With the Republicans in the House of Representatives spearheading passage of the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, pressure is now on Democrats in the Senate to allow a vote on the bill.
The Senate bill is in progress and Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is steadfastly pro-life, hopes he will be able to lead the effort to get Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on the measure.
From a Politico report:
Sen. Marco Rubio said unequivocally Wednesday that he hopes to be the lead sponsor of a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.
“If someone else would like to do it instead of me, I’m more than happy to consider it. But I’d like to be the lead sponsor,” the Florida Republican said. “I feel very strongly about this issue. And I’d like to be the lead sponsor on it if we can find language that we can unify people behind.”
Rubio said “certainly” the Constitution would allow a federal law banning abortions after 20 weeks — it’s just a question of which portion of the document. Rubio is also a co-sponsor of a bill from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, an issue he said that is more easily constitutionally settled given the District’s federal status.
“What we have among pro-life supporters in the Senate is a difference of opinion about: Which constitutionally enumerated power is this flowing under?” Rubio said. “We just have not yet been able to come to a consensus on that.”
IF Rubio becomes the lead sponsor of the bill the next question is how to get a vote on it — either directly or as an amendment to other legislation.
Another area Rubio hasn’t fully defined is how to get a vote on the bill once it’s introduced. Aides for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have said the leader has no intention of bringing the bill up, though when pressed Reid did tell NBC’s David Gregory he’d be “happy to take a look” at the issue.
Rubio said he hadn’t decided whether trying to tack the measure onto another bill as amendment was the right way to go, but slammed Reid for preemptively ruling out his bill for consideration.
“The majority leader’s opposition to this puts him outside the mainstream of the American public. They love to cite polls all the time — and well, I don’t live by polls — but polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans believe that after 20 weeks, abortion should be limited,” Rubio said.
“We have a vast majority of support among most Americans, irrespective of how people may feel about the issue of abortion,” Rubio said. “We’re talking about five months into a pregnancy. People certainly believe there should be significant restrictions on that.”
The bill, if it receives a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate, is not expected to pass and pro-abortion President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat. But pro-life groups hope to use the measure as an election tool in 2014 in an attempt to wrest the Senate from abortion advocates.
A new poll today from the Washington Post shows Americans support a late-term abortion ban on a 2-1 margin. 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.
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.
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The late-term abortion ban would allow abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization if the mother’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape and incest reported prior to the abortion to appropriate authorities.
H.R. 1797 contains congressional findings of fact regarding the medical evidence that unborn children experience pain at least by 20 weeks “post-fertilization age,” or the start of the sixth month.
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.