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Ranking Member Cassidy Delivers Remarks During Democrats’ Hearing on Abortion

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks during today’s Democrat-led hearing on abortion.

Click here to watch the hearing live. 

Cassidy’s speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:

Thank you, Chair Sanders. 

Let’s table set: This is an election year in which a Democrat incumbent president is running behind. So, there's been a decision to raise abortion to such a high profile. This is partisan politics being played out in this committee hearing. 

My Democratic colleagues called this hearing to tell you what Republicans believe about abortion. They will attempt to normalize the decision to abort a child. You cannot normalize a procedure in which the intent is to end a life. Do not be misled. 

I look at this completely differently. I prioritize the relationship between mother and child, and all life, period.  

As a physician, I care about the life of every patient that comes through my door whether I can see them or not. The second that baby gets air, it doesn’t matter how small, how unsustainable, how weak – doctors are trained to do everything possible to save their life. You would want every physician to do that. I believe the responsibility to protect and save that child should not be determined based on the arbitrary difference of being inside or outside of the womb. 

I am unapologetically pro-life. Scientifically and morally, there is no difference in the value of a child whether she is in her mother’s arms or her mother’s womb. The science is clear. That is not a clump of cells. That is a life. A life that has inherent value and dignity. A life that matters. 

How can we dehumanize children like the ones depicted behind me.  

This is a hard conversation. It should be. At what point do my Democratic colleagues believe this is a child that deserves to live? 

It does a disservice to women to dehumanize the unborn child and discuss this child only as a right to abort or not to abort. This is one of the most significant decisions a woman will ever make. We cannot trivialize. 

I understand and accept the need for exceptions to laws that regulate abortion under certain circumstances. But terminating life does not spare a woman from potential grief. This should never be an easy decision. If it is, we have lost our moral compass.  

As a physician, fearmongering on this topic is infuriating. A woman experiencing the emotionally and physically painful experience of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy is already grappling with the loss of her unborn child. How dare such a vulnerable moment in a woman’s life be misrepresented and used for political gain? There is no law in any state preventing doctors from treating women going through a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy or preventing them from saving the life of a mother. That is called health care. That is not an abortion.  

As a doctor, I was taught that our highest calling is truth.  That is why it is so frustrating when fellow physicians mislead on these facts or corrupt the truth to advance a political viewpoint.  

While it’s disappointing that my colleagues outright lie to deceive Americans about Republicans’ stance on the issue, it’s also reprehensible that they mislead Americans on the Democrats' own extreme views. 

Democrats will say they are trying to codify Roe v. Wade. That is not true. The truth is that Democrats would go beyond Roe. Their marquee legislation would:  

  • Legalize late-term abortions in every state, aborting this child in every state 
  • Ban state laws that prevent coerced abortions; 
  • Allow strangers to convince an underage child to get an abortion without notifying her parents that she is pregnant in the first place; and  
  • Eviscerate the conscience rights of health care professionals with moral or religious objections to abortions, which will drive many out of the medical field. 

Senator Kaine has a bill that explicitly codifies Roe into law. The only Democrats willing to cosponsor it were Senators Sinema and Manchin who have since left the Democrat Party. By the way, I don’t support that legislation, but why doesn’t it have more Democrat support if that is their party’s position?  

Because although it makes a good rallying cry, the policy of only codifying Roe is far too conservative for the fringes that now define the debate in the Democrat party. 

There are nine states plus Washington, D.C., whose laws right now allow for abortion right up until the moment of birth. The babies you see in the poster [Point to Poster] are legally allowed to be aborted in these places. That is the legislative position of the Democrat party. That should violate your conscience. 

Can Democrats tell me at what point in a pregnancy it should no longer be acceptable to end a baby’s life?

My Democrat colleagues may also claim abortions are low risk procedures. They may claim they are so safe they can be done without medical supervision. This is not entirely accurate and minimizes the potential complications in an effort to relieve one’s conscience in making this complex decision.   

Demagoguing and fearmongering on access to treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and casting the decision to abort or not to abort as an easy one does a tremendous disservice. I’ve supported post-partum coverage for women in Medicaid. I’ve worked on serious legislation to advance maternal health, like the Connected MOM Act with Senator Maggie Hassan, which lets physicians remotely monitor pregnant women for potential complications. This is a big help for moms who struggle to get to the doctor’s office for those crucial prenatal visits. Senator Bob Casey and I led legislation, now law, to ensure pregnant women are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.  

There is more we can do to support women, and we should debate and advance legislation so that we are not leaving them without solutions when they are faced with this very difficult, traumatic, and complex question. We want women -- mothers -- to be healthy, successful, and prosperous. The human life inside a woman that triggers the double lines on the pregnancy stick she is staring down is not a burden, as the other side would like to cast them. The child is a gift – but there are things we can do to make life easier for the mother.  

I am open to a tough conversation. But it must be held with respect for the mother and the defenseless and voiceless unborn child behind me. This is too personal for so many Americans.  



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