Senator Bill Nelson claims to be a “thoughtful, moderate voice in an increasingly partisan political world.” If only that were true! In reality, he’s an extremist who supports abortion on demand through the moment of birth, and he should be worried about the political consequences.
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration recently published statistics about abortions in the state for 2017. While the good news is that abortions are declining, a review by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found alarming details in this report. Of nearly 70,000 abortions in Florida last year, the overwhelming majority were elective. Only about two percent of all abortions involved the so-called “hard cases” that are so hotly debated in Washington and the media. This is extreme.
Most alarming of all, though, is that 11 babies were reported as being born alive in failed abortions. Florida is one of only a handful of states to report this information. Five years ago, Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which protects the rights of babies who survive abortions and requires every reasonable effort to be made to save their lives, just like any other premature infant of the same age. For the first time, it also required that instances of babies born alive be reported to the state health department. Sadly, we don’t know what ultimately happened to the 11 babies in 2017. However, we know that number is higher than in any year since the law passed.
Some abortion advocates flat-out deny that abortions sometimes go wrong and result in live births, but we know that’s not true. The plight of born-alive babies is very personal to us. As a labor and delivery nurse in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Jill Stanek witnessed first-hand babies struggling to live after botched abortions. They were simply discarded like medical waste in the hospital’s soiled utility room. Jill will never forget comforting one precious little survivor for 45 minutes until the end of his life. When she spoke out, she lost her job. This experience motivated her to expose the horrific practice of infanticide and prevent it from happening to other children.
Under pro-life Governor Rick Scott, Florida is making progress. The number of abortions in Florida has dropped nearly 14 percent since Scott took office. Senator Nelson, on the other hand, is an extremist who would see that progress undone at the national level. He voted to keep barbaric partial-birth abortions legal. He has voted several times for taxpayer funding of abortion, which most Americans oppose. In 2015, he voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would stop abortions after five months of pregnancy. When the bill came up for a vote again this year, he didn’t even show up.
Only seven nations in the world, including China and North Korea, allow abortion on demand at any point in pregnancy. The United States falls in this shameful minority. Thankfully, 20 states have enacted five-month limits on abortion and momentum is growing.
This is welcome change, but thanks to Nelson and other extremists in the U.S. Senate, we still do not have a national law to protect these vulnerable children.
Nelson’s extreme record shows how out-of-touch he is with constituents. Polling shows that 59 percent of Florida voters support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and 46 percent said they would be less likely to support Senator Nelson if he voted to allow late-term abortion. Broken down by demographic, 78 percent of millennial voters, 70 percent of African-American voters, and 57 percent of Hispanic voters support the bill. Even 56 percent of Democrats and people who consider themselves “pro-choice” support it.
Nelson will be held accountable for his extremism at the ballot box. SBA List’s Florida field team has been on the ground for months, talking with voters, educating them about Nelson’s record on abortion and the importance of getting to the polls as part of a historic effort to visit two million homes in key battleground states before Election Day. We are grateful Governor Scott is running for Senate and urge all pro-life Floridians to support him.
Frank White is a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 2. He is currently running for the Republican nomination to be Florida’s attorney general.
Jill Stanek is Susan B. Anthony List’s National Campaign Chair.