The House of Representatives today approved a pro-life bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth.
The vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. The House approved the bill on a 242-184 vote with four Democrats (Reps. Cuellar, Langevin, Lipinski, and Peterson) voting for the bill and five Republicans voting against it (Reps. Dent, Dold, Hanna, Frelinghuysen) or voting present (Hice). (See very end of this article for how members voted).
Should the Senate approve the bill, President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat. But pro-life groups hope to use the measure as an election tool in 2016 in an attempt to wrest control of the White House and approve a pro-life president who will sign it into law.
During the debate today on a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Congressman Sean Duffy gave what may be one of the most passionate defenses of the pro-life position ever seen on the floor of Congress. Duffy took on the claim often made by Democrats who support abortion saying they stand for the defenseless and voiceless.
“I’ve listened to the floor debate day after day .. about how they fight for the forgotten, they fight for the defenseless, they fight for the voiceless. And they pound their chest and stomp their feet. You don’t have anyone in our society that’s more defenseless than these little babies,” he said. “And we are not taking — I believe in conception. I know my colleagues can’t agree with me on that. Can’t we come together and say we are going to stand with little babies that feel pain, that survive outside the womb? Ones that don’t have lobbyists and money? Don’t we stand with those little babies?”
“If you stand with the defenseless, with the voiceless, you have to stand with little babies. Don’t talk to me about cruelty in our bill — when you look at little babies being dismembered, feeling excruciating pain, if we can’t stand to defend these children, what do we stand for in this institution?” he added.
The vote for the bill came on the anniversary of the conviction of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who killed babies in a live-birth abortion process.
“Two years ago today, Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder, conspiracy to kill and involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment,” Congressman Chris Smith said.
“Even though the news of Gosnell’s child slaughter was largely suppressed by the mainstream media, many of my colleagues may remember that Dr. Gosnell operated a large Philadelphia abortion clinic where women died and countless babies were dismembered or chemically destroyed often by having their spinal cords snipped—all gruesome procedures causing excruciating pain to the victim,” he added. “The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is needed now more than ever because there are Gosnells all over America, dismembering and decapitating pain-capable babies for profit.”
“Fresh impetus for the bill came from a huge study of nearly 5,000 babies—preemies—published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The next day, a New York Times article titled: “Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated” touted the Journal’s extraordinary findings of survival and hope,” Congressman Smith continued. “Thus the babies we seek to protect from harm today may survive if treated humanely, with expertise and compassion—not the cruelty of the abortion.”
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This is the second time the House has voted for the legislation — having approved it in May 2013. The bill was then blocked by pro-abortion Democrats who controlled the U.S. Senate.
During the hearing on the last bill, 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.
Americans strongly support legislation that would ban late-term abortions and protect babies who are capable of feeling intense pain during an abortion.
The vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with abortion, according to a January Marist University poll. The survey finds support for abortion restrictions among both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” supporters. Despite the strong support, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the pro-life bill.
According to the national survey, 84% of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion, and would limit abortions to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. This includes almost 7 in 10 (69 percent) who identify themselves as “pro-choice” who support such abortion limits and oppose late-term abortions.
The same percentage (84 percent) also says that laws can protect both the well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn. In addition, by more than 20 points (60 percent to 38 percent), Americans say abortion is morally wrong.
Other national polls also show strong support nationwide for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and stopping late-term abortions.
A poll conducted for the liberal Huffington Post find Americans support the ban on late-term abortions starting at 20-weeks of pregnancy by almost a 2-1 margin.
A 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.
A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.
The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy. 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.”
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 has provided further research to substantiate their work.
One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”
“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.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, “[w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
“In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants…In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” Dr. Malloy testified. She continued, “[t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”
Other provisions in H.R. 36 include:
- An Informed Consent Form including the age of the child; a description of the law; an explanation that if the baby is born-alive, he or she will be given medical assistance and transported to a hospital; and information about the woman’s right to sue if these protections are not followed. Women deserve this information.
- The woman is empowered with a Civil Right of Action, so she may sue abortion providers who fail to comply with the law. Parents are also given a civil right of action if the law is not followed with regard to their minor daughter.
H R 36 RECORDED VOTE 13-May-2015 5:32 PM
QUESTION: On Passage, Yes is a Pro-Life Vote, No is Pro-Abortion
BILL TITLE: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Doyle, Michael F.
Johnson, E. B.
Lujan Grisham (NM)
Luján, Ben Ray (NM)
Sánchez, Linda T.
|Hice, Jody B.|
Boyle, Brendan F.