Friday, January 28, 2005

Pro-life legislation I want to see!

from grannyhelen

Before the second day of Senate debate over Condoleeza Rice's nomination as Secretary of State, I had to listen to a fairly lengthy speech delivered by Senator Brownback of Kansas, a hard-right Republican, on the need for an UNBORN CHILD PAIN AWARENESS ACT.  The upshot of his speech was that fetuses can feel pain in the womb and that before women can have an abortion they should have to sign a form stating that they are aware of this fact, and that they have been given the option to anesthetize the fetus before having the abortion.

Senator Brownback says some pretty amazing things in this speech which I hope are not indicative of his opinion of women in general.  One of the greatest lines I thought was: "...most Americans believe that women are capable of processing information, even when faced with a crisis pregnancy."

Wow. Ya think?

It then occurred to me: what if Senator Brownback could just make some quick edits to his speech and introduce a Victims of Torture Pain Awareness Act? I mean, it's not like he'd have to change a lot of his boilerplate language. And just to illustrate to him how easy this would be, I decided to go ahead myself and edit some extended excerpts of his speech to reflect the need for this legislation. I've italicized the parts that I've changed or added to Senator Brownback's speech. The rest of the text is his own words.

If you want to read the original speech, you'll find the text of it here:

Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, these are difficult times but they are also times of opportunity. We will face on Sunday, with the vote in Iraq, difficulty, but also a time of opportunity for people to know democracy and freedom who have never known it before. Freedom, however, always comes at a price. We are paying for this opportunity for freedom with loss of life from our own country. Yet democracy and freedom is something for which we have fought for over 200 years.

I rise today to speak about something else we need to fight for. I speak of one of the most difficult debates we have had to discuss in this country: it is the debate on the issue of life and the natural rights of man. I am introducing today, with over 30 cosponsors, a bill that speaks to this critical issue. It is S. 51, the Victims of Torture Pain Awareness Act. It has 31 cosponsors. This legislation, I believe, is strongly pro-woman, pro-man, pro-child and pro-life, and it will help in the creation of a culture of life in America.

The Victims of Torture Pain Awareness Act is about empowering soldiers and intelligence officers with information. It is also about respecting and treating the victim of torture more humanely. This legislation is, at heart, an informed consent bill, which would do two simple things:

First, it would require the Department of Defense and the Justice Department to present medical, scientific information to a soldier and/or intelligence officer, who is interrogating a prisoner of war or enemy combatant, about what is known regarding the physical and psychological effects of torture on the victim.

Second, should the soldier and/or intelligence officer desire to continue with the torture after being presented with this information, the legislation calls for him or her to be given the opportunity to choose anesthesia for the victim of torture in order to lessen his or her pain...

...I do not believe that anyone in this esteemed chamber thinks that soldiers and/or intelligence officers should not be fully informed. I believe, along with a majority of Americans...that soldiers and/or intelligence officers have the right to know what their victims experience during torture. Most Americans believe that soldiers and/or intelligence officers are capable of processing information, even when faced with interrogating suspected terrorists...

...After being presented with the medical and scientific information on the physical and psychological effects of torture, the soldier and/or intelligence officer is more aware of the pain experienced by the victim during torture, and more equipped--at the very least--to make an informed decision. It is simply not fair for a soldier and/or intelligence officer to be uninformed...

...Soldiers and intelligence officers certainly have a right to be given the facts about the victims of torture. Armed with these facts, soldiers and intelligence officers then have the opportunity to make a more informed decision.

Should the soldier and/or intelligence officer continue with certain legally authorized torture practices, such as waterboarding, he or she ought to have the option of anesthetizing the victim of torture before he or she undergoes a painful interrogation, which might lead to the termination of his or her life.

This should not be a Republican or a Democratic issue. This should be a human issue.

The Victims of Torture Pain Awareness Act offers us a rare chance to transcend the traditional political boundaries. It is a matter of human decency.

It is my hope that this bill will offer us a chance to work across political divides to forge new understandings in this Chamber.

I think that we can all support giving soldiers and intelligence officers more information when they are interrogating people who may be terrorists, or who may in fact be innocent civilians...

...This bill will be introduced in both Chambers today. It is an important piece of legislation. It is one which I hope we can move forward with aggressively. If there is evidence on the other side, I would welcome it coming forward. Let us have this debate, but let us not ignore it any longer.

Thank you, very much, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority side has 40 seconds remaining.

The Senator from Virginia is recognized.

Although this diary is very tongue-in-cheek, the greater point is very serious: how can self-proclaimed, pro-life conservatives be so concerned about regulating the amount of pain a fetus feels, and yet be so silent when it comes to the lifelong physical and psychological affects of torture on an adult?

I plan to email Senator Brownback and ask him this question. I doubt I'll receive a response.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one of Brownbacks "constituents" I can assure you you'll get a response. It will, of course, completely miss your point and speak as if you've written him in blind agreement without being aware of even the basics of the subject matter in question. Sigh...

it's simple IF you ignore the complexity

At 9:41 PM, Blogger grannyhelen said...

Not a that's why I'm not sure if I'll get one. However...if you wanted to also email him as a constituent I'm sure he'd get back to you :) !

Any responses can be emailed to me at:

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Carnacki said...

Your posting of this on the other board led to one of the best threads I've read in ages. That was pretty funny. I'm sorry it didn't get enough recommendeds.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Send him a donation along with the letter! Then he'll HAVE to listen to you!! Then you can later send him a threatening note, "If you don't respond to my previous letter, I'll tell the whole world you accepted money from a deviant liberal!!"

PBJ Diddy


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