John Fuller: It’s Monday. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and today, Jim and I are in Washington, D.C.
Jim Daly: John, we are. My heart is heavy today over what’s been happening in the past few weeks. Uh, people have seen it in the news regarding new abortion laws and some proposed abortion laws. There’s national outrage over the barbaric idea that a baby can be legally murdered just moments before birth, or even moments just after while lying there on a table. And I know you’ve heard about it and your heart is burdened by it as well. At the same time, I’m encouraged because I know God is in control. John and I are in Washington, D.C. right now working on behalf of preborn babies. And we’re going to ask you to join us in standing up for life at this pivotal time in our culture.
John: Yeah, and we have a big announcement today as Focus on the Family is launching a new effort. We’re really excited about this. It’s gonna make a difference and we’re asking you to join us, as a listener, to help save babies’ lives.
Jim: Well first of all, John, uh, the team at Focus on the Family has prayed about this bold move, and we believe it’s inspired by the Holy Spirit. You know when you feel His urgency and His sense of direction. We did that with the Super Bowl ad with Tim Tebow. It’s that kind of moment. And our hope is that the Lord will use this – not only to save innocent babies, but also to change people’s hearts and minds about the sanctity of human life. What we’re planning to do is a live ultrasound in Times Square on the big screen for all to see, right there in New York City on Saturday, May 4th. Now, we’re in the planning stages, so we’re pulling this all together. There’s a few obstacles, but we are hoping that you can join us, Saturday, May 4th. Be there in Times Square as we show the world what a third-trimester baby looks like fully formed.
John: It will be a riveting moment, and I think it’s great for us to be able to do this, Jim. Uh, we’re gonna have all sorts of details about this. As Jim said, it’s influxed as we plan this. Be sure to just, uh, look for updates at focusonthefamily.com/prolife. Focusonthefamily.com/prolife. We’ll have a lot of information there on ways you can help. There’s a “Declaration for Life.” We’re gonna ask you to go there and sign that. Join what we hope will be millions, who say, “I care about life.”
Jim: John, that’s one of three things. I wanna be really specific here. Go to that website, sign the Declaration – we’re gonna present that to the White House and to Congress as, hopefully, a manifesto. People that are saying, “Here we are. We wanna be heard.” Secondly, plan to show up on Saturday, May 4th, if you can do it. We want your presence there. It will be a positive time to demonstrate to all people what is happening in the womb with a live ultrasound and show you what a 4D ultrasound looks like. It looks like a baby picture, doesn’t it, John?
John: It does. It’s amazing.
Jim: You can go to the website and see that. And then lastly, we would encourage you to save a baby’s life for $60. That’s what Option Ultrasound can do and has done for the last 15 years. 425,000 babies have been saved. And I’ll ya what, I wanna see a million saved. So join us. Give 60 dollars to help save a baby’s life. This is the time to make a statement.
John: And again, the website is focusonthefamily.com/prolife.
Jim: Well John, as I mentioned, we’re in Washington, D.C. We’re in Senator Ben Sasse’s office to talk about those serious life issues. He is one of the staunchest friends that we have, and I’m excited to talk to him. He’s from the state of Nebraska. He’s been helping to lead this charge for the last several years. He’s served in the U.S. Senate since 2015 and has recently reintroduced vital pro-life legislation in the Senate just last week. And we’re gonna talk about that. Senator Sasse, thank you for joining us.
Ben Sasse: Thank you comin’ in, and thanks for having me on the show. I – I grew up listenin’ to Focus.
Jim: That’s always good.
Ben: So it’s good to be here.
Jim: Man, we love to hear that. And tell me about your family. You have two kids? Three kids?
Ben: We have three. A 17-year-old daughter, 15-year-old daughter, pretty big gap, and then we have a 7-year-old boy.
Jim: Oh my goodness.
Ben: So we have three kids, and I’m one of the only commuting dads in the U.S. Senate. I live in Nebraska and come back and forth every week. And I bring a kid with me most weeks.
Jim: Well I think on behalf of the listeners, they would want me to say, “Thank you for the sacrifice.” ‘Cause we know how hard it is to raise our kids. I mean, I’ve got two teenagers. And uh, all the time you can spend with them is so vital. So thank you for all of your family sacrificing for you to be here.
Ben: Thanks, it’s a blessing to be able to represent Nebraskans. And my kids live a weird, uh, sort of upbringing and schooling on the road, but they – they’re blessed by it.
Jim: Well you know, you think about that – it’s not just Nebraska. And we love Nebraska. We’re right next to ya there in Colorado. But with the topic we’re talking about – life – you represent far more than just your constituency. You’re representing babies throughout the United States and your Senate colleagues that are also pro-life. And we are grateful for each one of them. Uh, let’s get into it. What is going on? Last week, New York, Virginia, all the flap – let’s start there. New York – what is going on in New York?
Ben: Well, it is a grotesque display you see in New York and Virginia. Uh, in – in New York, the governor actually lit up the World Trade Center in pink to celebrate this pro-death piece of legislation, which removed protections from babies as they’re being born. Pink is – historically, been the symbolic color to celebrate breast cancer survivors. These are women with grit and fight and life and vitality, and now you’re stealing that symbol and that color and using it for some complete radical perversion of it. So, uh, New York is a mess. And then we’ve seen the governor of Virginia, um, the guy obviously has problems with human dignity generally. Historically had a problem with racial equality and now he’s out there actually endorsing infanticide the last week and a half. It’s gru – grisly.
Jim: It’s crazy. And even in New York with Governor Cuomo, just so the listeners understand this clearly, what they did was to expand – I think there was a handful of other states as well – where, literally, during the birthing process, you can abort the child. You can terminate the child’s life. And that’s, of course, always under the umbrella of the mom talking with the doctor. But my goodness, that is terrible. And then in Virginia, it didn’t pass, but it was discussed in the legislature there that a baby could be born, and if that baby was not viable or had severe physical handicaps. I mean, think of that. Now, who defines that? That baby could be terminated after birth! Infanticide!
Ben: Yeah, I – I mean, this body – I’m one of eight people out of a hundred in the U.S. Senate who’s never been a politician before. And it feels like every politician around here finds a way to say, “The poorest and the weakest among us,” about any piece of legislation. We, in this case, are literally talking about the poorest and the weakest and the most vulnerable among us – the people who most need protection. And you’ve got the governor of Virginia having this weird, kind of indifferent, anti-dignity debate: “Well, if the baby’s born, you could comfort her for a little bit and you could resuscitate her if the mom wanted to. And then you could,” he said, “And then a discussion could ensue between the physicians and the mom about what to do next.” What he means is: debating whether or not you could have infanticide. Whether or not you could kill this baby after she’s born. It’s really abhorrent. And I guess the – there’s no good news in it. But the thing that we need to look to, to be encouraged and optimistic, is the American people have been repulsed by this.
Jim: Absolutely, and I think even on the follow-up news programs, even those who are trying to defend his comments – defending abortion – they never complete the statement. They always say, “The physician and the woman would have a discussion.” They never say, “To decide whether that baby lives or dies.”
Jim: Uh, they’re embarrassed by that.
Ben: They are embarrassed by that. And the good news is there’s so much ultrasound and sonogram technology out there that’s showing us more and more what’s happening in utero. And it turns out, our side isn’t just on the side of love and persuasion and life, we’re on the side of science.
Jim: Senator Sasse, one of the things I hear when I’m traveling around the United States is this debate between abortion being a political issue versus a moral issue. It is a moral issue. 1973, it became a political issue. You’re a historian, uh, Yale Ph.D. in history. Speak to that transition that now it is a political issue, but we can never decouple it from being a moral issue.
Ben: Absolutely right. So I – I do commute every week, uh, to come here because I think there is legislation in the world that matters, and we need more legislation that protects babies and advances the pro-life cause. I’m the lead sponsor of the Abortion Survivors Protection Act. I’m an original co-sponsor of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, the Pain-Capable Pro-Life legislation. But we should never decouple these two, and we should never forget what’s the priority. The priority in this movement is always gonna be, um, tellin’ the truth in love. Legislation is important, but legislation is subordinate to the bigger thing happening, which is celebrating life, celebrating image-bearers, coming alongside moms who are in a complicated or unplanned, uh, position, celebrating adoption – uh, my wife is a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center – that’s the heart of this movement.
Jim: That is – that’s wonderful. And I’m hoping that over time, we will be able to convince our fellow Americans that this is wrong right at the core, and that we hollow out a woman’s right to choose to terminate the life of her child. Wouldn’t that be a great day?
Jim: You’re workin’ at it. Um, you have presented Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and you went through those very quickly, and we’re not in the lexicon of Washington. You’re talking to moms and dads who’re trying to keep their family together, get their kids off to school, etcetera. Describe that, right there, and the horrible response that you receive here in Capitol Hill – you’re simply saying if a baby survives an abortion…
Jim: …and is alive, screaming, gasping…
Jim: …that the physicians need to treat that child.
Ben: It takes no courage to say this basic, true thing: A baby that survives an abortion and she’s fightin’ for life and gaspin’ for air, she has dignity. She has rights. She’s an image-bearer. And we have a moral obligation and we should have a legal obligation, uh, to provide care for that kid. And so, doctors in that situation, uh, can’t walk – “back away” is what the technique is called – where they just move away. This baby, uh, survives an abortion attempt, and she’s on the table crying, and they just back away and leave her to die in the elements.
Jim: I mean, think of that!
Ben: Infanticide has been practiced for millenia. Right? The Aztecs did this. The Ancient Greeks did this. They would leave children out to die of exposure. Civilized people don’t do that.
Jim: Right. I – I’m just thinking of that, where this child is all alone.
Jim: I mean, the even physically backing up – the physician who’s sworn…
Jim: …to take care of human life. Right? The Hippocratic Oath.
Ben: So my – Amen. My legislation says you’d have to give the same level of care to that baby at that gestational stage of any other baby that was born at that stage. Until you – you have to admit her to a hospital. You have to start providing care. You have to warm her. You have to comfort her. Um, so this isn’t complicated, and I tried to expedite this on the Senate floor by unanimous consent. They’re two basic ways – I won’t do legislative “nerdom” for your listeners – but they’re two basic ways things pass the Senate. On recorded votes, you need 60 votes out of a hundred to pass something. That takes months to schedule and days of floor time to – to pass. Unanimous consent is the way the Senate does most of its business – which is you pass things a hundred to zero as senators negotiate in our offices to work out everybody’s objection. Then somebody brings something to the floor and says, “Hey, I have a hundred senators on board. Let’s get this thing done. Let’s do it fast.” I tried to do unanimous consent to say, “Let’s condemn infanticide. This isn’t complicated, people.” And sadly, we had a senator from Washington state who decided to carry water for the abortion and death industry, and uh, she objected. So we’re gonna keep fighting through other paths.
Jim: And I know you won’t say it, but it was Patty Murray. And you do have to shake your head and say, “What in the world is goin’ on? Why can you not at least accept this in the big battle?”
Jim: And she has her constituents – we get that.
John: What were her objections, Senator?
Ben: So, I – I am the, you know, the most pro-life, or tied with a handful of other people here to be, um, the most pro-life senator’s group and caucus in the Senate. But I get that there are people for whom there are lots of debates about abortion. This isn’t actually about abortion. This is about infanticide. This is about a baby that’s already been born. This is a baby that was born alive in a failed abortion. And their claim is, uh, that our legislation tries to do all sorts of things that unnecessary because quote, “Murder is already legal – illegal in the U.S.” Well, it is true that if you took a pillow and you put it on the face of that baby and you smothered her to death, that could be charged with murder. But the way these babies die in these born-alive procedures, is by the withholding of care – by leaving them cold and alone to die on that table. It is abhorrent.
Jim: It’s awful.
Ben: You can’t – you don’t kill a 12-month-old by leaving ’em out in the elements. You don’t kill a 6-month-old by leaving ’em out in the elements. And when these babies survive an abortion, um, there shouldn’t be any debate in our society that you provide care for those babies.
Jim: Well, and that’s one of the reasons we think doing this event May 4th, in New York, in Times Square, is gonna be a game-changer. We just simply wanna say, with the most positive of attitudes, “Here’s a third trimester baby,” and show the ultrasound of the baby. And I’m telling ya, everybody, if you haven’t seen that picture, 4D ultrasound now – it looks like a first-year baby picture – the definition is so strong. Go to our website and take a look at it. We’ll put a picture of one there. And, uh, we just want people to really better understand what is at stake here. And I think it’s gonna be a great event – May 4th. I hope a million people can show up. That’s what I’d love to see.
Ben: I do too. Good on you for doing this. I – I grew up in the pro-life movement, and I remember the – the still images we would use to try to persuade people. What a providential blessing these new technologies are. Young people are becoming more and more pro-life ’cause they’re the highest propensity of people to have seen sonogram and ultrasound technology. And when you see these pictures, you say, “Oh, that’s a baby!”
Jim: Well, technology is matching up with faith.
John: Mmm. Well this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Jim and I are in D.C. with Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska. And we’re kicking off today a huge undertaking. We want to promote human life, and as Jim said, there is a planned event. We’re workin’ out the details…
Jim: We’re workin’ on it.
John: …for New York City on May 4th. And we’re gonna ask you to go to our website to find out details about that, to sign a “Declaration for Life,” and to join millions who will do so, and also, to donate to Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound program in which we show pregnant women their baby in utero with this technology – this ultrasound technology. All the details at focusonthefamily.com/prolife.
Jim: Senator Sasse, again, one thing that can be a little cloudy for us that don’t operate here – we don’t know the procedures – so Patty Murray pits the, um, I guess, opposition up to your unanimous consent. That just kills it? One person – one senator could say, “Wait a minute, I wanna vote,” then it goes nowhere?
Ben: No, happily we have another avenue. So I’m gonna keep fighting, possibly for another unanimous consent request on the floor, but I wanna recorded vote on this as well. I’ve been the lead sponsor of this for two and a half years, and I want us to get a vote. I have – about 95 percent of the Republican senators are co-sponsors of the bill, which is a big deal. That’s a lot of momentum in Washington, D.C. But one thing your listeners can do is call your senators. Whatever state you’re from, what – these Democrats should be getting on board with this bill as well. Uh, I mean, this – this shouldn’t be a Republican versus a Democrat issue. Every American should be celebrating human dignity. And uh, we need some Democrats to co-sponsor this bill as well. A lot of them would vote for it if they were forced to on the floor, but a lot of them don’t wanna admit to the abortion lobby that they would condemn infanticide. And so your listeners could call their senators and urge them to get on board with a piece of common sense, pro-life, pro-love, pro-science legislation.
Jim: And it’s an excellent idea. We’ll have that information…
John: Details at the website.
Jim: Yeah. That’d be great. Uh, Senator Sasse, going back to New York for a moment, I saw a statistic that a – more than half the babies – African-American babies, in that state are aborted. More than half, so that means less than half are actually born. Why would Democrats who, you know, have a history of wanting to be seen as the, you know, racially sensitive party, that they – people don’t see this. They don’t go, “Wow! Wait a minute, more African-American babies are being killed than any other in a percentage basis.” Why don’t they see that?
Ben: You know, the – the history of the abortion movement is so nasty. Uh, Margaret Singer, who was the founder of Planned Parenthood, uh, was a vicious racist. And uh, that movement has regularly had a bizarre, uh, utilitarian calculus about human dignity where the powerful get to determine which lives have value. That’s not what we Christians believe, and that’s not what we Americans believe. We believe in universal human dignity. Every one of these babies is an image-bearer. And you see racial selection, you see gender selection, uh, you see a tax on babies that have Down Syndrome, uh, in the selection going on in – in the abortion industry and in the abortion lobby. And I think as more Americans come to understand these horrible phenomenon – I think the country’s gonna continue to become more pro-life.
Jim: You know, in the original 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Blackman, in the majority, he made a comment, and this is debated, but – and I’m not a legal scholar, but he made a comment basically saying that if science can inform us a little more insightfully when life begins or maybe – he didn’t use the term “viability” but kind of that’s the impression, we may need to relook at this law. That’s the general feeling of what he was expressing. Are we not there now? At this point? Almost 50 years later, that we can take ultrasound, we can look into the womb. It’s not a blob of tissue. The heart is fully developed within a coup – a few weeks of conception. And fingerprints and all those things that happen so quickly. This is an individual human being.
Ben: You’re right, Jim. I mean you – you look at what’s happening and the technology and our ability to see into the womb and see the knitting together that’s happening. And you know, uh, you feel intuitively what you know rationally by science, which is that that is a unique baby with unique DNA. And America, in so many things we lead human rights. On this one, we are a back end of the – of the parade, because the world is becoming more pro-life because of the science.
Out of 200 nations in the world, we’re one of the four countries that allows the late-term, third trimester abortions. We’re in a class of countries we don’t want to be with.
Jim: Name ’em!
Ben: North Korea, Vietnam and China are the only other places that have this little regard for babies. 196 of 200 countries say, “Whoa! We’re not going there! That’s a life. That’s a baby. That has – she, he, she has dignity.” America needs to catch up here.
Jim: Think of that class again. I want to make sure people are hearing this. China.
Ben: North Korea.
Ben: Vietnam and China. We’re with that group of human rights abusers right now in the way we treat our babies.
Jim: That is – that is breathtaking. I can’t believe it. You know some I know in Florida, I’ve been down there many times and a big hello to all our supporters in Florida, but some have made that comparison. If you live on the beach in Florida when turtles are laying their eggs, you cannot turn the outside lights on. We’re giving more protection to a turtle egg than a human baby. What…
Ben: We’ve got some priorities…
Ben: …radically out of whack. It’s like a recovery of an ancient paganism right here in some of that.
Jim: It is, isn’t it? And that – that’s why we scratch our heads and we can’t figure this out. But like you said, the history lesson here is that this is not new to 21st century America. This is Roman. It’s Greek. All the ancient empires that would decide what human life had value. And in early Rome, with the church, they would throw those babies into to the garbage dump, and Christians would go and save those babies and take them home and rear ’em as their own. That was the character of the early church, wasn’t it?
Ben: That’s right. I mean you – you – I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush about what motivates everybody in the pro-abortion movement, but some of them really are influenced by people like Peter Singer, the ethicist, or anti-ethicist, at Princeton who has a utilitarian view of life. And unless somebody is gonna add a lot of economic value in the world, then potentially they don’t have dignity. Happily, America was founded on an idea of universal human dignity. That people who are created “Imago Dei,” people who were created in the image of God, have dignity because our Creator gave us that dignity and government isn’t the author or the source of those rights. Government’s job is to secure those rights. And you see lots of people out in America, lots of listeners today on your program, who are the people comin’ alongside those women in a distressed circumstance saying, “Hey, we wanna help you. We love you. We’re pro-mom. And we’re pro-baby.” There are lots and lots of people waiting in line to adopt.
Jim: When I had the privilege of speaking at so many Pregnancy Resource Centers around the country, in Nebraska, your home state, and in many other states – I love those people.
Jim: I mean, they are right there.
Ben: They’re heroes.
Jim: They’re stepping up. They’re volunteering time. They’re giving their resources financially to support the Pregnancy Resource Centers. I’ve heard so many great testimonies of these 17, 16, 25-year-old girls who are in a – not a good situation. Unplanned pregnancy, what have you. And I think the number’s somewhere around 59% of abortion-minded women, if they can get the counseling and see the image of their baby, that makes all the difference…
Jim: …and 59% will choose life at that point.
Ben: Mmhmm – wonderful!
Jim: That’s what we need to create in the United States rather than a culture of death. A woman choosing death for her baby. Adoption is another option. But we need to continue to encourage women to think in that way.
Ben: Yeah. And we need to reduce the barriers to adoption. I heard from a Nebraska mom this week. She said, “It’s so easy in our culture to get an abortion, and it’s so hard to get an adoption.” Uh, we had a kid here that I invited to the State of the Union Address – President Trump’s State of the Union Address last week. A 17-year-old kid named Noah Lambrecht, who had the umbilical cord tied three times around his neck when he was born…
Ben: …Wasn’t supposed to live. Uh, this couple in Nebraska that adopted him. This kid has persistence. He has grit. And he’s got lots of medical challenges: many heart surgeries…
Ben: …and missing most of his lung capacity. He went out for the cross-country team and all the other kids in all the neighboring schools now, when Noah is the last guy coming in from a cross-country race, the leaders who finished the race – they go back and run with Noah…
Ben: …as the final tribe coming in.
Ben: And they unite all the schools together to celebrate this kid’s grit and persistence.
Ben: And it’s really a celebration of a mom and a dad who said, “That kid has worth.”
Jim: Again, the kids get it better than the adults. They understand. What a beautiful display of loving your neighbor.
Ben: Here. Here.
Jim: Isn’t that great?
Ben: Well said.
Jim: Let me ask you about this past week. We’ve been here for the National Prayer Breakfast. The president spoke there. He – of course that was on the heels of the State of the Union Address. Probably one of the foremost expressions of pro-life in a president, ever. Even more than Reagan, when you look at it. How does that help you with the battle here on the Hill? I mean, when the president’s out there saying, “Abortion is wrong, it’s ripping a baby from the womb.” He’s using very graphic language, but it seems to be connecting with the country.
Ben: I – and I would also give the president kudos for the judicial nominees he’s been making. As we’ve said multiple times through the course of this program, the center of the pro-life movement is not Washington D.C., it’s not power. We need more legislation. We need better legislation. We need to protect babies. But the center of the movement is in your neighborhood and in your church.
Jim: You know, moms and dads are listening – faithful Focus on the Family listeners, Senator Sasse. And the question is how do you deal with this? How do you – I mean, you’re a great guy. You have kids. You’re just like my neighbor. But you’re a Senator. There’s more expected out of you. How do you deal with being in this city where it seems so hopeless at times?
Ben: Well, you don’t forget that we all have a bunch of different identities and you don’t want to get ’em rank ordered wrong. So I’m a Christian and I’m a dad and I’m a husband and I’m a Nebraska football addict.
Ben: I’m temporarily a politician. I’m a Republican and I’m a conservative. But the heart of my identity is not being a U.S. Senator. Uh, my knowledge of the fact that I’m a lawbreaker and I need Jesus to impute His righteousness to me, that’s the center of my identity. And my duties start at being a husband and being a dad. And because those things are rank ordered higher than being a senator, this is a great calling to love your neighbor and try to live a life of gratitude. But this is a term limited calling and you get to go back home. And Nebraska is where I want to be most of the time, so this city isn’t that complicated if you don’t think you have to live in the swamp forever.
Ben: You’re just coming here to do your duty and get back home.
Jim: Well, that is so beautifully said. And we are so blessed to have you as a senator for all of us, not just our great friends in Nebraska. So, thank you for being with us.
Ben: Thanks, Jim. Good to be with you guys.
John: Well what a terrific conversation we’ve had, Jim. And I just want to remind our listeners what we’ve said a couple of times, now. And that is we are planning a major event on May 4th for our listeners to be able to make a stand for life!
Jim: We are. It’s gonna be in Times Square. We’re gonna do, hopefully, a third trimester ultrasound right there on the big screen. That’s the goal. And just get as many people out there in Times Square to say, “We are pro-life. We are for the child and the mom.” And I think it’s gonna be a great event.
And in addition to that, we want you to sign a “Declaration for Life” that we have at our website. We’re gonna deliver that to the White House to say here are, hopefully, tens if not hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of signatures of those who have declared, “We stand for life.” And then, also, we want you to pray and consider supporting the effort here. You know, over the last 15 years we’ve been doing Option Ultrasound. We’ve placed almost a thousand machines around the country. A couple even internationally. We know the metrics. It’s $60 to save a baby’s life. And uh, an abortion costs, I think on average, like $600. Think of that! $60 to save a baby’s life. Will you help us do that? That’s all it takes. Sixty dollars! I’m beggin’ ya on behalf of that child and that mother. Let’s demonstrate that we are pro-life and help these moms make a choice for life.
John: Mmm. Yeah. And the website for all this information, and your opportunity to donate to Focus on the Family is simply focusonthefamily.com/prolife. Focusonthefamily.com/prolife and uh, we’ll also link over to that from our regular radio page, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Now, if you’d prefer, give us a call and we’ll be happy to tell you more, send resources and more. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.
Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back tomorrow as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.