Tony Perkins / Sep. 23, 2015

Senators Prove Chronic Pain for Life

This week, senators were treated to the company of energetic little Micah Pickering, a thriving three-year-old who was born prematurely at 20 weeks post-fertilization. Micah's story first caught public attention earlier this year when his story was told in a New York Times piece, causing Americans to grapple with the reality that premature babies are surviving at younger and younger ages of gestation. Micah and his parents flew all the way from Iowa to the nation's capital to advocate for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The Pickerings sought to give the Senate living proof for why standing up for pain-capable babies is not only humane but compassionate and commonsense. They, along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), FRC's Arina Grossu, and other Senators and pro-life leaders participated in a press conference in advance of [yesterday's] Senate vote on the bill. Micah's life is living proof that babies at 5 months gestation are living human beings that can feel pain. In the NICU, Micah was routinely administered pain medication, because the physicians knew his little body was in pain as he struggled to live.

This week, senators were treated to the company of energetic little Micah Pickering, a thriving three-year-old who was born prematurely at 20 weeks post-fertilization. Micah’s story first caught public attention earlier this year when his story was told in a New York Times piece, causing Americans to grapple with the reality that premature babies are surviving at younger and younger ages of gestation. Micah and his parents flew all the way from Iowa to the nation’s capital to advocate for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The Pickerings sought to give the Senate living proof for why standing up for pain-capable babies is not only humane but compassionate and commonsense. They, along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), FRC’s Arina Grossu, and other Senators and pro-life leaders participated in a press conference in advance of [yesterday’s] Senate vote on the bill. Micah’s life is living proof that babies at 5 months gestation are living human beings that can feel pain. In the NICU, Micah was routinely administered pain medication, because the physicians knew his little body was in pain as he struggled to live.

During his time on the Hill, Micah met Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). If only she had listened to Micah. If only pro-abortion Senators had decided that lives like Micah’s matter and are worth protecting. Republican Senators Collins and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) both voted against the motion to proceed to the bill. We are grateful to the 54 Senators, including Democrat Senators Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Bob Casey (Pa.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.), who cast their votes to protect the lives of over 13,000 pain-capable babies who die tortuous deaths every year at five months or later.

But for the 42 who voted against this bill, I would ask — why? At five months, babies can yawn and stretch. Parents are encouraged to talk to their unborn little ones, who will begin responding to their voices. These babies can feel pain. And yet somehow, the propped up farce of women’s empowerment and the right to choose reigns supreme over the lives of unborn babies who are literally torn apart in their mother’s womb. What happened to the right of unborn little girls and boys to live? What about the government’s compelling interest to protect its own from cruel and unusual pain?

Senator Graham said that no matter what happened with the vote [yesterday], this isn’t the end. This fight is not going away. This is only the beginning.

The good news is that Leader McConnell filed cloture [Tuesday] afternoon on a motion to vote to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a short term Continuing Resolution to fund the government. It is similar to the House bill that passed on Friday, in that it would place a pause on funding for Planned Parenthood and redirect money for women’s health care to the thousands of health clinics that are not implicated in abortion for organ harvesting, partial birth abortion, and possible killing of babies born alive. Once again, your senators need to hear from you.

Why We Fight

[Monday] a New York Times report revealed yet another disturbing indication of the looming moral bankruptcy of our nation’s military under President Obama. According to interviews and court records, U.S. military personnel have been instructed not to intervene in the “rampant sexual abuse of children” even when it is perpetrated by our Afghan allies on U.S. installations. Was not the blood of our sons, daughters, husbands and wives spilled to free the people of Afghanistan from the fear of terrorism and the abuse of terrorists? And now we turn a blind eye to the widespread terrorizing of children by those we put in power because sexual abuse of young boys is deemed by some as a"cultural" thing?

What does America stand for? I would venture to say that almost every military member believes that the nation they serve represents freedom, sacrifice and courage to the rest of the world. It is therefore simply incomprehensible that the United States would condone the enslaving of children for sexual exploitation by anyone, especially people who have received billions in U.S. dollars and for whom many U.S. lives have been lost.

When U.S. troops are directed to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse by deviant pedophiles who sexually assault young boys and girls in Afghanistan, then America becomes complicit. American G.I.‘s being instructed to do nothing when a tribal leader or an Afghan police chief is assaulting a child runs so incredibly counter to our values and to the very nature of the American soldier that it leaves one wondering just how low the Obama administration will sink morally.

The Times report tells of soldiers and Marines hearing the boys scream at night from the abuse and told they were to do nothing about it. Those who did have been disciplined or are facing discipline. A child screaming for help evokes powerful emotions and protective instincts in most Americans. I can only imagine the emotional trauma those who witnessed this abuse and did nothing.

Thankfully, some members of Congress are taking notice. Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) have put pressure on the Pentagon to implement a clear policy on responding to child sexual abuse. [Yesterday], U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell made a statement regarding the allegations:

“…any suspicions of sexual abuse will be immediately reported to the chain of command, regardless of who the alleged perpetrators or victims are. The chain of command will take appropriate action under applicable law, as well as DoD and service regulations.

"If the abuse involves Afghans, a report shall be forwarded to me through operations channels, copied to the Staff Judge Advocate, so that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan can be advised and requested to take action.”

This is certainly progress, but there are many questions that still remain. How can we put American soldiers in situations where they can stop this kind of evil behavior and then restrict them from doing so? No soldier should ever be told to turn a blind eye to child abuse. America needs a President that will put policies in place that when an American soldier or parine protects an innocent child from those who would terrorize them in such a heinous way, they will be honored and not condemned and booted from the military.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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