The Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill Wednesday to protect unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions and later term abortions after 20 weeks.
Sponsored by state Sen. Michele Brooks, the bill passed in a 32-18 vote, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. It now moves to the Pennsylvania House where it appears likely to pass.
“Taking the life of an unborn child by tearing the baby limb by limb from a mother’s womb is cruel and unconscionable,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “Not one Pennsylvania child should be subjected to this form of brutality—and not one mother should have to grieve a child killed in such a barbaric way.”
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3 would make it illegal to cause “the death of an unborn child by means of dismembering the unborn child and extracting the unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments.” It also would push back the legal abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, reflecting how modern technology has been able to save premature babies at earlier stages of development.
Gallagher said about 1,550 babies are killed in Pennsylvania every year in dismemberment abortions.
She also said a recent poll found strong support for the measure among Pennsylvanians, with 61 percent supporting a ban on dismemberment abortions.
“Poll results show that support for a dismemberment abortion ban in Pennsylvania is actually higher among women than men,” Gallagher added. “Sixty-four percent of PA women want to see this heinous practice banned once and for all. And they applaud those women lawmakers who are leading the fight to end this ultimate form of child abuse.”
State Sen. Joe Scarnati, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the legislation is needed, given modern medical advancements that have pushed back the point of viability.
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“It is greatly important that we work to protect the most vulnerable in our society, including the innocent unborn,” Scarnati said in a statement.
He referred to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found survival rates for premature babies born before 24 weeks are increasing. According to the study, the overall survival rates for premature babies between 22 and 24 weeks increased to 79 percent in 2012, up from 70 percent in 1993; and about one-third of premature babies born at 23 weeks will survive.
Currently under Pennsylvania law, babies in the womb can be aborted up to 24 weeks for any reason.
Gov. Tom Wolf, who has close ties to the abortion industry, said he will veto the bill.
“It’s wrong, it’s unconstitutional, it flies in the face of everything I stand for, and I will veto it,” the governor said.
Wolf has close ties to Planned Parenthood and appointed one of the abortion group’s board members as his chief of staff. He also volunteered for the abortion chain and received strong support from it during his election campaign.
A handful of states also have passed dismemberment abortion bans, which are the brainchild of the National Right to Life Committee.
The bill also is modeled, in part, after the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which 16 states have passed into law. The bill prohibits later term abortions after 20 weeks as medical advancements push the line of viability earlier in pregnancy and as substantial medical evidence indicates unborn babies at this stage are capable of experiencing pain.