wade, abortions are safer than getting your tonsils out. A lot of women 
are alive today because of Roe. Nearly 70 percent of Americans agree, 
Roe v. Wade is worth celebrating.
  I wish I were here today to acknowledge the impact of Roe. Instead, I 
am here to defend it from attack.
  Last week President Trump marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by 
calling for a ban on a rare category of abortions--ones that take place 
after 20 weeks of pregnancy. So today, the Senate is voting on a bill 
to do exactly that.
  Let's be honest about why this vote is happening now. Today's vote is 
happening because politicians who have never been pregnant, who have 
never had an abortion, who have never had to make a wrenching decision 
after learning that the child they are carrying will not survive 
childbirth--those politicians want to score political points at the 
expense of women and their families.
  We are having this vote today because President Trump asked for it. 
If it passes, this unconstitutional bill would put women's lives and 
women's health at risk. Government officials who seek to insert 
themselves between women and their doctors ought to listen to the women 
whose lives are on the line and the doctors who care for them. If they 
were listening right now, we wouldn't be holding this vote.
  Only 1 percent of abortions take place at 21 weeks or later, and the 
reasons are heartbreaking. I have heard from people across 
Massachusetts who shared their devastating stories. The Senate should 
hear these stories.
  One woman who wrote to me explained that she was ecstatic to have a 
second child but learned late in her pregnancy that her daughter's 
brain was severely malformed. She said:

       Being a grown woman with a husband and daughter, I never 
     imagined that I would need to [get an abortion]. But when I 
     learned that the baby I was carrying suffered from a set of 
     severe brain malformations, I faced a binary choice for her: 
     peace or life. . . . I am deeply grateful that I was able to 
     give her the gift of peace.

  She and her husband did what they thought was best for their baby 
girl. They got an abortion in the third trimester.
  Another couple chose to get an abortion at 22 weeks, after learning 
that their son's heart would never fully develop. The husband wrote to 
me:

       His pulmonary veins did not connect to his heart in the 
     right place. He had ventricular septal defect, an atrial 
     septal defect . . . and the left side of his heart was 
     smaller than his right. . . . We hoped to be eligible for in-
     utero heart surgery, but our fetal cardiologists told us that 
     our son's heart could not be fixed. Our little boy--our 
     miracle--wasn't going to make it.

  He described their choice as an act of mercy. He said:

       My wife and I are both pro-life, and we would never 
     encourage an abortion. [But] there isn't a day that I regret 
     what we did because we both believe our child is watching 
     over us from a safer place. There also isn't a day I wonder 
     who else could possibly understand what we went through. No 
     law can save my child from his complex congenital heart 
     disease, or save my wife from her suffering.

  But the bill we are voting on today says that the government should 
have been part of that decision--no, not just part of that decision. It 
would have allowed the government to make that decision, instead of 
leaving the choice to these brokenhearted parents.
  The bill we are considering today would ban all abortions after 20 
weeks, with only limited exceptions. It would force women to carry an 
unviable fetus to term. It would force women with severe health 
complications to stay pregnant until their lives were on the line. 
Whatever you believe about abortion generally, this legislation is 
dangerous and cruel.
  Devastating fetal abnormalities aren't the only reason women get 
abortions after 20 weeks. Some women face so many delays when seeking 
an abortion, like finding a provider, raising money for the procedure, 
and paying for travel costs--so many delays that a procedure they 
wanted earlier in pregnancy gets pushed later and later. These 
logistical hurdles fall hardest on young people, on women of color, and 
on low-income communities.
  What is behind some of these delays? State-level abortion 
restrictions pushed through by Republican legislatures that close down 
clinics and make it harder for women to get access to the care they 
need. You heard that right. Republican-sponsored abortion restrictions 
push women to have abortions later and later, and today, Republicans in 
the Senate push a bill to ban late abortions. It is all connected.
  This bill is only one part of a broad and sustained assault by 
Republican politicians on women's rights to make decisions about their 
own bodies. Through repeated efforts to limit birth control access, to 
defund Planned Parenthood, and to restrict abortions, Republicans are 
chipping away at women's health, women's safety, and women's economic 
independence.
  If Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan or Donald Trump actually wanted to 
reduce abortions, they could embrace policies that would lessen the 
economic pressures of pregnancy and of motherhood. They could act to 
help pregnant women and their babies access healthcare early and often. 
They could help young women avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first 
place.
  Instead, they have spent the last year doing exactly the opposite. 
They have held vote after vote to try to gut the Affordable Care Act 
and Medicaid, when we should be expanding those programs. Affordable 
healthcare, accessible contraceptives, and other programs that support 
working women and families are all under attack. And today, Republican 
politicians want to distract from their hypocrisy with an 
unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban--one that will not pass, that 
ignores the actual experiences of women, and would cause enormous harm 
if it were signed into law.
  Today's vote, which we all know will fail, isn't about policy; it is 
about political theater. But women don't get abortions to prove a 
political point. Reproductive rights are about health. They are about 
safety. And this particular vote about banning abortions at 20 weeks is 
about a bunch of politicians intruding on one of the most wrenching 
decisions that a woman will ever make.
  It has been 45 years since Roe v. Wade; 45 years since women gained 
the constitutional right to a safe, legal abortion; 45 years since the 
days of illegal abortions. I have lived in that America. I have lived 
in the world of back-alley butchers and wrecked lives. And we are not 
going back--not now, not ever.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.

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  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. Madam President, I would like to thank my friend Senator 
Murray for organizing this block of time for us--you have just heard 
from Senator Warren--and for all the work Senator Murray has done to 
fight for women all across the country.
  Today's debate is the latest battle in the continuing assault on a 
women's constitutionally protected right to an abortion. As decided by 
the Supreme Court in Roe and reaffirmed in Casey, the right to an 
abortion is rooted fundamentally in a women's right to privacy, but the 
Supreme Court's recognition of this constitutionally protected right 
has not prevented continuous efforts to limit that right.
  I ask my Republican colleagues who are on a mission to limit a 
woman's constitutional right to choose: What is more private than a 
person's right to her own body--not just to control her body but to 
literally own her body? What could be more private than that? That is 
what is at stake as we debate the bill before us today.
  My home State of Hawaii was the first State in the country to 
legalize abortion, and it continues to be at the forefront of 
protecting, expanding, and preserving this constitutional right. But 
for every law we fought to pass, we have had to fight just as hard to 
beat back a wide range of anti-choice legislation.
  Republican-controlled State legislatures have enacted hundreds of 
limitations on choice. These efforts have not abated in the States or 
even in Congress. Courts have deemed many of these laws 
unconstitutional. That is why Donald Trump and the entire conservative 
movement have prioritized selecting, appointing, and confirming judges 
who are ideologically sympathetic to their views on choice.
  The Trump administration is also eroding this right through Executive 
action. In one prominent example last year, a senior official at the 
Department of Health and Human Services went to court to impose his own 
ideological views to prevent a young woman in his care from obtaining 
an abortion after forcing her to undergo anti-abortion counseling. 
Fortunately, the DC Circuit Court stopped this official from forcing 
this young woman to be pregnant against her will.
  The Republican Congress is complicit as well. Over the past 7 years 
of Republican control, the House and Senate voted to defund Planned 
Parenthood more than 20 times.
  I understand that this is an emotionally charged issue and that each 
of us has strongly held and sincere positions, but it really shouldn't 
be too much to ask for my colleagues to stay out of my private life and 
the private lives of women all across the country. That is called 
respecting each other's views. Why should we institutionally force 
other people who do not share your views to basically have to live with 
your version of the choices that we all ought to be able to make in our 
lives?
  The bill we are debating today would jeopardize the health and safety 
of women by establishing a nationwide ban on abortion care after 20 
weeks. This bill is arbitrary, and it is not meaningfully different 
from the Arizona law deemed unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit in 
2014, a case that the Supreme Court let stand.
  This bill fails to account for the reasons why a woman might seek an 
abortion after 20 weeks, and it restricts the ability of women to make 
the best decisions for themselves and their families.
  This bill includes no exception allowing for abortion in the case 
where the pregnancy is a risk to the woman's health. Instead, a doctor 
would only be able to provide care after establishing that a woman 
would die--would die--or suffer life-threatening injuries without an 
abortion. How cruel can this bill be that the only exception is when a 
woman is about to die before she can get the care she needs?
  To make matters worse, this bill places additional burdens on women 
who survive the horrors of sexual assault. Under this bill, a sexual 
assault survivor must provide written proof she had obtained counseling 
or medical treatment to receive an abortion. However, a woman's own OB/
GYN could not provide this counseling if he or she provides abortion 
services or, even worse, has a practice that provides them.
  Adult women who are able to qualify under these outrageous conditions 
would still have to wait 48 hours before they could receive abortion 
care.
  If the survivor is a minor, the law establishes an additional burden 
to prove she reported the crime to the authorities. According to the 
Department of Justice, only 35 percent of women who are raped and 
sexually assaulted report the crime to the police.
  Victims of incest who are over 18 would also not be specifically 
permitted an exception under this bill.
  This legislation would even threaten doctors with fines and/or 
imprisonment for providing abortion services to women who do not meet 
the bill's narrow exceptions after 20 weeks.
  But the outrage doesn't end there. This bill does not contain an 
exception for cases where a woman's fetus is not developing properly 
and has no chance at living after birth. Many of the women in these 
circumstances desperately wanted the pregnancies they are choosing to 
terminate.
  Last year, I read a moving account from Meredith Isaksen, an English 
instructor at Berkeley City College, who shared her personal and 
heartbreaking story in an essay in the New York Times.
  I ask unanimous consent that a copy of her essay 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, Oct. 20, 2016]

             Late-Term Abortion Was the Right Choice for Me

                         (By Meredith Isaksen)

       Berkeley, CA.--I was 21 weeks pregnant when a doctor told 
     my husband and me that our second little boy was missing half 
     his heart. It had stopped growing correctly around five weeks 
     gestation, but the abnormality was not detectable until the 
     20-week anatomy scan. It was very unlikely that our baby 
     would survive delivery, and if he did, he would ultimately 
     need a heart transplant.
       In the days that followed, after the poking and prodding, 
     after the meetings with pediatric cardiologists, 
     cardiothoracic surgeons and geneticists, my husband and I 
     decided to terminate our pregnancy. I was 22 weeks pregnant 
     when they wheeled me into the operating room, two weeks shy 
     of viability in the state of California.
       For us, the decision was about compassion for our unborn 
     baby, who would face overwhelming and horribly painful 
     obstacles. Compassion for our 2-year-old son, who would 
     contend with hours upon hours in a hospital, missing out on 
     invaluable time spent with his parents, and the death of a 
     very real sibling. It was about compassion for our marriage. 
     Perhaps most important, it was about our belief that 
     parenthood sometimes means we sacrifice our own dreams so our 
     children don't have to suffer.
       As the day of my termination approached and I felt my 
     baby's kicks and wiggles, I simultaneously wanted to crawl 
     out of my skin and suspend us together in time. I wanted him 
     to know how important he was to me, that the well of my grief 
     and love for him would stretch deeper and deeper into the 
     vastness of our family's small yet limitless life. He may 
     have moved inside me for only five months, but he had touched 
     and shaped me in ways I could never have imagined.
       To Donald J. Trump and politicians like him, a late-term 
     abortion is the stuff of '80s slasher films. ``You can take 
     the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother,'' 
     Mr. Trump said during Wednesday night's debate, a description 
     void of consideration for women, medical professionals or the 
     truth. Such politicians would have you believe that women 
     like me shouldn't get to make the choice I made. That our 
     baby, despite his tiny misshapen heart and nonexistent aorta, 
     should have a chance ``to live,'' even though that life might 
     have lasted mere minutes. Even though that life would have 
     been excruciatingly painful. These politicians are ignorant 
     of the sacrifices and blessings that come with carrying a 
     pregnancy (let alone a nonviable pregnancy). They do not 
     understand that a majority of women who have late-term 
     abortions are terminating desperately wanted pregnancies.
       I am fortunate to live in a state that allows abortions 
     after 20 weeks. At least 13 states restrict such procedures; 
     15 more have moved to defund Planned Parenthood, where many 
     low-income women go for reproductive care.
       Many women have made the kind of difficult decision I had 
     to make. When it happens to you, they come out of the 
     woodwork. Friends, neighbors, colleagues. A friend of my 
     mother-in-law said to me early on, ``You will always carry 
     this loss, but someday, it won't define you.''
       As the two-year anniversary of my abortion approaches, I 
     can say without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right 
     decision for our family--and that our government has 
     absolutely no place in the anguish which accompanies a late-
     term abortion, except to ensure that women and their families 
     have the right to make their choice safely and privately.

[[Page S535]]

       Saying goodbye to our boy was the single most difficult and 
     profound experience of my life, and the truth is, it has come 
     to define me. Today I am a better mother because of him. I am 
     a better wife, daughter and friend. He made me more 
     compassionate and more patient. He taught me to love with 
     reckless abandon, despite the knowledge that I could lose it 
     all.
       We named him Lev, the Hebrew word for heart.

  Ms. HIRONO. Meredith was 21 weeks pregnant when she learned that her 
second baby boy was missing half of his heart. It had stopped growing 
properly at around 5 weeks, but it wasn't detectable until her 20-week 
anatomy scan. Meredith's decision to terminate her pregnancy was an 
agonizing one, but as she weighed her options, she reflected on the 
meaning of compassion, and she said:

       For us, the decision was about compassion for our unborn 
     baby, who would face overwhelming and horribly painful 
     obstacles. Compassion for our 2-year-old son, who would 
     contend with hours upon hours in a hospital, missing out on 
     invaluable time spent with his parents, and the death of a 
     very real sibling. It was about compassion for our marriage. 
     Perhaps most important, it was about our belief that 
     parenthood sometimes means we sacrifice our own dreams so our 
     children don't have to suffer.

  Meredith asserted--and I agree--that our government has no place in 
the anguish that accompanied her decision to have an abortion.
  Meredith closed her essay with a very poignant reflection on her own 
experience 2 years later. She wrote:

       Saying goodbye to our boy was the single most difficult and 
     profound experience of my life, and the truth is, it has come 
     to define me. Today I am a better mother because of him. I am 
     a better wife, daughter and friend. He made me more 
     compassionate and more patient. He taught me to love with 
     reckless abandon, despite the knowledge that I could lose it 
     all.

  Meredith and her husband named him Lev, the Hebrew word for 
``heart.''
  Meredith was fortunate in that she lived in a State that permitted 
abortions past 20 weeks. Thirteen States have established a 20-week 
abortion ban, and the women living in those States have suffered as a 
result. Think about all the Merediths in those 13 States and many 
others.
  Recently, I heard from Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, an OB/GYN who has 
practiced medicine in Texas, which has a 20-week abortion ban, and in 
Hawaii, a State that has strong protections for women seeking to 
exercise their constitutional right to an abortion. Her experience 
clarifies why it is so urgent that we defeat this bill.
  Dr. Moayedi shared a story of a young woman in her town who sought 
medical treatment at a medical provider after her water broke at 22 
weeks. This was in Texas. Although she desperately wanted her 
pregnancy, her fetus was not viable outside the womb. Because of the 
Texas law, this patient's doctors were unable to counsel her on all 
medically appropriate options, such as immediate delivery. As she 
became increasingly ill, the patient requested an abortion to prevent 
her condition from getting worse. The doctors on her case refused. 
After spending 2 weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, this woman 
was transferred to Dr. Moayedi's care, where she ultimately had to have 
both her hands and feet amputated due to severe infection. She also 
lost her baby.
  Dr. Moayedi recently moved from Texas to Hawaii, where she now 
provides lifesaving abortion care to women at all stages of pregnancy.
  Recently, Dr. Moayedi had a patient with a desired pregnancy who was 
flown in from a neighbor island for management of her pre-viable labor. 
Despite the expert, specialist care she received, the patient's water 
broke at 22 weeks. At that point, there was nothing Dr. Moayedi could 
do to prevent labor. Because abortion is legal after 20 weeks in 
Hawaii, Dr. Moayedi was able to provide lifesaving abortion care for 
her patient and prevent her from developing a massive infection.
  Dr. Moayedi put it plainly in her note: ``Restrictions on abortion 
care endanger the lives of my patients.''
  ``Restrictions on abortion care endanger the lives of my patients.'' 
And that is exactly what this bill will do. It will endanger the lives 
of millions of women in this country who do not--who do not--make the 
decision to have an abortion after 20 weeks lightly. As my colleague 
from Massachusetts said, most abortions take place before 20 weeks.
  We are passing a cruel, unconscionable, and indeed unconstitutional 
law. Why are we doing that? Why these continuing attacks on a woman's 
health, her economic well-being, and her ability to control her own 
body?
  I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this unconscionable bill.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Madam President, I join my colleagues on the floor 
today to speak in opposition to the pending legislation to outlaw 
abortion procedures after 20 weeks.
  This is yet another extreme effort to allow the government to 
interfere in the healthcare decisions that should be strictly between a 
woman and her family and her physician. This latest attempt is 
particularly dangerous. It would impose prison sentences of up to 5 
years on physicians who don't fulfill the law's deliberately burdensome 
requirements for documentation and reporting, and it would even impose 
a prison sentence of up to 5 years on doctors who fail to inform a law 
enforcement agency about another doctor who fails to meet the law's 
requirements. Viewed more broadly, this bill is part of a continuing 
campaign to take away women's constitutional right to privacy--a right 
that protects profoundly personal decisions concerning our bodies and 
our families.

  I remember very well the days prior to 1973, when abortion was 
outlawed in most States. An estimated 1.2 million women each year 
resorted to illegal abortions, typically performed in unsanitary 
conditions by unlicensed practitioners and often resulting in 
infection, hemorrhage, and even death. Well, I think women remember 
those days, and we are not going back.
  As Governor of New Hampshire in 1997, I signed into law a bill that 
repealed our State's archaic law that dated back to 1848 and made 
abortion a felony. Like that 1848 law, the legislation now before the 
Senate would also threaten physicians with criminal charges and 
imprisonment.
  Abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare. Indeed, almost 99 
percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks. When an abortion is needed 
later in pregnancy, it typically involves very complex, life-
threatening, and heartbreaking circumstances--for example, the 
discovery of a severe and likely fatal abnormality, as described by 
Senator Hirono. In these difficult circumstances, a woman consults with 
her doctor and with other people she trusts. A woman needs the freedom 
to consider every medical option, including serious risks to her own 
life.
  The extremely narrow exceptions in the bill before us--exceptions if 
the pregnancy results from rape or incest--are deliberately designed to 
impose burdens, complications, and shame on women who have chosen to 
terminate a pregnancy. The victim must provide written verification 
that she has obtained counseling or medical treatment from a very 
specific list of ``medical providers'' who do not provide abortions and 
who are often strongly anti-abortion. This requirement is a completely 
unnecessary burden on a woman who is already dealing with a crisis. It 
is also insulting and condescending to all women. We are not children 
who need guidance from an adult. We can consult those we choose to 
consult, and we can make our own decisions. To impose this requirement 
in this crude manner is something right out of a handmaid's tale.
  Then, if the rape victim is a minor, she is allowed access to an 
abortion only if she can provide proof that she reported the crime to 
law enforcement. Again, this is completely out of touch with the real 
world. Only a small percentage of sexual assaults and rapes are 
reported to police. Nearly 80 percent of rape and sexual assault 
victims know their offender.
  So let's say this plainly. The reporting requirements in this bill 
are an outrageous attempt to judge and shame women and girls who have 
been victims of a violent crime.
  I heard from Rachel, who is a registered, board-certified nurse in 
New Hampshire. She told me that bills to impose blanket rules and 
arbitrary limitations--bills like the one before the Senate today--are 
out of touch with the reality she sees in her practice every day. 
Rachel said:

       While procedures at 20 weeks and beyond certainly comprised 
     a small portion of the

[[Page S536]]

     care we provided, it was absolutely critical for those that 
     needed it. Many pregnancies are not surveyed with ultrasound 
     until 19-20 weeks, at which time previously unforeseen 
     complications can be detected. Then, there are often further 
     procedures needed to finalize a diagnosis and a prognosis. 
     For people who receive devastating news about a pregnancy 
     after 20 weeks, abortion may be the best option, and they 
     deserve access to that care.

  The American Medical Association opposes this bill. The AMA says: We 
``strongly condemn any interference by the government or other third 
parties that causes a physician to compromise his or her medical 
judgment as to what information or treatment is in the best interest of 
the patient.''
  I urge my colleagues to respect the women of this country and their 
right to make their own healthcare decisions without the unwelcome 
involvement of politicians and law enforcement agencies. Let's reject 
this partisan, extreme, and, frankly, unnecessary legislation today. 
Then, let's focus our bipartisan attention on the urgent business of 
passing a budget, funding our military, combating the opioid crisis, 
and the other needs that this country faces.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Madam President, today is a proud day but also a 
painful one for me. I am proud because I am honored and proud to join 
my distinguished colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen, and 
others on the floor. I was proud to join Connecticut organizations and 
advocates this morning in Hartford for a rally that involved Planned 
Parenthood of Southern New England, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, the 
Women's March of Connecticut, AIDS Connecticut, and the Center for 
Medicare Advocacy. These groups are proud and steadfast and have strong 
activists who joined me to support a woman's right to determine her 
medical future, the right of privacy, and the constitutional right to 
be left alone, as one of the Supreme Court Justices once called it.
  It was a proud moment for me also because it reminded me of my days 
as a law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun, who was the author of Roe v. 
Wade and who taught me the constitutional principle that underlies a 
woman's right to determine her own healthcare decisions.
  Harry Blackmun was a Republican appointee. He was a Republican before 
he became a jurist. But there was nothing partisan for him--and there 
should be nothing partisan for us--about this decision. I am tempted to 
call this 20-week abortion ban a Republican proposal, but when I think 
about the Republicans I know--and especially Justice Harry Blackmun, 
whom I revered--there is nothing Republican about this proposal. There 
is nothing partisan about a proposal that seeks to interfere in this 
fundamental right of privacy. It is an extremist, rightwing proposal 
that happens to have been brought here by 46 of our Republican 
colleagues--all of them men, except two--who are essentially trying to 
tell the women of America what to do with their own bodies, when to 
have children or not. That is fundamentally unconstitutional. It flies 
in the face of Roe v. Wade and all of its progeny. It is a restriction 
that has been struck down when adopted at the State level in at least 
two courts, and the others that have adopted similar proposals will be 
struck down, in my view, as well.
  The consensus of the medical community, the legal community, and 
ordinary citizens, particularly women, is that women have reproductive 
rights that would be violated, dramatically and directly, by this 
proposal. It violates those rights for totally baseless reasons--
policies founded on falsehoods. It is another excuse for rightwing 
dogma and ideology, out of touch with America, to seek to put opponents 
at a political disadvantage. It is transparently a political ploy.
  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists--the doctors 
who are most qualified to present scientific, evidence-based facts--
disagree with the assertions and falsehoods that fetuses can feel pain 
at 20 weeks. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and 
Gynecologists wrote--and I am quoting directly from medical experts on 
fetal health:

       Sound health policy is best based on scientific fact and 
     evidence-based medicine. The best healthcare is provided free 
     of governmental interference in the patient-physician 
     relationship. Personal decision-making by women and their 
     doctors should not be replaced by political ideology.

  Worse than the fabrications behind this bill are the very real 
consequences that will come if it is passed. This nationwide abortion 
ban would provide virtually no adequate exception when a woman's health 
is at risk, when there are fetal anomalies or when there are dangers to 
the health and well-being of a mother who is sick; or if her life is 
threatened, this bill fails to guarantee that she has access to the 
healthcare that she needs. If there is a fetal anomaly and a woman 
learns that her child will be born with significant impairments or, 
worse yet, a short life filled with pain, it would force her to carry 
that child to term. If a woman is advised that her child will not 
survive pregnancy at all, the most personal medical decisions of her 
life would be usurped by a cruel, heartless, unconscionable, 
unconstitutional law. She would be deprived of the right to make those 
decisions with her family, her clergy, her doctors.
  The American public disagrees strongly with this potential law, as 
does the medical community, and individual doctors who have real-life 
experiences disagree strongly with it as well. One doctor who practices 
in Connecticut told me that for patients who are treated in that office 
who choose to get an abortion after 20 weeks, it is oftentimes ``an 
agonizing decision, an unexpected one, and too often a lonely one--a 
decision that is deeply personal and altering.''
  For many women, he told me, medical tests show a devastating issue 
with a future child. ``A joyous event becomes a tragic one, as they 
learn of a lethal condition, or a syndrome that will lead to a brief 
life of suffering.''
  I could quote other doctors. I could quote women who have been 
through this experience. But without exaggerating, it is one of the 
most deeply difficult, personal decisions that women have a right to 
make, without the interference of a politician, an insurance 
bureaucrat, or anyone else in positions of authority. It is their 
decision.
  Congress must keep its hands off women's healthcare. To my 
colleagues, keep your hands off of women's healthcare. It is their 
lives and their well-being and their personal privacy that are at 
stake.
  I am going to continue to fight this ban, painfully, because its 
consequences would be so cruel, but also because it is certainly not 
the Republican Party that I know that would advocate for it. It 
certainly should not be partisan in any way, and it certainly should 
not even be before us in this great Chamber, which has such respect and 
such a profound role in our Constitution. To consider violating the 
Constitution so dramatically is a disservice to this great body.

  I yield the floor.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Madam President, I join many of my colleagues in 
voicing my strong opposition to S. 2311, the 20-week abortion ban bill. 
This legislation puts political ideology ahead of women's health and 
tramples on women's constitutional rights.
  First, the 20-week abortion ban intrudes on private healthcare 
decisions. Reproductive health choices are highly personal and 
individualized and should be left squarely in the hands of women in 
consultation with their physician, healthcare team, and loved ones. S. 
2311 violates this principle by subjecting private healthcare choices 
to an arbitrary and unscientific blanket ban.
  Second, the 20-week abortion ban violates the longstanding 
constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. In 1973, a 7-2 majority 
of the U.S. Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that the constitutional 
right to privacy includes the right to terminate a pregnancy. Since 
then, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected bans on abortions 
before viability, which generally occurs well after 20 weeks of 
pregnancy. Today, 7 in 10 Americans support upholding Roe v. Wade.
  A diverse coalition of Americans--including physicians, civil rights 
advocates, and faith organizations--has come out against this 
legislation for a number of reasons. The American Congress of 
Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of

[[Page S537]]

Nurse-Midwives, for instance, have said that the legislation ``. . . 
would dictate how physicians should care for their patients based on 
inaccurate and unscientific claims.'' The American Civil Liberties 
Union has said this legislation ``. . . directly contradicts 
longstanding precedent holding that a woman should `be free from 
unwarranted governmental intrusion' when deciding whether to continue 
or terminate a pre-viability pregnancy.'' And Three dozen faith-based 
organizations have written in opposition to this legislation, saying, 
``The proper role of government in the United States is not to 
privilege one set of religious views over others but to protect each 
person's right and ability to make decisions according to their own 
beliefs and values.''
  We should be working to open up access to reproductive healthcare for 
more women and families, not fewer. Effective family planning services, 
including birth control, have a proven record of boosting health and 
economic mobility while reducing unwanted pregnancies.
  The U.S. Senate has urgent priorities to address. We should not be 
wasting time on another misguided attempt to take away women's 
healthcare and constitutional rights. I strongly oppose S. 2311.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I rise today to express my opposition to 
the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This blatant attempt to 
ban later abortion undermines decades of legal precedent and directly 
challenges the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The Supreme 
Court made clear that women in this country have a constitutional right 
to autonomy over their individual health and well-being. If passed, 
this bill would impose burdensome and medically unnecessary limitations 
on women, particularly those in low-income, medically underserved 
areas.
  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 99 
percent of abortions are performed before 21 weeks of pregnancy. Many 
of the abortions that are performed after 20 weeks are medically 
necessary because the mother's health is at risk or because of a fetal 
anomaly. This bill has no exception to protect a woman's health and no 
exception for cases where there is a fetal anomaly.
  This bill harms women who are victims of sexual assault and minors 
who are the victims of incest. It requires rape victims to provide 
written proof that the victim obtained counseling or medical treatment 
from a specified list of locations, and it requires the minor to 
provide written proof that she reported the crime to law enforcement or 
a government agency.
  These provisions are designed to perpetuate a culture of not 
believing women and trying to discredit the victims of sexual assault.
  To make matters even worse, this bill punishes doctors by threatening 
them with 5 years of jail time for violating the ban. This bill, if 
passed, will take women back to the days of back-alley abortions, where 
doctors were in fear of providing lifesaving, medically necessary 
procedures to women and where women were forced to take drastic and 
dangerous measures in order to have the procedure performed.
  Many of my Republican colleagues talk about keeping Big Government 
out of people's lives, but when it comes to one of the hardest and most 
intimate decisions a woman can make--a decision that she wishes to make 
between herself, her family, and her doctor--these same colleagues 
believe that the government, and not the woman, knows better. They 
believe that the government, and not the woman, should dictate what a 
woman should do with her body. They believe that the government should 
have the power to force a woman to forgo a medically necessary 
procedure. They believe that a woman should be stripped of that power, 
stripped of the choice of what is best for herself.
  Empowering women is one of the most important things we can do for 
the future of our country. Core to women's constitutional liberties is 
autonomy over their own health and well-being. In order to truly 
support women, we need to safeguard and improve, not limit, access to 
comprehensive healthcare, including abortion.
  For all of these reasons, I will be opposing S. 2311.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Madam President, as we vote this evening on the Pain-
Capable Child Protection Act, I speak to the bill as a doctor who 
practiced in a hospital for the uninsured for decades. I mention 
working in a hospital for the uninsured because the uninsured are 
vulnerable, but if the uninsured are vulnerable, among those, the 
uninsured pregnant woman is particularly vulnerable. If we are to say 
she is particularly vulnerable, then we can say her unborn child is 
most vulnerable of all. So I speak to these folks with that background.
  Our country has struggled to find a balance between those of us who 
are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. As a pro-life doctor, I 
think the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act strikes a balance. 
Again, as a physician, let me say it is an obligation--our society's 
obligation--to care for the woman who is pregnant. Again, she is among 
the most vulnerable. Her child is the future of our society.
  We all agree to this. You can see we agree because our social 
programs provide a safety net both for her and her unborn child. 
Example: Society pays for well-baby visits through Medicaid or through 
special programs for women if they are uninsured. If that child is born 
healthy, then he or she is more likely to be a healthy person, to 
contribute to society, to have life, liberty, and be able to pursue 
happiness.
  Those of us who are pro-life and pro-choice can differ when the child 
within the womb deserves protection as a distinct human, but society 
has agreed at some point that protection is allowed. Again, I am pro-
life. I think the protection should be when the child is conceived, but 
right now the law is divided.
  If a pregnant woman and her child were killed by a reckless driver, 
there are two counts of manslaughter filed against that reckless 
driver--one way society acknowledges the life within the womb.
  On one hand, let's be clear, a woman has the right to terminate that 
pregnancy at another point in the pregnancy. On the other hand, 
partial-birth abortion says that child's life cannot be terminated when 
she is coming through the birth canal. I think the rationale for this 
is that as a child comes through the birth canal, we recognize that 
child can live independently, if allowed to proceed. If you will, the 
criteria is: Does the child have the ability to live independently from 
the mother? Again, I think that is the rationale for the partial-birth 
abortion ban.
  As it turns out, a child who is 5 months old within the womb has the 
ability to live independently. Again, I speak as a physician. When you 
see a baby in the womb at 5 months, it is incredible.
  A friend of mine who works for me--actually, he and his wife are 
expecting now, and they are excited. They went and got the ultrasound, 
and they saw the child sucking on his thumb or her thumb--they don't 
know or they don't want to know. Nonetheless, it is marvelous what they 
see inside--the child. You can see him yawning, stretching. At 18 
weeks, you can find out if it is a boy or a girl--and, thanks to modern 
medicine and the amazing neonatal intensive care doctors and nurses we 
have in this country, babies delivered as early as 20 to 22 weeks can 
survive and live healthy lives, perhaps one day to become the Presiding 
Officer in the Senate of the United States.
  In recent years, medical research has shown that unborn children can 
feel pain as early as 20 weeks after they are conceived. As a doctor, I 
have to look at the scientific evidence we have when it comes to the 
beginning of life. At 20 weeks, studies have provided strong evidence 
that babies can feel pain despite the fact that the nerve connections 
between the different parts of the brain are still developing. That is 
why fetal anesthesia is routinely administered when unborn children 
require surgery in the womb.
  By the way, doctors know this. I just got a letter from the Louisiana 
Academy of Family Physicians. One of their folks, Dr. Gravois, called 
me last night. Here is a statement from their letter:

       Representing more than 1,900 physicians, including active 
     practicing physicians, residents in training and medical 
     student members, as well as the patients in Louisiana, the 
     Louisiana Academy of Family physicians

[[Page S538]]

     is the voice of family medicine in Louisiana. As advocates 
     for our patients, in August of 2015, the LAFP Congress of 
     Delegates passed the following resolution on Late Term 
     Abortions:
       Resolved, that the LAFP is against performing elective 
     abortions 20 weeks and after, and further be it Resolved . . 
     . .

  It goes on, but that is the take-home point. Family physicians take 
care of both the mother and her child, the totality of it.
  By the way, I will say this bill includes explicit--explicit--
exceptions when a mother's life is at risk or in cases of rape and 
incest, again, attempting to strike society's balance between those of 
us who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice.
  Versions of this law have already been passed in 20 States, including 
my State of Louisiana, but all babies who feel pain deserve the same 
protection. Most Americans agree, even some who believe abortion should 
be legal. Polls show that majorities of women, Independents, and 
Democrats support this protection. So I hope my colleagues will join in 
supporting this commonsense, humane legislation.
  It is estimated this bill will protect 12,000 to 18,000 babies per 
year. Protecting unborn babies who can feel pain is the right thing to 
do. Protecting their right to life is the right thing to do.
  I urge my colleagues to vote for this important legislation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Madam President, I am grateful for the comments the 
Senator from Louisiana just shared. He is a physician. I am not a 
physician. I am a chemical engineer, and I believe it is important, as 
the Senator from Louisiana believes, that we look at science when we 
have this debate about abortion.
  Our Nation loses anywhere between 13,000 and 18,000 children a year 
to late-term abortion. The numbers of children aborted overall are well 
over 600,000. The focus on the debate today and on the vote coming up 
this evening is on late-term abortion.
  I remember a few months ago having a discussion with a young man, a 
father of several children, about abortion. We were just two guys 
chatting, having a snack in the kitchen. He brought up a question--he 
didn't come from a pro-life perspective--and he asked my views.
  He said: Let me ask you a question. At what point should an abortion 
be legal? We took it out to the very end of gestation. If the baby is 
literally ready to be delivered, should an abortion be allowed at that 
moment? He said: Of course not.
  OK. Well, let's back it up a day. What about if you are 8 months and 
28 days, should abortion be allowed in that situation? Well, of course 
not. That is way too close to the actual date of giving birth.
  So we kind of moved upstream toward conception. So where do you draw 
the line?
  I believe that life begins at conception because that is that magical 
moment when a life begins, when unique DNA is created, but I realize it 
is a very contentious issue in our Nation. So one line we can draw is 
at 20 weeks, and I will talk about why I think 20 weeks is a place we 
can start to get bipartisan support to stop late-term abortions.
  In fact, this young man I was chatting with teared up, and he said: 
Steve, you realize that when we were pregnant with one of our 
daughters--they have five children--at about 10 or 12 weeks they had a 
test run because it looked like there may be an abnormality in the baby 
and the doctor recommended an abortion.
  He said: What is the alternative? We can wait a few more weeks, when 
we have a better idea of what is going on there with that little baby, 
but it puts the mother at perhaps a greater risk.
  They decided to wait a few more weeks. A few weeks later when they 
came back with the test, the baby came back clear, and they now have a 
healthy, beautiful young girl who is 5 years old. With tears in his 
eyes, he said: I am so glad we chose not to abort; that we chose life.
  At 20 weeks, babies have 10 fingers and 10 toes. They can suck their 
thumb. They can yawn. They can stretch. They can make faces. Science 
also shows these babies are capable of feeling pain.
  I became a first-time dad 28 years ago. I still remember taking David 
to his first well-baby appointment, when Cindy and I would go to the 
pediatrician and get those well-baby checks. When they would give them 
shots--I think the hardest part as a parent is to see that nurse or 
doctor give a shot to your little one. Those cries of pain were 
excruciating for Cindy and for me. He doesn't remember it. We remember 
it. It may indeed hurt us more than it hurt him at the time, but he 
felt pain.
  My heart breaks for those thousands of babies who are able to feel 
pain as they are losing their life to abortion. Our ears may be deaf to 
their cries physically, but we don't have to live in ignorance, not 
when research, not when the science, not when common sense shows that 
these unborn children can feel pain.
  There is a reason unborn babies are given anesthesia with fetal 
surgery. That is why we must pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child 
Protection Act. It is unconscionable as a nation we are allowing unborn 
children as old as 20 weeks--5 months--well beyond halfway of the 9-
month gestation period--that we allow them to be killed today in this 
country.
  In fact, do a Google search for ``20 weeks.'' You don't have to type 
in ``baby.'' Just type in ``20 weeks.'' If you are watching this and 
have a smartphone, a computer, type in ``20 weeks'' in the Google 
search bar there and hit search or enter. Then, take a look at the 
pictures that come up that match the simple term ``20 weeks.'' This is 
one of the pictures you will see when you Google that.
  I believe there is a principle that people believe what they discover 
for themselves. What is happening right now is--because of technology, 
because of the precision and the clarity of ultrasounds today, what we 
can see now in the womb is incredible. It is no wonder the attitudes of 
millennials--those ages 18 to 24--in the last 6 years are becoming 
increasingly more pro-life, in fact up 9 points, from 44 percent to 53 
percent. I think part of the reason is in the hands of their 
smartphone. When you take a look at the images, how can you say that is 
not a baby? That is a 20-week baby. We are on a horrible list of just 
seven countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks. China and 
North Korea join the United States on that list.
  Before I got involved in politics and public service, I worked in the 
private sector for 28 years. One of the companies I worked for was 
Proctor & Gamble. While at Proctor & Gamble, I was asked to go to China 
to help launch operations there to produce and sell products, Americans 
brands, to the Chinese consumer.
  I had a large operation. One day, one of my managers--a young man, 
Chinese, wonderful, very bright, very capable, one of our future stars. 
He and his wife were both P&G employees, both Chinese.
  He said: Steve, I need to go to the police station this afternoon. I 
said: Well, is there something wrong? He goes: Well, no. It is going to 
be OK. Then he kind of looked away.
  I said: But you are asking for time off of work to go to the police 
station. Is there something I can help you with or is there something 
wrong?
  He said: Well, my wife and I did not have permission from the police 
to get pregnant--with the one-child policy then.
  He said: We just discovered that she is pregnant.
  I said: Well, do you want to keep the baby?
  He said: Oh, we want to keep that baby. We are very excited about it. 
But we won't be allowed to keep that baby.
  I said: What can I do?
  At this moment, we were focused on saving that baby.
  He said to me: What might help is a case of shampoo.
  We were there producing brands like Pantene, Vidal Sassoon, Crest 
toothpaste, Tide detergent. I arranged to get a case of shampoo and 
gave it to him.
  He came back the next day, with a smile on his face, and said: We got 
the problem resolved.
  They became parents of a beautiful little girl who today is an 
amazing young woman.
  As an American citizen, I believe in our founding principle that all 
men and

[[Page S539]]

women are endowed by their Creator--with a capital ``C''--with certain 
unalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit 
of happiness.
  As a person of faith, I believe--and those who are people of faith--
we are called to help the most vulnerable in our society. As a Senator, 
it is my honor to support this legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn 
Child Protection Act.
  I thank my colleague Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma for his 
leadership on this issue. I urge the rest of my colleagues to join us 
in standing up and protecting those who do not have a voice on the 
floor of the U.S. Senate this afternoon and join us in protecting human 
life.
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mr. SASSE. Madam President, as we consider this legislation to 
protect 20-week-old babies who feel pain, I want to ask my friends in 
this body to put aside whip counts and score cards, politics and 
reelection, and let's talk today simply about beauty and about science.
  We love beauty. Beauty calls us. Beauty inspires us. Beauty 
captivates us. It is part of what makes us human. It is not surprising 
that there is almost nothing more universal on this Earth, almost 
nothing more beautiful, than our natural impulse to care for a little 
baby.
  We all start in the same place--vulnerable and dependent in every 
way. We all ``ooh'' and ``aah'' over sonogram pictures of our children, 
our grandchildren, our nieces, our nephews, even sonogram pictures from 
a stranger on a bus or a plane. We all ``ooh'' and ``aah'' in the same 
way. When we look at those pictures, we love. We love. You don't have 
to be taught this. You don't have to be conditioned to love. You don't 
have to be conditioned to know that we should help the vulnerable. This 
isn't because of economics. This isn't because of politics. We love 
because they are babies. You don't need anyone to explain this to you. 
Every one of us has experienced this when we have seen the sonogram 
pictures. We should note that this love is not just a feeling; it is 
also built on and backed up by facts.
  As we consider whether these unborn babies--having been carried by 
their mamas for almost 5 months--deserve legal protection, whether they 
deserve our protection, we should think, too, about the science and 
what is becoming clearer year by year and month by month.
  I want to associate myself with the comments of the Senator from 
Montana who preceded me. A huge part of why the millennials are 
becoming more pro-life than the two generations older than they are is 
because they are seeing these sonogram images, and it is changing them 
year by year and month by month.
  I have been on the floor for about 45 minutes today, and I have heard 
many claims about polling and facts that just aren't true. I am not 
here to argue this case and argue how we should vote on this 
legislation because of polls; I am here because we should all love 
babies. That is why we should be doing this. But just at the level of 
polling, there have been claims on the floor today that are absolutely 
not true.
  Younger people are becoming more pro-life, as the Senator from 
Montana said, year over year right now, and it is because of the 
prevalence and the pervasiveness of sonogram technology. This movement, 
the pro-life movement, is ascendant, and it is because people are 
grappling with science, grappling with images, and grappling with the 
reality of that intrinsic feeling we have to love.
  We can and we should appeal to ethics. We can and we should discuss 
human dignity. We should reaffirm intrinsic value. For now, for this 
conversation today, we can limit ourselves to just scientific facts. As 
we consider those facts, I want to respectfully ask my colleagues in 
this Chamber today, where will we draw the line? No one seriously 
disputes that the little girl in that image is alive. No one seriously 
disputes that that little girl is a human being--no one. There is no 
one in this Chamber and there is no one outside this Chamber who has 
ever looked at that sonogram image who will come to the floor and say: 
Do you know the debate I want to have? I want to say that baby is not 
alive and she is not a human.
  Somebody who is going to vote no on the legislation today should come 
to the floor and make that case, say that is not a life and that is not 
a human, because it is not true, and no one believes it.
  The science is clear. We all know and understand that little baby in 
that sonogram image is a unique and separate being. We know she has 
unique DNA from her mother, and she has DNA that is unique from her 
father. The baby apps are now telling new moms and dads-to-be when that 
baby is the size of a sesame seed, then a blueberry, and then an apple. 
With the help of the sonograms, we are now catching pictures of her 
sucking her thumb, flexing her arms and legs, yawning, stretching, 
making faces. Here is what is really new the last couple of years: We 
are catching pictures and images of her responding to voices--familiar 
voices of other human beings that she is already in community with, 
people who are called to love her.
  As early as 20 weeks postfertilization, which is about halfway 
through the pregnancy, scientists and our doctors now tell us that this 
unborn baby can feel pain. In fact, it has become routine procedure of 
late for us to give unborn and premature infants anesthesia for their 
fetal surgeries. Why? This is new. We didn't used to do this. Why do we 
do it? It is because we have new scientific evidence that they feel 
pain. It turns out that babies who are 20 weeks along in gestation are 
pain-capable inside mom's uterus.
  As Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand testified before the Congress, ``The human 
fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks gestation, 
if not earlier, and the pain perceived by the fetus is possibly more 
intense than that perceived by term newborns.''
  Not only can she feel pain, not only do the images show us that she 
recoils from being poked or prodded, advances in modern medicine are 
now helping babies who are born at 22 weeks, at 21 weeks, and at 20 
weeks postfertilization survive outside the womb. The pain that those 
babies feel outside the womb is supporting the evidence that those 
babies also feel pain inside the womb, which leads me to ask my 
friends: Have our hearts grown cold to truth? Have we become 
indifferent to questioning our previously held convictions? Are we 
indifferent to what the science is clearly showing us?
  This body, captive to abortion zealot-activists, might be ignoring 
the sonograms. That might be what is happening in this body today, but 
the American people are actually listening to the science and the 
sonograms. Contrary to those bizarre claims that were made on the floor 
a couple of times over the last hour, a hefty majority--it is not 
close--of Americans support this legislation, including a supermajority 
of women, including most young people, including most Independents, and 
now ticking up just shy of half of all Democrats. This should not be a 
partisan issue, and in the future, it will not be because more and more 
people are looking at these images. It is not going to be a partisan 
issue; it is going to be a bipartisan issue. But you have to tell the 
truth--that those pictures are pictures of babies, and they are alive, 
and they deserve our protection. But have our hearts in this body grown 
cold to the truth?
  We should also not forget the mothers because the pro-life message is 
about being both pro-baby and pro-mother. Late-term abortions are 
actually not safe, even for the mother. Women seeking abortion after 20 
weeks are 35 times more likely to die from an abortion than when done 
in the first trimester--35 times more likely.
  The United States is one of only seven countries on Earth that allow 
elective abortion after 20 weeks, and we are actually tied with only 
three other countries as having the most permissive abortion regime on 
Earth. Do you know who our peers are? North Korea and China. That is 
who our peers are. If our rhetoric about human rights should mean 
anything, it should mean we don't want to be on a ``human rights 
worst'' list with North Korea and China. That is where we are today.
  There are many reasonable people who are going to argue against this 
legislation. They are reasonable in other ways in life, and they want 
to make an argument about the very complicated issues about abortion in 
the

[[Page S540]]

first trimester. There are many reasonable people who can have a 
reasonable debate about that. But when you listen to the arguments 
being made today, they are not actually grappling with today's 
legislation; they are talking about abortion in general. But nobody is 
telling us why we are tied with only China and North Korea as having 
the most permissive abortion regime on Earth.
  My friends, beauty and compassion can stir our hearts, and science 
and facts should still confirm the truth. This legislation--the actual 
legislation we are voting on today--is pro-baby, it is pro-mom, and it 
is pro-science. These little babies, who are capable of feeling pain, 
deserve legal protection. They deserve our protection. I invite--I beg 
my colleagues to join in that conviction and to vote yes on this 
legislation today.
  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I appreciate the opportunity to join so 
many of my colleagues to speak in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn 
Child Protection Act. I thank Senator Graham for his continued 
leadership on this issue. I supported this bill when Senator Graham 
introduced it last Congress, and I am pleased Leader McConnell has 
brought this to a vote.
  Regulating abortion after 20 weeks of conception--when a child can 
feel pain--is a prudent measure that reflects the basic decency of our 
humanity and brings us in line with most of the Western world.
  Science demonstrates that human life begins at conception, and our 
understanding of neonatal development is increasing by the day.
  As a member of the Labor-HHS subcommittee on Appropriations, I have 
championed funding for the National Institute of Health. At the NIH, 
the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has 
advanced our knowledge of pregnancy and development in the womb. Under 
this institute, the Neonatal Research Network has pioneered research 
that has led to techniques that save the lives of children in their 
earliest stages, when these children are at their most vulnerable.
  Such research tells us children who are 20 weeks old--those this bill 
will protect--experience what a newborn will: reacting to noise, 
sucking their thumbs, and, as this bill's title indicates, feeling 
pain. The research has led to advancements in medical care for 
premature babies, and 23 percent of those delivered 20 weeks after 
fertilization can now survive long term outside of the womb. This 
percentage will surely increase as advances in neonatal care continue.
  Despite what we know, the United States is one of only seven 
countries in the world, among nations such as China and Vietnam, that 
permits elective abortion after 20 weeks. As a result, the 
Congressional Budget Office estimates more than 10,000 babies are 
aborted each year after 20 weeks of conception.
  What we can't lose sight of as a society is that, when we are talking 
about abortion, we are talking about the end of the most defenseless of 
human lives. This is true at all stages of pregnancy, regardless of 
whether it is early in the pregnancy or in the late stages, when 
children are more developed and more capable of surviving outside of 
the womb.
  So often we turn to scientific evidence and research to support the 
need for new policies. In this case, the research shows that these 
children have a chance to survive, a chance to grow. They can feel; 
they can move. We cannot ignore these reactions and feelings, which are 
indicative of human life and with them comes the need for legal 
protections--protections we would not hesitate to provide for those 
living outside the womb.
  Indeed, we have laws that treat animals more humanely than unborn 
children. This vote gives the Senate an opportunity to send a message 
showing who we are as leaders and as a society as a whole, one that 
protects the weak and the voiceless, instead of one that permits their 
destruction.
  One in five children who are born at this 20-week stage are capable 
of surviving with suitable care. Rather than be discarded, they are to 
be given every opportunity to fight for the life that we protect for 
them. It is what we instinctively do as parents and as human beings.
  We recoil when we hear of children who are harmed in any manner; yet 
the ability to terminate an unborn child's life when it is viable 
outside of the womb is something that is not only tolerated, but 
passionately defended. If there was anything else claiming the lives of 
10,000 children each year, all 100 of us in the Senate would be 
standing up demanding action to address the matter.
  The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a sensible measure 
that protects the lives of women and children in accord with judicial 
rulings. It has been passed by the House of Representatives, it has the 
support of a majority of Americans--men and women alike--and I call on 
my colleagues to support passage of this life-affirming legislation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.


                       Nomination of David Stras

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, I rise today to strongly support an 
important nomination and also to tell you my position on the 
legislation before the U.S. Senate right now, the one Senator Sasse has 
just spoken eloquently about.
  First, I strongly support the nomination of Minnesota's Supreme Court 
Justice David Stras to serve as a circuit judge on the U.S. Circuit 
Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Second, I strongly support the 
passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I will briefly 
address both of these issues.
  Over the next couple of days, the Senate will vote on whether to 
invoke cloture and then confirm the nomination of Justice David Stras 
to serve on the Eighth Circuit. Justice Stras is eminently qualified 
and exceptionally bright. He has received praise and support from the 
legal profession and across the political spectrum.
  Justice Stras is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. He graduated 
No. 1 in his class from Kansas School of Law in 1999. He served as a 
law clerk to two Federal circuit judges and to a Justice on the U.S. 
Supreme Court. Justice Stras has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court 
since his appointment in 2010. In 2012, he ran for a full 6-year term. 
He handedly defeated his opponent, winning 56 percent of the vote.
  Justice Stras has received wide bipartisan support from the Minnesota 
legal community. He has taught law for many years at the University of 
Minnesota. He also teaches law at the University of Iowa, which is in 
my home State. Many of the faculty, including even liberal professors, 
such as Professor Shelly Kurtz, strongly endorse Justice Stras's 
nomination. His time in the private sector was spent at two highly 
regarded law firms.
  During his service on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Justice Stras has 
participated in over 750 cases. As my colleague Senator Klobuchar 
noted, Justice Stras's judicial record demonstrates that he is 
impartial and apolitical in his writings. Justice Stras has sided with 
the Minnesota Supreme Court majority 94 percent of the time. Justice 
Stras has dissented one-third of the time with then-Justice Alan Page, 
who was the first African-American justice in Minnesota and has a 
record of being very liberal. Former Justice Page strongly endorses 
Justice Stras's nomination to the Eighth Circuit, and four former 
justices from all political stripes also endorsed Justice Stras's 
nomination. This shows me that Justice Stras will not be a rubberstamp 
for any political ideology. I am convinced Justice Stras will rule 
fairly and impartially, finding and applying the law as written, not 
legislating from the bench.

  Justice Stras is a very accomplished and impressive nominee. He has a 
long judicial record of impartiality. I strongly support his 
nomination, and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.
  Madam President, I also come to the floor to urge my colleagues to 
join me in supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. 
This commonsense bill recognizes that the government has an interest in 
protecting our children from the excruciating pain they are capable of 
experiencing during late-term abortions. This is a bill many Americans, 
including a majority of women, broadly support, and it is time we get 
this bill passed.
  As the Judiciary Committee chairman, I convened a hearing on this 
bill in 2016. Three witnesses, including a

[[Page S541]]

Northwestern professor of pediatrics, a woman who survived a botched 
abortion as a baby, and a former abortion provider, offered compelling 
evidence in support of this very important legislation.
  There is also the history of an Iowa boy, Micah Pickering, who is 
living proof that we need to do more to protect unborn babies at this 
stage of development. Micah and his parents visited me in Washington 
last September. They told me that when Micah was born at 20 weeks 
postfertilization, he received intensive care, including medication to 
minimize his pain and discomfort. Babies like Micah, born in the fifth 
month of pregnancy, are capable of feeling such pain. That is why it 
has now become routine procedure to give premature infants anesthesia 
for fetal surgeries.
  How could anyone think these unborn babies would not experience the 
same excruciating pain from abortions when premature babies like Micah, 
from Iowa, are being born at the same stage of development and are 
surviving late term?
  Once again, I call upon my colleagues to support the passage of this 
bill, entitled the ``Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,'' and to 
embrace at the same time the sanctity of an innocent human life.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I join Senator Grassley and my colleagues 
in supporting the bill before us today.
  As we debate this issue, it always seems to be such a defining issue 
in terms of who we are and whom we hope to be. No country in Europe 
allows a pregnancy to be ended this late in the pregnancy. No country 
in Africa allows a pregnancy to be ended this late in the pregnancy. 
Only six other countries in the world allow pregnancies to be ended at 
any time. As I have listened to the debate today, the debate about 20 
weeks, it sounds to me like it wouldn't matter to the opponents of the 
bill if it were at 30 weeks, certainly, or at 21 weeks or at 20. There 
is no week one can pass here.
  The other bill we should vote on, which the House has passed, is the 
born-alive bill. There are people in the country today who actually 
oppose the born-alive bill. When a baby during an abortion process is 
born alive, my understanding is, you can't step in and take the life of 
that living child, but you can all step back from the table, on which 
that baby lies in front of you, and let the baby die.
  Obviously, there is a point at which we are not going to be able to 
talk to each other in a way that apparently will persuade anybody. 
Maybe hearts will not change, and maybe minds will not change in the 
Senate today, but as many of my colleagues have pointed out, they are 
changing in the country. People realize there is a time when that child 
has every opportunity, with a little help, to live independently. That, 
surely, would be too late to end that life in the minds of most people. 
In the minds of younger people? It is more of the view of older people 
that life should be saved, but 63 percent of all Americans say we 
shouldn't continue to allow this to happen.
  Senator Grassley just said and others have said a majority of women, 
a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, a majority of young 
people all believe this is not an acceptable place for us to be. Why 
would we want to be one of seven countries in the world that would 
allow abortion at any time? Why would we want to be one of four 
countries in the world that would allow abortions at a time when it is 
widely accepted that the child being aborted--the life being taken--is 
a child who can feel pain?
  As we come to this point today--and while a majority of Senators, I 
think, will vote for this, though not a big enough majority to put it 
on the President's desk--I think, once again, we have to ask ourselves: 
At what point do our friends on the other side, who clearly disagree 
with us on this issue, feel a life is clearly a life that should be 
saved? Would you vote for the born-alive bill? Would you vote for this 
bill if it were at 25 weeks? Would you vote for this bill if it were at 
28 weeks? I don't hear any of that in the debate. It is just: This is 
not the government's business. At some point, it is the government's 
business. Protecting life is at some point the government's business.
  When the Presiding Officer and at least one other person and I served 
in the House, we changed the law. It was Laci and Conner's Law. When a 
homicide is committed and the woman is pregnant and the child is lost 
also, that is considered in law as a double homicide--two lives having 
been taken at that point, two lives at 20 weeks or at 12 weeks or at 15 
weeks. I am not sure where that threshold begins, but I do know we have 
decided this is not just one crime; that it is two crimes when that 
happens.
  We have an opportunity today to define something that is pretty 
clearly and significantly defining as to who we are as a nation. 
Otherwise, virtually every country in the world wouldn't have stopped 
doing this, if it ever had allowed it to happen in the first place.
  I urge my colleagues to join in passing this bill--in standing up for 
those who cannot defend themselves--and to understand that harm is 
done, and when harm is done in this way, our society is harmed by that 
harm.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Moran). The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. WICKER. Mr. President, the Senator from Nebraska has generously 
allowed me to intrude on her time for a half a minute to say that I 
strongly support this legislation--the Pain-Capable Unborn Child 
Protection Act.
  Science is on our side in supporting this legislation, and public 
opinion is on our side in supporting this legislation. There are 60 
percent of women, 64 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of 
Democrats who support ending late-term abortions, which is what we are 
trying to do. Medical practice is on our side in this legislation, and 
world opinion and world practice are on our side.
  Let me simply reiterate that we in America are among a grim group of 
seven countries who permit abortions after 20 weeks--Canada and the 
Netherlands in the West and then China, North Korea, Singapore, and 
Vietnam. We are in a grim group that includes North Korea and China. We 
may not have the votes this time, but we are advancing the issue, and 
we are going to continue to fight for the unborn, particularly those 
who are capable of feeling pain after 20 weeks.
  I thank the Senate for its time, and I particularly thank the Senator 
from Nebraska for indulging me for a moment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, over my time in public service, I have 
been committed to supporting commonsense, pro-life measures that offer 
empathy for women and for unborn children. Too often, women experience 
despair and pain and judgment from others during unplanned pregnancies. 
We should offer compassion for these expectant mothers, and they need 
to know we will continue to support them in the challenging years 
ahead. We should also be willing to protect the most innocent among us, 
the unborn, who can feel pain and have the chance at viability.
  I rise to discuss the bill that the Senate will consider shortly--the 
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
  This is a reasonable bill that has the support of 47 Senators. This 
kind of legislation has passed in many States, including in my own. My 
State of Nebraska has a proud tradition of being pro-life. We were the 
first State in the country to pass a 20-week abortion ban. The bill 
before us today would enact the same policy at the Federal level, and 
doing so makes sense.
  As a State senator, I was a strong supporter and cosponsor of that 
legislation. It passed in Nebraska because we focused on areas of 
agreement, and like the bill we are debating today, the legislation 
provided exceptions for rare and dangerous circumstances. This bill 
passed overwhelmingly in Nebraska by a vote of 44 to 5, and it had the 
support from pro-choice and pro-life senators from both parties--
Republicans and Democrats.
  The enduring support for this kind of legislation across the country 
and the world is pretty easy to understand, in that it is a righteous 
cause that is based on science. It states that abortions during the 
sixth month of pregnancy should only be allowed in moments of extreme 
danger and with exceptions.

[[Page S542]]

  Basic embryology shows that the human nervous system is developed 
within the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. Our sensory receptors for pain 
are developed around the mouth as early as 10 weeks and are present in 
the skin and mucosal surfaces 20 weeks into gestation. The connections 
between the spinal cord and the thalamus--the part of the human body 
that deals with pain perception--is present at 20-weeks' gestation as 
well. None of this is debatable. It is a fact.
  We also know babies have been born and have survived and thrived 
before the current 24-week limit. In March of 2017, the academic 
journal Pediatrics discussed a girl in Dallas who, in 2014, was born at 
21-weeks' gestation. Today, she is a typical, happy 3-year-old who is 
living her life to the fullest and has a bright future ahead of her.
  Over time, views on this divisive issue have evolved toward the side 
of pro-life policies because, as we gain more knowledge about pregnancy 
and gestation, we understand the humanity of the unborn. We recognize 
them as the people they are--and this movement is on the rise. Nearly 
two-thirds of Americans support legislation prohibiting abortion into 
the sixth month of pregnancy. This includes almost 80 percent of the 
millennial generation--those most likely to be affected by such 
restrictions. It is gaining momentum because it is a movement backed by 
science. It is a movement of truth, and it is a movement of love.

  We have an opportunity to join together and support the basic truth 
that all life is sacred. We should protect the child in the womb, 
especially when he or she can feel pain. We can make a statement that 
every person is deserving of life and deserving of love.
  I believe that life is a gift from God--a gift to be lovingly 
cherished. I ask my colleagues to support this reasonable piece of 
legislation.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, in the last few years, I have watched 
attempt after attempt to restrict a woman's right to choose. This 
legislation bans a woman's access to abortion after 20 weeks of 
pregnancy, regardless of the risk to her health, and it weakens the 
protections for women who are victims of rape and incest. It would also 
allow for criminal prosecution of doctors and nurses who provide 
healthcare to a woman in these most difficult circumstances.
  For years we have seen politicians at the Federal and State levels 
push to limit a woman's access to reproductive healthcare. The goal is 
to completely eviscerate this right. From 2010 to 2016, States adopted 
334 restrictions on women's access to comprehensive reproductive 
healthcare. These include laws that require mandatory waiting periods 
which have no medical basis, force doctors to give patients inaccurate 
medical information, and restrict access to contraceptives.
  In just 1 year, the Trump administration has attempted to restrict 
women's access to birth control, attempted to defund Planned 
Parenthood, supported legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act 
and its protections for women's health, created new government offices 
to undermine women's healthcare, and nominated judges who openly oppose 
women's privacy rights under Roe v. Wade.
  This bill is yet another attempt to harm women by criminalizing their 
healthcare, even threatening the doctors who care for them with years 
in prison.
  Think of a pregnant woman who is planning for her family's future, 
and then something goes terribly wrong. She is experiencing a 
miscarriage. This happens to women every day. It is not just scary 
medically, it is extremely painful and emotional. Under this bill, a 
woman's health is put at risk, and her doctor could be threatened with 
criminal prosecution. If a woman's miscarriage hasn't completed, her 
health could rapidly deteriorate from fever and infection. If this bill 
passes and a woman goes to the hospital, no doctor could help her. 
Because under this legislation, there is no exception to protect a 
woman's health. None.
  Only if a doctor can be certain that a woman is close to death could 
they legally intervene, and that I think is unconscionable.
  I have heard from women in California who were thrilled to be 
pregnant, only to receive the devastating news that their babies had 
fatal anomalies and would not survive. Let me give you an example. 
Rosalie, from Northern California, wrote to me and stated:

       Our baby's heart was severely deformed. He was missing 
     parts of his brain, and his lungs likely would not have 
     supported him breathing on his own, ever.
       We found all of this out at 19.5 weeks. . . . If we were a 
     few days late under this bill, we would have been forced to 
     carry our baby to term only to have him suffer for a few 
     minutes, days, weeks, and then die.

  Families dealing with situations like Rosalie's deserve compassion 
and support for this heart-wrenching situation. But instead, this 
legislation leaves them with no options.
  Last Congress, at a Judiciary Committee hearing, we heard from 
Christy Zink, who learned late in her pregnancy that her baby was 
missing the central connecting structure of the two parts of his brain. 
She told us in public testimony:

       At no point in this decision and the resulting medical care 
     would the sort of political interference under consideration 
     have helped me or my family.
       What happened to me during pregnancy can happen to any 
     woman.

  This bill is not only harmful to women like Rosalie and Christy, but 
it is unconstitutional, and it violates Roe v. Wade. Look at the 
challenges to two States that enacted 20-week bans--Arizona and Idaho. 
Both were struck down at the circuit court level as unconstitutional.
  Let me read that again. Two States, Arizona and Idaho, with this 
legislation--it was struck down at the circuit court level as 
unconstitutional. The Supreme Court refused to review Arizona's case. 
Idaho didn't appeal.
  It is also important to point out that this bill weakens protections 
for women who have been victims of rape or incest. Rape victims would 
no longer be able to access healthcare unless they could show proof 
that they received medical treatment or counseling for the rape or 
reported the assault to law enforcement. I find this shocking.
  Think of a young girl who is a victim of sex trafficking. She is 
beaten, imprisoned, and raped by multiple men each night. She gets 
pregnant. This law would require this rape victim to go to law 
enforcement or a government official to access medical care. These 
girls don't have control over their own bodies. They have no freedom. 
To deny medical care to rape and incest victims because they don't have 
the right paperwork or have not reported their assault to police is 
unworkable and, I believe, cruel.
  It is deeply troubling that we are using valuable floor time for this 
dangerous bill. The current funding bill expires in 10 days, and we 
still don't have a legislative solution for Dreamers. That is what we 
should be taking up right now. Instead, Republicans have chosen to 
spend the Senate's time trying to turn back the clock, debating on 
legislation that would drive us back to pre-Roe v. Wade.
  I remember those days. I know what it was like. We knew then and we 
still know today that banning abortion does not end it; it just means 
that women undergo unsafe procedures, and lives are lost.
  It is 2018. Women are more than half the population of this country. 
We run Fortune 500 companies. We are leaders in government. We are the 
heads of households. The Constitution of the United States guarantees 
our right to privacy and our right to access to reproductive 
healthcare. I, for one, will not see these rights stripped away.
  Thank you very much.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr.President, I ask unanimous consent to complete my 
remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I want to thank all of my colleagues on 
this side of the aisle who have joined in this debate and are having 
their voices heard. You are on the right side of history. You are where 
America will be. It is just a matter of time until we get there.
  To my colleagues on the other side, I appreciate your passion, but I 
think you are on the wrong side of history.

[[Page S543]]

  What we are trying to do here today is to proceed to a bill. It is 
called a motion to proceed. But I think what we are trying to do is 
proceed to a better America. We are one of seven nations on the entire 
planet to allow abortion on demand after 20 weeks; that is, the fifth 
month of pregnancy.
  What do we know about unborn children at that stage of development? 
We know that for a doctor to operate on that unborn child, they provide 
anesthesia because it hurts the child, and no doctor wants to hurt the 
child in an effort to save the child's life. Listen to what I said. 
Medical practice dictates that if you are going to operate on a 20-
week-old, unborn child, you provide anesthesia because science tells us 
that the baby can feel pain.
  Can you only imagine the pain it will feel from abortion? There is a 
reason that there are only seven countries in the world that allow 
this. The question for America is, Do we want to stay in this club or 
do we want to get out? I want out.
  Twenty States have a version of this bill, and more are taking it up 
as I speak. When informed of what we are trying to do, the majority of 
pro-choice people support this. Abortion is a divisive issue, and it is 
an emotional issue, but in the fifth month of pregnancy, I think most 
Americans are going to side with what we are trying to do--stopping 
abortion on demand in the fifth month.
  Does it make us a better nation? I would say it does not.
  So we are trying to proceed to make sure that America will be a 
better place and that we become part of the mainstream of the world 
when it comes to protecting unborn children after the fifth month of 
pregnancy.
  If you look at a medical encyclopedia and read about the birthing 
process, parents are encouraged in the fifth month to sing to a child 
because the child will begin to associate your voice with you. Read it. 
There is literature of all kinds stating what you should do in the 
fifth month to enhance the relationship between you and your unborn 
child.
  We do allow exceptions to save the life of the mother. It is a 
terrible situation when we have to pick between the mother and child, 
and there is an exception for that situation. The result of rape or 
incest if the child was a minor--when it comes to a pregnancy caused by 
a rape, we require that the law enforcement authorities be notified of 
the rape before the abortion, not at the time it occurred, and I think 
most Americans would want people to come forward and report rape.
  It is a difficult situation, but we have commonsense exceptions, and 
this is a commonsense bill designed to change America in a commonsense 
way. It is a motion to proceed to put us in better standing as a nation 
in the world at large, I believe. It is also a motion to withdraw--
withdraw from the club of seven nations that allows abortion on demand 
at a time when doctors can save the baby's life, but to do so they have 
to provide anesthesia because that baby can feel so much pain.
  Savannah Duke is a young lady in South Carolina. She is 17 years old. 
She goes to high school in Spartanburg, SC. She does all the things 
that a 17-year-old would do. She is an incredibly gifted young lady. At 
20 weeks, it was discovered that she was missing a leg, and the doctors 
feared she would have severe birth defects. Her parents, Wendy and 
Scott, when deciding what to do, could see the baby move, and they 
decided not to opt for an abortion. She is in high school today.
  There is Micah from Iowa, as you probably heard from Senator Ernst, 
who has been a stalwart on this issue. He was born at 20 weeks and is 
alive today to tell about it.
  This is not about medical viability. Roe v. Wade says that there is a 
compelling State interest to protect the unborn at medical viability. I 
would argue that the difference between medical viability in 1973 and 
2018 is enormous. What we are trying to do is provide a new theory to 
protect the unborn, and it goes something like this: Can a legislative 
body prohibit an abortion on demand at a time when science tells us 
that the baby feels excruciating pain, at a time when science tells us 
that parents should sing to their child, at a time when science tells 
us that a baby has well-connected tissues and can feel pain and, on 
occasion, can also survive? My answer is yes; it is OK for Congress and 
State legislators to pass laws saying that in the fifth month, we are 
going to disallow abortion on demand. There will be exceptions, but 
they will be rare. There are 10,000 cases every year that are protected 
by this law.
  So what are we trying to do? We are trying to proceed forward to a 
better day in America. We are trying to get out of a club where there 
are only six other members. We are trying to reconcile the law with 
science.
  To my friends on the other side who talk about science a lot, count 
me in. Science is very important. We should listen to our scientists. 
When it comes to climate change, I do. I am convinced that climate 
change is real.
  You should listen to what doctors tell you about the unborn child in 
the fifth month. You should listen to what medical science is able to 
do to save the child's life. You should listen to the stories of people 
who actually make it at 20 weeks. You should understand that 
excruciating pain is felt by an unborn child in the fifth month, and 
America does not want to be in the club of seven countries that allow 
abortion on demand.
  I don't know where the vote will turn out. It is probably going to be 
short of 60, but to those who believe in this issue, we will be back 
for another day. We are never going to give up until we get America in 
a better place. The better place, I think, would be having a country 
that recognizes that, in the fifth month of pregnancy, the law will be 
there for the child, because science is on the child's side, and we 
will reconcile our laws to science.
  We know what science says about a baby in the fifth month. We know 
what the law says: They can be aborted on demand. I think there is a 
disconnect, not only between science and law but between what is right 
and where we are today. I just don't see how this makes us a better 
nation, to continue this practice of allowing babies to be aborted on 
demand in the fifth month of pregnancy when we know they feel a lot of 
pain. I just don't see how that makes us a better nation. We will get 
there, Mr. President, with your help and the help of others.
  A majority of the American people are on our side when they 
understand what we are trying to do. There are 20 States who have some 
version of this, and it is just a matter of time until most States 
will.
  As to this debate, I don't think it is a waste of time. I want to do 
two things. I want to get out of the club of seven nations that allow 
abortion on demand of babies that feel excruciating pain when they are 
operated on to save their lives, and I can work on behalf of the 
Dreamers, too. I can do two things at once. I can talk about getting 
America in a better spot when it comes to babies during the fifth month 
of pregnancy and finding a better life for Dreamers. I think it is kind 
of odd that somehow you can't do one without the other.
  I want all of these Dream Act kids--young adults now--to stay in the 
country they know. They have no other place to go. On average, they 
were brought here at the age of 6 and, if you told them to go home, it 
wouldn't be some foreign country. It would be the home they were raised 
in and the life they know. So it makes perfect sense to me that we 
should be trying to find a solution to secure our border and fix a 
broken immigration system and deal compassionately with millions of 
young people who, through no fault of their own, have no place else to 
go but America.
  It also makes sense to me that we can talk about this issue at the 
same time and that we as a nation will rise to the occasion and 
withdraw from a club where there are only six other nations on the 
planet that allow a baby to be aborted in the fifth month of pregnancy 
at a time when that child can feel excruciating pain and young parents 
are encouraged to sing to the child. If science urges you to sing to 
the child, I want the law to stop an abortion unless there is a darn 
good reason. Our time will come, for the Dreamers as well as the baby. 
Our time will come.
  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.

[[Page S544]]

  

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The Democratic leader is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak on 
leader time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                       Nomination of David Stras

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I know we have a vote coming up soon.
  First, on the judge vote, today the Senate will vote on cloture on 
the nomination of David Stras for the Eighth Circuit in Minnesota. 
Senator Franken opposed this nomination and did not return his blue 
slip, but Senator Grassley scheduled the confirmation hearing and a 
markup anyway. It is my understanding that the new Senator from 
Minnesota, Ms. Smith, intends to vote against his nomination.
  If Judge Stras is confirmed, it will mark the first time since 1982 
that a circuit court nominee was confirmed without both home State 
Senators returning blue slips in support of a hearing. Democratic and 
Republican chairs have stuck to the blue slip rule, despite the 
tensions in this body. So this is a major step back--another way that 
the majority is slowly and inexorably gnawing away at the way this body 
works and making it more and more and more like the House of 
Representatives. It is not a legacy, if I were the leader or a Member 
of that party, that I would be proud of.


                          Republican Tax Bill

  Mr. President, tomorrow President Trump will address the Nation in 
his first State of the Union. We all look forward to hearing what the 
President has to say. One thing we can expect is for the President to 
link any good piece of economic news to the Republican tax bill, as the 
majority leader does most days and did again today. Of course, the 
reality of the Republican tax bill is much different than the image 
painted by the leader's cherry-picked examples.
  One of the real impacts of the tax bill has been massive giveaways to 
wealthy investors and corporate executives. The very wealthiest and the 
most powerful got the overwhelming majority of the breaks. As for 
individuals, some got increases, some stayed the same, and some will 
get a little bit.
  Companies have announced multibillion-dollar stock-buyback 
repurchasing programs, which benefit wealthy shareholders, not workers. 
According to Morgan Stanley, ``83% of analysts indicated that companies 
would put gains from lower taxes to use for share buybacks, dividends, 
and mergers and acquisitions.'' So we will have less competition 
because this tax bill has given the big corporations money so they can 
buy other corporations and reduce competition.
  Even though Republicans sold it as a job creator, there have been a 
slew of layoffs in this country just after the tax bill passed. 
Walmart, which made a big to-do of what it was doing for its workers, 
is shuttering 63 Sam's Club warehouses and laying off 1,000 workers at 
their headquarters. Macy's will cut 5,000 jobs. Carrier, a company the 
President promised to save, is still bleeding jobs. Kimberly-Clark will 
cut up to 5,500 jobs, and their chief financial officer said the 
savings from the Republican tax bill gave them the ``flexibility''--his 
word--to make these reductions. So the tax bill is actually leading to 
a whole lot of layoffs. We don't hear that from President Trump or our 
Republican colleagues, but it is true.
  Another one of the real impacts of the tax bill will be felt on tax 
day, when the Nation's highest income earners, the top 1 percent, will 
get an average tax cut of roughly $50,000, while more than 9 million 
middle-class families will face a tax increase, according to the JCT 
and the Tax Policy Center.
  It is true that bipartisan, deficit-neutral tax reform could have 
delivered more jobs and better pay for the middle class, but President 
Trump and congressional leaders opted for a partisan bill that rewarded 
their wealthy donors, big corporations, and the superrich, and it 
increased the deficit that our children and grandchildren will have to 
pay by $1.5 trillion. I don't expect the President or the Republican 
leader to mention these facts. I certainly don't think the President 
will mention them in the State of the Union. But Democrats will 
highlight them in days to come.


                        Issues Before the Senate

  Now, Mr. President, when we passed the last extension of government 
funding, we gave ourselves a lengthy to-do list: Pass a budget, provide 
disaster aid, negotiate a healthcare package, and protect the Dreamers. 
We have been talking about these issues for months without resolution. 
Now is the time to start solving them. We have waited too long to fully 
fund our military. We have waited too long to dedicate more money to 
the opioid crisis, which is stealing 40,000 American lives a year. We 
have waited too long to improve veterans healthcare, which our veterans 
receive. Many are waiting in line still to get treatment. We waited too 
long to address failing pension plans, which are the safety net for so 
many teamsters, carpenters, miners, and people approaching retirement. 
We have waited too long to give the 800,000 Dreamers the peace of mind 
that they will not be deported by the only country they have known.
  We need to address these issues soon--no more delay. We hope our 
moderate Senators will strive to find a narrow bill on DACA and border 
security that can actually pass. Expanding this beyond DACA and beyond 
border security, as the White House framework tries to do, will only 
delay a solution to this time-sensitive problem.
  Now, my guest at tomorrow's State of the Union will highlight the 
urgency of a few issues I have just mentioned. Her name is Stephanie 
Keegan. She is from Putnam County, NY. Her son Daniel, a veteran of the 
war in Afghanistan, died from an opioid overdose. At the time, Daniel 
was suffering from a severe case of PTSD. His nerves were shattered by 
war. He waited 16 months for treatment at the VA--16 months, after he 
served us so well. That is a shocking amount of time for a young man 
who bravely served his country to wait for his country to serve him. 
Daniel died 2 weeks before he was given his first appointment at the 
VA.
  There are many things that can be done to change this situation, Mrs. 
Keegan told me. She is so right. We can provide better healthcare to 
our veterans. We can do more to fight the scourge of opioid addiction. 
We can fulfill the promise to hundreds of thousands of pensioners who 
need money. We can make sure Social Security works. We can make sure 
the kids waiting for college who have to pay for college can get there 
a little easier. So I hope Stephanie's presence at tomorrow's speech 
inspires an urgency to tackle these challenges.


                                  FBI

  Finally, Mr. President, I want to return to a topic I addressed at 
some length last Thursday--the ongoing scorched-earth campaign by the 
White House, rightwing media, and some Republicans in Congress to 
destroy the integrity of the FBI and the investigation into 
interference in the 2016 election. This ongoing scorched-earth campaign 
weakens law enforcement and weakens the FBI--one of our best agencies.
  We recently learned that President Trump, at one point last summer, 
directed the firing of Special Counsel Mueller--what would have been a 
shocking and unambiguous obstruction of justice--only to be pulled 
back.
  Today, we learned that the Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, 
will be stepping down immediately. He has been attacked by the White 
House relentlessly.
  As soon as this evening, the House will vote to release the contents 
of a secret memo prepared by the Republican majority on the House 
Intelligence Committee that insinuates the FBI and Department of 
Justice's investigation into Russia's interference in our elections is 
politically biased.
  According to the ranking member of that committee, Representative 
Schiff, this memo is full of innuendo and glaring omissions. It 
presents evidence without context and jumps to unfounded conclusions. 
We should call it what it truly is: a slanderous memo of GOP talking 
points.
  This is not an erudite study. This is a bunch of talking points to 
discredit an agency that is doing a good job, that we all have 
supported and respected over the years.

[[Page S545]]

  If Republicans vote to release their memo of partisan talking points 
tonight, they should also vote to release the memo prepared by Ranking 
Member Schiff, and let everyone judge both on the merits. Let both 
memos go forward. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. It 
would be absolute hypocrisy for House Republicans to release their memo 
and not allow Representative Schiff to release his.
  Everyone should keep in mind who is promoting this stuff. Who is 
promoting these rightwing talking points, defaming the FBI? None other 
than Russian-linked bots. They are using the hashtag ``Release the 
Memo'' 100 more times than any other hashtag by Kremlin-linked 
accounts. Putin and the Kremlin are trying at all times to undermine 
our democracy through the spread of false information.
  What does it say about the Republican memo that the Kremlin is 
pushing it more than they are pushing anything else right now? At this 
point, every American should wonder whether the House Republicans are 
working harder for Putin or for the American people--at least those 
House Republicans who put together this memo.
  This Republican talking points memo is part of a pattern of behavior 
from this White House and their Republican allies in Congress--not 
everyone, just some--and the hard-right media. They do not welcome the 
results of Special Counsel Mueller's investigation, so they are trying 
to smear the investigation and the entire FBI before it concludes. We 
all know agents; we all know how hard they work and how decent they 
are.
  The attacks on the credibility of the FBI are beyond the pale. They 
have fueled wild speculation and outright paranoia--talks of ``coups'' 
and ``deep states'' and ``secret societies.'' It brings shame on the 
folks propagating this nonsense, but more crucially, it diminishes our 
great country.
  When prominent voices in one of our country's two major political 
parties are outright attacking the FBI and the Department of Justice--
the pillars of American law enforcement--they are playing right into 
Mr. Putin's hands. They are unfairly and dishonestly clouding a crucial 
investigation into Russia's interference in our elections--a matter of 
most serious concern for every American. It is abhorrent. It must stop.
  I yield the floor.


                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     proceed to S. 2311, a bill to amend title 18, United States 
     Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other 
     purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, John Boozman, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio, 
           Deb Fischer, John Barrasso, Richard Burr, John Cornyn, 
           Thom Tillis, John Hoeven, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, James 
           M. Inhofe, Steve Daines, Mike Crapo, James Lankford, 
           Roy Blunt.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to proceed to S. 2311, a bill to amend title 18, United States 
Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes, 
shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin) 
and the Senator from Florida (Mr. Nelson) are necessarily absent.
   The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 51, nays 46, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 25 Leg.]

                                YEAS--51

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Cochran
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Lankford
     Lee
     Manchin
     McConnell
     Moran
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--46

     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Collins
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Hassan
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Hirono
     Jones
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Peters
     Reed
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--3

     Baldwin
     McCain
     Nelson
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 51, the nays are 
46.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.

                          ____________________