by Steven Ertelt
December 5, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a surprising move, House Democratic leaders have said they won’t lobby members of their caucus to vote against legislation that would inform women of the pain their baby would feel during an abortion. The House is expected to take a vote on the measure Wednesday.
The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act requires abortion practitioners to provide women with a brochure from the Department of Health and Human Services on the latest research showing babies at 20 weeks into pregnancy can feel severe pain.
Once informed of the baby’s pain a woman considering an abortion has the option of providing the baby with anesthesia before the abortion procedure.
Pro-life groups strongly support the bill and hope it will result in women changing their minds about abortions. Abortion advocates are split, with leading abortion advocacy group NARAL not lobbying on it and Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations strenuously opposing it.
That split has led Democrats to not whip the bill when it comes up for a vote.
In fact, the Washington Post reports that pro-abortion Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi is calling the vote a "vote of conscience" and will not speak on the bill or ask the Democratic caucus to oppose it.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are citing NARAL’s reluctance to oppose the bill as the primary reason for not urging party members to vote against it.
Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said the vote will show the true intention of the Democratic Party on abortion.
"The Democrats are facing an interesting situation because they ran to the right in this election," she told the Post. "They promised one thing to America with their campaigning. The question is, will they live up to that image? Running and hiding is not a solution."
Still, pro-life lawmakers need a two-thirds vote to get the bill to the Senate and staunch abortion advocates aren’t likely to be swayed to support the bill by the positions of the Democratic leaders and NARAL.
Rep. Chris Smith, the pro-life New Jersey Republican sponsoring the measure, said it’s difficult for any measure, especially one on an issue as contentious as abortion, to get that kind of support.