Recently a very disturbing and revealing discussion has been taking place in our country, raising serious questions about how much value and worth we ascribe to babies in the womb and especially those born despite an attempted abortion procedure.

This year several states have passed or proposed laws to codify the right to abortion up until the moment of birth. Entertaining the idea that the rights and privileges that newborn babies possess is an open-ended question is alarming. I believe we must defend their rights to life and to receive the same care that any other child born at the same gestational age would instead of being callously discarded or worse, intentionally killed in the name of reproductive freedom.

That’s why I supported the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on the Senate floor last month. Although this legislation seeking to protect newborns who survive an attempted abortion received a bipartisan majority of votes, it regrettably did not pass.

The utter failure to recognize and affirm the right to life, especially after an infant has already been born, is greatly concerning. There should be no mistake or ambiguity regarding our commitment to uphold this basic, fundamental right and protect every child no matter the circumstances of his or her birth.

The legislation would create criminal penalties for doctors who allow infants surviving abortion to die rather than provide them medical care and also require that born-alive abortion survivors be transported to a hospital for treatment.

Abortionists who defied these mandates to render aid to abortion survivors would face the justice they are due instead of being ignored or permitted to continue committing this cruel, inhumane act that amounts to infanticide.

It is time for our country to speak with one clear voice and say that every human being is made in the image of God and is therefore in possession of dignity and worth that cannot be displaced or dispossessed. Anything short of this unambiguous declaration would be a tremendous disservice to our children and fatally undermine the values our society claims to uphold.

As a former medical provider, I believe that to end a newborn child’s life either by refusing to provide life-saving care or actively taking that child’s life – as in the case of infamous abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell and others – violates the oath every medical provider takes to “do no harm.”

As a dad and a grandfather, I know from my own experience just how precious each life is. Every new life is a treasured gift that brings families like mine immeasurable joy and meaning and any suggestion otherwise is tragic, heartbreaking and outrageous.

I am proud to have stood with my colleagues in support of this legislation seeking to protect these precious, vulnerable little ones. We can and should do this as a reflection of the country we want to be. While I’m disappointed with the result of the vote, my colleagues and I, along with millions of Americans across the nation, will continue to raise our voices on their behalf.

If we as a nation are to hold any claim to a moral character that deserves to be admired and emulated, we must be willing to say that the lives of newborn children have inherent value and are worthy of protection. There is simply no way to credibly claim otherwise

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