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Government Leaders on Abortion

Senator Mike Enzi
U.S. Senator
Mike Enzi

May 15, 1997
Washington, D.C. -- Personal experience and the "miracle of life" led Senator Mike Enzi to make a passionate plea for his colleagues' support of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban bill being contemplated by the Senate.

Enzi, an original cosponsor of the Senate measure, related how his daughter's three-month premature birth illustrated the struggle for precious life and influenced his strong support for a ban on partial birth abortions.

"Amy was born three months premature. She weighed just two pounds and the doctor's advice was, 'wait until morning, see if she lives.' The doctors could do nothing to help this newborn baby. Until you have seen a baby that was born three months premature you would not believe what they look like. Another lady had given birth to a 10-pound baby at the same time Amy was born. The two babies were laying side by side. I remember standing outside the nursery with some other people looking in at the babies. The other people said 'Oh, look at that one. Looks like a piece of rope with some knots in it. Too bad,'" Enzi recounted.

The next day Enzi took Amy, their first child, to the hospital in Casper via car in a Wyoming blizzard, the same blizzard that prevented them from flying to Denver where they sought the best possible medical care that could possibly save their child's life.

"So we took a car from Gillette, Wyoming, to the center of the state, to Wyoming's biggest hospital, to get the best kind of care we could find. We ran out of oxygen on the way, the highway patrol was looking for us, and all along the way, we were watching every breath of that child," said Enzi.

"We arrived at the hospital in Casper and put her in the care of the doctors. There were several times when Diana and I went to the Hospital to see Amy in her isolette with a shroud around it. We would knock on the window and the nurses would come and say, 'It's not looking good. We had to make her breathe again.' Or, 'Have you had the baby baptized?' We had Amy baptized in the first few minutes after birth, but she worked and struggled to live. Watching an infant fight with every fiber of her being demonstrated unquestionably the desire to live, even though only six months developed."

She did live. That little girl is now a 25-year-old middle school English teacher in Gillette and she "loves every minute of every day," according to her dad.
Enzi said this experience changed his whole outlook on life and led him to support the abortion ban bill, where doctors take lives instead of saving them.

"Life is such a miracle that we have to respect it and work for it every single day in every way we can," said Enzi. "This bill will help in that effort."

Enzi discounted an amendment offered by Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), which would allow the procedure in certain circumstances.

 "The bill we have now provides an exception if the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother and no alternative procedure could be used for that purpose," said Enzi.

"But the truth is, the leaders in the medical profession have stated that this procedure is never necessary to save the life of the mother. In fact it could actually be more dangerous for her."

Enzi said the false testimony of Dr. Ron Fitzsimmons, who said this procedure is rarely performed and then later recanted and admitted that it is commonly done, had a great deal to do with the Partial Birth Abortion bill's passage in the House.

"His reversal led to the veto-proof passage in the House and I'm sure it will influence the vote in the Senate," said Enzi.

"We as senators will cast no vote that will more directly affect the future of our families and our children than the vote on this bill."


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