Remarks by the President in Signing of H.R. 2175, Born Alive Infants
Protection Act, August 5, 2002
12:58 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for this bill signing ceremony.
I'm pleased to sign it in the great city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The
history of our country is the story of a promise, a promise of life and liberty
made at our founding and fulfilled over the centuries in our laws. It is a story
of expanding inclusion and protection for the ignored and the weak and the
powerless. And now we extend the promise and protection to the most vulnerable
members of our society.
Today I sign the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This important
legislation ensures that every infant born alive -- including an infant who
survives an abortion procedure -- is considered a person under federal law.
(Applause.) This reform was passed with the overwhelming support of both
political parties, and it is about to become the law of the land.
I appreciate so very much Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Steve Chabot
from Ohio for sponsoring this important piece of legislation. I also appreciate
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Congresswoman Melissa Hart for coming,
as well. I want to thank the Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Wuerl,
for being here. It's good to see you again, Bishop. I appreciate Hadley Arkes,
the Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions at Amherst University.
I want to thank Jill Stanek, registered nurse, Labor and Delivery Unit, Christ
Hospital and Medical Center, for being here, as well. I appreciate Gianna Jessen,
who is an abortion survivor and a pro-life advocate. I want to thank Dr. Watson
Bowes, who is a Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the
University of North Carolina.
I want to thank you all for coming. It's important that you're here, to send
a signal that you're dedicated to the protection of human life. The issue of
abortion divides Americans, no question about it. Yet today we stand on common
ground. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act establishes a principle in America
law and American conscience: there is no right to destroy a child who has been
born alive. (Applause.) A child who is born has intrinsic worth and must have
the full protection of our laws.
Today, through sonograms and other technology, we can clearly -- see clearly
that unborn children are members of the human family, as well. (Applause.) They
reflect our image, and they are created in God's own image.
The Born Alive Infants Protection Act is a step toward the day when every
child is welcomed in life and protected in law. (Applause.) It is a step toward
the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to
everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights. This
law is a step toward the day when America fully becomes, in the words of Pope
John Paul II, "a hospitable, a welcoming culture." Our society has enough
compassion, wealth and love to care for mothers and their children, and to see
the promise and potential of every life. In protecting the vulnerable and the
weak, the imperfect and the unwanted, you are affirming a culture of life.
I'm grateful for your perseverance on behalf of this noble cause. I want to
thank you for your hard work. I appreciate your care for every member of the
human family. Thank you for coming today. It's now my honor and pleasure to sign
into law the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
(The act is signed.) (Applause.)
END 1:04 P.M. EDT