House Votes Tuesday on Bill Banning Abortions at 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

National   Steven Ertelt   Jun 14, 2013   |   12:53PM    Washington, DC

The full House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on a bill that would ban abortions nationwide at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

On Wednesday, a committee passed the bill on a 20-12 vote and the measure now heads to the full House floor where it is expected to receive a debate and vote next week. Republicans are supportive of the measure while Democrats are generally opposed to it.

The National Right to Life Committee is one of many pro-life organizations that support the bill and are urging pro-life advocates to contact members of Congress to urge a vote for it.

“The Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives has announced plans to bring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to the House floor during the week of June 17,” it said in an action alert to its members. “The bill (H.R. 1797) would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks fetal age, unless the mother’s life is endangered — based on compelling scientific evidence that by 20 weeks (if not earlier), the unborn child is capable of experiencing excruciating pain while being aborted.”

A recent national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger.   Only 30% said they would oppose such a law,” NRLC added.

National Right to Life said pro-abortion groups and their allies in Congress have made it clear that they intend to try to delay, obstruct, and defeat this bill and urged pro-lifers to “send messages to your representative in the U.S. House, urging him or her cosponsor H.R. 1797 and to oppose all weakening amendments.”

“Also, urge your two U.S. senators to sponsor the Senate version of the bill, S. 886, sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), if they have not already done so,” it added.

During the hearing, former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child.

Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.

The committee also saw graphic pictures of babies who were killed by Douglas Karpen, who is considered the second Kermit Gosnell.

After the subcommittee vote for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797), Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who is the bill sponsor, told LifeNews: “I understand the unfortunate reality that today’s markup will be surrounded by some degree of controversy. But we, as a nation, find ourselves at a point at which we don’t offer unborn children even the most basic protections — even protections we extend to animals and property.”

Franks added: “The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide. I pray we use this as a ‘teachable moment,’ in the words of President Obama, and can agree that, at the very least, we are better than dismembering babies who can feel every excruciating moment. I look forward to the bill’s moving on the full Judiciary Committee and to an eventual vote on this necessary, common-sense measure.”

Congressman Franks believes the national abortion ban is timely in light of the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell and news reports of potentially similar gruesome late abortion practitioners around the country.

“I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen. But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures,” he said.

During the 2011-12 Congress, Mr. Franks’ bill garnered 222 co-sponsors in the 435-member House, and received the support of a majority of House members on July 31, 2012 (roll call no. 539).

The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it.

He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”

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He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen  were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.

“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote.

“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.

With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has provided further research to substantiate their work.

“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.

Further documentation and links to the scientific studies can be found at: www.doctorsonfetalpain.com.