Senator Lankford Asks the Senate: When Is a Child a Child?

“It’s not just about making abortion illegal in the country. I would tell you I’m working to make abortion unthinkable in this country.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today took to the Senate floor to share his full and unwavering support for life in our nation and to ask his fellow Senators a simple question: when does life begin? As he does every year around the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, Senator Lankford once again shared his belief that every life has value and worth and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Lankford remains the leading pro-life voice in the Senate to stand up against the Biden Administration’s obsession with abortion, especially after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to return decisions about abortions to the people’s elected representatives. Lankford has called out the Biden Administration for promoting abortions among unaccompanied minors, and he has called out the Department of Veterans Affairs for trying to go around federal and state laws and provide abortions.

A recent episode of Lankford’s podcastThe Breakdown with James Lankford, was a conversation about the pro-abortion lobby spreading false rumors about miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and what that means for the future of women’s health.


We are in a historic season as a country. We’re pausing to ask ourselves a question that quite frankly we’ve not really asked ourselves in a long time: when does life begin?

Now it’s not just philosophical. It’s not just theological. It’s not just scientific. It’s personal. As each person has to come to a decision: when does life begin? And when the Supreme Court made the decision for the Dobbs decision last summer, that actually put America back in the position that it had been in historically. Our nation is 243 years old, and for 185 of those years, each state passed state laws to be able to determine the decision about this issue of when does life begin.

So the Dobbs decision was not a radical decision; it’s the typical decision for Americans quite frankly, for 185 of our 234 years. But it doesn’t settle the issue of abortion. Abortion’s still legal in America, as much as there’s all the noise around the country right now that abortion’s somehow gone away. It certainly has not. Abortion’s still all over the country.

But it’s pushed Americans, and it’s pushed Americans specifically on this one issue: when does life begin?

Now quite frankly I’ve had fascinating conversations with people over the last eight months that they’d never actually contemplated this issue, that they’ve just never stopped to be able to think about. They’ve just said, ‘Abortion’s legal. Abortion’s legal. It’s just a women’s choice. It’s a women’s choice. It’s a women’s choice.’ And they don’t want to think about it.

But when the decision came down, a lot of people had to stop and say, when does life begin? Is it at birth? Is it after birth? Is it 10 minutes before birth? Is it a month before birth? Is it two months before birth? Quite frankly I’ve had this conversation with a lot of folks, and some folks have told me, ‘Well it’s a viability,’ And I’ve said, ‘Okay, well define viability for me because viability in 1973 when the Court with Roe v. Wade was very different than viability now.’ Medical science has advanced tremendously. So is viability 26 weeks, or is it 21 weeks of gestation? And if it’s at 21 weeks, what’s the different between 20 weeks and 19 weeks? What’s the difference between 18 weeks?

I look at these two pictures right here of this child. This one’s out of the womb. This one’s five months earlier, and I ask the simple question: what’ s the difference between these two pictures of this child? The only difference between that sonogram picture in the womb and that child outside of the womb is time. That’s it. The same DNA is in this child is in this child, the same parents, the same development. Everything’s the same. The only difference is time.

I’m five months older than I was five months ago because I’ve aged five months, so did that child from that moment.  So my question’s very simple: when is a child a child? When does life begin? Is this one not alive, and this one is alive simply because he’s five months older? When’s a child a child?

For 50 years there’ve been a group of folks—this year there were tens of thousands—that gathered out on the Mall just to be able to celebrate every single child. They’ve done it for now five decades since the Roe v. Wade decision came down. They’ve gathered on the Mall, and they’ve just said, ‘We believe every child is valuable.’ Every child. There aren’t some children hat are disposable and some children that are valuable. We think every child’s valuable. Now that’s not a radical concept. I have folks that yell and scream at me quite frankly and say, ‘A woman has the right to be able to choose,’ and I ask just the very simple question of them—in great respect—has the right to choose to be able take the life of a child at what age?—because that child is valuable and so is that child, because it’s the same child just at a different age.

I celebrate the folks that have for five decades gathered on the Mall and have marched for life and have said we will not forget the value of every single child because tens of millions of children have died in this country in the last 50 years after the Roe v. Wade decision. And while abortion is still available in America, everyone’s having to pause and ask a simple question: what do I believe about life—note what’s convenient—what do I believe about life?

I’ve been very outspoken on this floor about my frustration with the Biden Administration. I’ve not held back on this because they are the most pro-abortion presidency in American history. They actively work on increasing the number of abortions in America, and I find that not only appalling, I find that painful, that we as a nation have a policy of finding ways to increase the death of children. That’s not who we should be as a nation. We should be working to protect the life of every single child.

The most basic science that anyone will work through is if you look at this child in the womb, there is no difference in this child and this child outside the womb. That is the most basic of science, and if you want to look at science, look at science. But then ask yourself the personal question as well.

When does life begin?

The argument about abortion is not just a legal argument. Everyone wants to take it to a legally issue because quite frankly this body is a legal body. But the issue of abortion is not just a legal issue. It’s not just about making abortion illegal in the country. I would tell you I’m working to make abortion unthinkable in this country. Because we look past the convenience and look to this child’s face, and to say why does that child not deserve life like every one of us? Because at its most basic level, there is no difference between any one of us in this room and when we were at this stage right here in our mother’s womb except for time.

So I ask this body a simple question: when does life begin? And are some children really disposable and some children are valuable? That’s the question each of us need to decide. And I’m proud to stand with those who have marched for 50 years to say: children are valuable—all of them. All of them.

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