It is customary when rising in support of legislation to speak in gracious terms about the opportunity to vote for it.

“This is a good day for the Senate.”

“The American people can be proud.”

“This bill represents legislating at its best.”

That’s what we say. I have said it in the past myself.

But while I will soon join the majority – though maybe not the necessary super-majority - of our colleagues voting to take up the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Mr. President, it is a tragedy that we should have to.

That late-term abortions – abortions after children are viable and their nervous systems can feel pain - are legal in this country is an affront to American democracy, and a stain on America’s great history.

It is not the fault of the American people, who – like the rest of the civilized world – are appalled by the violent extremism of aborting viable unborn infants.

Rather, in 1973, it was originally the fault of a constitutionally unhinged - and scientifically illiterate - Supreme Court majority.

Four decades on, the fault is now fully shared by a Democratic Party so corrupted by special-interest politics that it has forsaken the one principle – standing up for the little guy – that once earned them all Americans’ gratitude and respect.

Our friends on the other side of the aisle still claim that surrendered high-ground. But that claim gets harder to take seriously every time they not only abandon, but deny the very humanity, of the littlest guy of all.

Or littlest girl. Let’s not forget that the Democratic Party today is not just the party of taxpayer-subsidized, late-term abortion on demand. It is also the party of taxpayer subsidized, late-term, sex-selective abortion on demand.

Seven… or eight… or nine months along, with eyes and a nose, a full head of hair, with a beating heart and a perfect smile and late-night hiccups… they think it should be legal for a doctor to take her life, just because she’s a girl.

Or just because she may have Down Syndrome, or a cleft palate. Or any reason, really. To the Democratic Party today, there is no reason so superficial or bigoted that it shouldn’t negate the right to life of an unborn child.

Or a born child, for that matter, Mr. President.

As was confirmed by the recently released video testimony of abortion industry insiders, some abortion clinics – clinics funded by the federal government! - kill infants that are born alive.

There’s a word for that. And it isn’t “healthcare.”

And yet, even though Philadelphia abortionist and serial infant-killer Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder for doing just that… physician-assisted infanticide is something like a stated principle of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Remember, it was on this very floor, a few feet from here, that in 1999, one of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that legal protection of a child should begin only “when you bring your baby home.”

And when you get down to it, what difference does a few centimeters make anyway? Why should it be legal to kill a perfectly healthy eight-month old, six-pound little girl right here… and illegal to kill her over here?

After all, abortion is not the first peculiar institution that has arbitrarily dehumanized certain Americans based on geography.

Especially with such a high progressive principle at stake. As a Supreme Court Justice, of all people, put it in a 2009 interview with the New York Times, describing the social, political, and moral attitudes that led to the Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade:

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

As chilling as that sounds – and one certainly must wonder which “populations” liberals wanted to cull - to me, the most important part of that statement is not the hint toward genetic cleansing at the end.

Rather, it’s the word “frankly” at the beginning.

That was a window into the soul of abortion extremism. And we see it again… and again… and again.

On the rare occasions when we hear abortion advocates speaking “frankly,” it terrifies us.

The conspirators exposed in the Center for Medical Progress videos are only the most recent example.

Watch the videos. Listen to what they say, and how they say it.

In their detached, dehumanizing euphemisms and stomach-turning humor, they speak not like fairy tale monsters, but the real thing – the rational, rationalizing men and women with prestigious pedigrees and cultivated tastes, who hide their barbarism in bureaucracy.

But we can rest assured, Mr. President, there will be no such talk here today. There will be no frank, candid public discussion of late-term abortions, because that might eventually lead us to the truth. And only one side in this debate is interested in that.

When it comes to the reality of abortion, pro-choice politicians choose not to debate. They choose to deceive.

They will come down to this floor for the next two days… not to defend what we all know is indefensible. Rather, they will try to cloak their extremism in a fog of denial and distraction.

Politicians who defend the right to kill born-alive little girls will, with straight faces, rail about a “war on women.”

Politicians who defend lax, unsanitary clinic standards will, with straight faces, lecture us all about their commitment to women’s health.

Politicians who resurrect embarrassing, medieval superstitions about when life begins will, with straight faces, thunder against the scourge of Republican science-deniers.

As if none of us has touched a pregnant mom’s tummy and felt a little kick. As if those grisly Planned Parenthood videos didn’t exist. As if none of us took high school biology.

But they know the truth. In unguarded moments, as we have heard, they speak the truth.

And one day, the truth will set us all free, and the Democratic Party will stop taking its problems out on the kids.

We’re not there yet. But as the desperate tactics on the other side of the question reveal, we’re getting closer all the time.

Truth doesn’t wait on partisanship.

And the truth is, a ban on late-term abortions after five months, should be the law of our land.

The truth is that unborn children can feel pain after only two months of development. In the words of University of Utah Professor Maureen Condic, with whom I met last week:

Based on universally accepted scientific findings, the human fetus detects and reacts to painful stimuli as early as eight weeks following sperm-egg fusion.”

Now, Mr. President, for our Unfrozen Caveman Senators on the other side of the aisle whose “primitive minds” are confused and frightened by modern science, “sperm-egg fusion” is when biology tells us unequivocally that human life begins.

On day one: a fact that is neither a mystery nor above the pay-grade of a curious seventh-grader.

At eight weeks, Mr. President, we know a fetus can feel pain. That’s not just scientific consensus. It’s “universally accepted,” “entirely uncontested” in Dr. Condic’s words.

Why, then, does the bill before us allow abortions even up to 20 weeks? Because that’s where the science is directly observable. That is how modest a compromise this bill is. As Dr. Condic puts it:

"Fetuses at 20 weeks have an increase in stress hormones in response to painful experiences that can be eliminated by appropriate anesthesia."

In other words, Mr. President, at 20 weeks, an unborn child can feel pain. We can see them feel it.

That is also the age, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, at which an unborn child is viable outside the womb.

Pre-natal surgeons can now treat unborn children as young as 16 weeks. And with every innovation and advance of perinatology, modern medicine stretches its miraculous light further and further into what used to be “the valley of the shadow of death.”

These are the facts, Mr. President: at twenty weeks, a little boy or girl has a real chance to seize the great adventure of life, and they feel pain when that chance is violently taken from them.

Just like any child would. Just like our own. Just like us.

We owe it to them to give them that chance. The science actually goes much further; this bill is only the least we can do right now.

Our generation doesn’t yet know what chapter we are writing in America’s long struggle to defend the equal dignity of all human life.

But we all do know – even our friends on the other side of the aisle, I think – that this story has a happy ending.

Like generations past who overcame ignorance and bigotry to welcome marginalized Americans into our hearts and our society… we, too, shall overcome.

Because even though the unborn don’t have a voice, they do have an unflinching ally: the Truth.

Not just the philosophical truth expressed in our Declaration of Independence, but the biological, medical, and scientific truth that unborn children… are children. There is no “us” and “them;” there’s just “us.”

And deep down, we know it. We know that children are a gift, and deserve our protection. We know that mothers are heroes, and deserve our support. The bill before us would provide them a little bit more of both.

Despite its majority support, this bill may not pass this time. And America’s moms and children waiting for the laws of the United States to catch up to the justice and compassion reflected in the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God will have to wait a little longer.

But not too long.

For if our national story has taught us anything, it is that extremism in defense of violence here will not long stand. This bill will one day soon be the law of the land. So too will those passed last week in the House of Representatives, and still others yet to come.

The arc of American history may be long, but the American people have a way of bending it toward Life. And after decades of violence and lies and corruption, Mr. President, help is on the way.

Maybe it’s a good day for the Senate after all.