All too often the pro-life movement is grossly misrepresented in the mainstream media. Pro-life advocates never expect, or even hope for, favorable coverage, but rather aspire just to be covered fairly. In a May 17th story on the DC Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Associated Press not only missed the mark on the purpose of the bill but printed blatant factual errors.
The DC Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would protect unborn children within the District of Columbia from abortion after 20 weeks, the point by which a child has reached the developmental milestone of pain capability. In the District, abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason. Abortions after 20 weeks are typically performed using the violent dilation and evacuation (D & E) method.
In acknowledgement of the horrifyingly painful death unborn children face at this stage of development, the bill would extend legal protection to unborn children in all instances except in the rare case when a mother’s life is endangered.
The Associated Press story read, “In the district, abortion is legal before a fetus is considered viable outside the womb and after viability to protect the life or health of the mother. In 2004, the D.C. Council wiped an outdated criminal ban on abortions off the books. Anti-abortion activists have claimed that makes the city unusually permissive on abortion. District officials and abortion-rights supporters say the district law follows the precedent established by Roe v. Wade.”
In fact, abortion is currently legal on demand in the District of Columbia.
On May 23rd, the Associated Press issued a correction: “In a May 17 story about a bill that would ban abortion in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy, The Associated Press, relying on information provided by district officials, erroneously reported that abortion of a viable fetus is legal in the district only to protect the life or health of the mother. Abortions for any reason are legal in the district.”
That status is completely out of touch with the majority of Americans, which favors limits on abortion. A recent Gallup poll showed only 25% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances.
Abortion advocates have sought to steer attention away from the reality of what happens to an unborn child during a late term abortion. Instead of debating the provisions of the bill, abortion advocates have joined forces with DC voting rights groups. However, the US Constitution is explicitly clear. Ultimate authority over the District of Columbia rests with Congress and the president. Congress must now decide whether or not abortion should continue to be legal in the District through all nine months until the moment of birth.
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Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national pro-life organization that originated the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803), commented on a recent demonstration against the bill:
“The local demonstrators say, in effect, that the federal capital city belongs to them and that the rest of America should just shut up. But the U.S. Constitution makes it crystal clear that the District of Columbia belongs to all of the American people, and is to be governed by the Congress and the president. It is ironic that today’s demonstration was orchestrated by DC Vote whose executive director, Ilir Zherka, is a resident of Chevy Chase, Maryland.”
Johnson also said, “We hope that after more reflection, the demonstrators will grasp the profound difference between a broken street light and the broken skull of an unborn child, which is crushed by a steel clamp during a late abortion.”