Senate Democrats object to GOP Gosnell resolution, introduce separate resolution condemning all health-care abuses

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Democratic senators offered objections to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s Gosnell resolution Wednesday, responding with their own resolution to condemn illegal activities in all health-care settings.

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee attempted to bring his resolution to express “the sense of the Senate that Congress and the States should investigate and correct abusive, unsanitary, and illegal abortion practices” to the floor Wednesday afternoon for consideration under unanimous consent.

Lee’s resolution highlights the alleged crimes of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently awaiting judgment on more than 250 charges, including first-degree murder in the deaths of four babies born alive in attempted abortions and third-degree murder for the death of a woman from a drug overdose during an abortion.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal objected to Lee’s resolution, which focuses on abortion crimes, and offered his own resolution with California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen condemning “all incidents of abusive, unsanitary, or illegal healthcare practices.”

“I believe this problem is broader than the one cited in [Lee’s] resolution,” Blumenthal said.

“Anytime, anywhere patients are endangered or threatened by criminal conduct or malpractice they should be prosecuted and disciplined to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. His resolution “will call upon our colleagues to condemn these actions in all healthcare settings — whether clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or dental offices across the country and so with that I object.”

Lee objected to the resolution on the basis that he had not had time to read the language.

“I am heartened and I think all Americans should be heartened and the entire pro-life movement should be heartened by the clear implication in this proposal that health regulations should be equitably applied and enforced on abortion clinics as they are on other healthcare facilities,” he said.

Lee continued to discuss some of the details of the Gosnell crime and recalled the recent testimony a Planned Parenthood lobbyist provided before the Florida legislature suggesting that infants born alive should not be entitled to medical attention. He further highlighted the recent series of undercover Live Action videos, which have offered an additional look into the late-term abortion industry.

“Is the case of Dr. Gosnell really an outlier? Or is the legitimacy of the late-term abortion industry merely a lie?” Lee asked. “The American people deserve to know.”

He continued that while opinions will be divided the Senate should see to is that they “find common ground to protect innocent women and children.”

“But there really should be no division or controversy surrounding the Sense-of-the-Senate resolution I’d like to call up now,” he said. “If there are other Kermit Gosnells out there, waging their own personal war on women, we need to know about it. And we need to stop them.”

Blumenthal responded that he sympathized with the concerns Lee raised, explaining that he wanted to include all “criminals posing as healthcare practitioners” in all areas of medicine — including the Oklahoma dentist who exposed his patients to HIV and hepatitis from unsterile equipment; practitioners at a Southern Nevada endoscopy clinic who exposed their patients to hepatitis C through unsanitary practices; and a nursing home director in California who inappropriately medicated the patients in her care, resulting in the death of at least one patient.

“These incidents, as alleged, are willful violations of human dignity and decency that ought to shock the conscience of the nation every bit to its core as much as the alleged misconduct and potential criminal activity in Pennsylvania,” Blumenthal said.

“My resolution would take as common ground the alleged Pennsylvania misconduct and include many other instances where standards of care, basic standards of decency and trust are violated,” he added.

Lee concurred that all health-care facilities should be subjected to oversight and regulation.

Boxer spoke on the broad issue of health-care abuse, saying that the Senate does not come out and condemn each horrible act.

“We don’t come down here everyday to call out one horrific problem after another.  Certainly what has happened in Pennsylvania — and again I would take the admonition of Sen. Blumenthal, who was a prosecutor, we have to be careful when a jury is deliberating — but certainly if these allegation are true the individuals involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said and added that this should be case in other instances as well.

Boxer praised Blumenthal for his attempt to find common ground by expanding the condemnation to all abusive, illegal health-care practices.

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