Pro-Life Groups Demand Senate Vote on Bill Banning Abortions After Five Months

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 1, 2013   |   11:34AM   |   Washington, DC

Abortions on babies after five months of pregnancy are so extreme that the Senate should at least cast a vote on the issue, pro-life groups say. They are responding to news that the Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will introduce landmark legislation to provide nationwide protection for unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (equivalent to “22 weeks of pregnancy”).

In June, the House approved the legislation and the vote for the bill broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. Because Democrats control the Senate, lawmakers there are not likely to vote on the bill unless sponsors can make some sort of deal with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid or attempt to attach it to other legislation.

The legislation, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is based on a National Right to Life model bill that has already been enacted in ten states, most recently in Texas where the law took effect earlier this week.

“Ten states have already enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and it is National Right to Life’s top congressional priority,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, the federation of state right-to-life organizations. “We commend Sen. Lindsey Graham for his leadership in bringing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act before the Senate.”

“The American public understands the vital importance of protecting pain-capable unborn children from the violent act of a dismemberment abortion,” Tobias observed.

“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is perhaps the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the U.S. Congress since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007,” added Susan T. Muskett, J.D., National Right to Life senior legislative counsel.

Meanwhile, the Susan B. Anthony List praised Graham after he announced that he will introduce the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the U.S. Senate.

“A growing number of states and the U.S. House have now voted to end the barbaric practice of late abortion past the point at which the child can feel pain. We applaud Senator Graham and urge all Senators to join him in cosponsoring this compassionate legislation,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

She told LifeNews: “We ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring this to the Senate floor for a vote immediately. If he and his colleagues stand with the majority of Americans opposed to brutal, late abortion, they should wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity for debate. There is great consensus across the nation on this issue — especially in the aftermath of Kermit Gosnell and the exposure of other abortion clinic horrors like those at Douglas Karpen’s facility in Texas, and ‘meat market’ style abortions at Planned Parenthood in Delaware. It is time that the law reflects our natural recoil from such violence against the innocent.”

“Already some Senators – like Kay Hagan of North Carolina – have vowed to oppose this common-ground legislation. This is a mistake and shows just how beholden to the abortion industry some in the Senate have become. As the 2014 elections approach, we will be working to ensure that constituents understand just how far outside the mainstream those who oppose this bill really are.”

In a letter issued late yesterday, leaders of National Right to Life encouraged pro-life members of the U.S. Senate to sign on as co-sponsors of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Writing to senators, National Right to Life leaders observed: “Because of coverage surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy, on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed.”

Late abortions are not “rare.” NRLC estimates that at least 140 abortion providers offer abortions past the point that this legislation would permit. These late abortions are performed using a variety of techniques, including a method in which the unborn child’s arms and legs are twisted off by brute manual force, using a long stainless steel clamping tool. A medical illustration of this common method (“D&E”) is posted here.

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.



Recent national polling by Quinnipiac, National Journal, Huffington Post, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post/ABC News all found that a plurality or majority of Americans support limiting abortion after 20 weeks gestation and that women support the measure in higher proportions than men.

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat on the bill.