Four Republican Senators have not yet signed on as co-sponsors of the bill to ban abortions after five months.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a pro-life South Carolina Republican, introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act earlier this month at a press conference with representatives of leading pro-life groups. 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.
“The legislation would save more than 15,000 unborn children each year by banning abortion nationwide after 20 weeks (about 5 months) gestation. At this point, scientific evidence reveals an unborn child can feel excruciating pain,” Graham said in a statement from his office.
It’s no surprise Senate Democrats, who are almost unanimously pro-abortion, haven’t jumped on board. But four Republican lawmakers haven’t co-sponsored the bill either. They include: Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada), Sen. Mark Kirk (Illinois), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).
Collins, Kirk and Murkowski have historically supported abortion, which leaves Heller as the more surprising member to have not signed on yet. He has a 21-2 pro-life voting record, according to the National Right to Life Committee, and the two votes against the pro-life position came on embryonic stem cell research.
LifeNews contacted Heller’s office and has not received a call back, but, when he was appointed to the Senate, local pro-life advocates in his home state welcomed it and expected him to be a consistent pro-life vote.
Melissa Clement of Nevada Right to Life said: “Nevada Right to Life enthusiastically supports the appointment of Congressman Dean Heller to the US Senate. Heller has been a consistent vote for life and we expect nothing less in the future. We look forward to working with him as he enters the Senate and warmly congratulate him on his well-earned promotion.”
The “pro-life” Democrats in the Senate haven’t signed on to support the bill either, Marilyn Musgrave of Susan B. Anthony List says.
“Meanwhile, sadly, not a single Democratic Senator has co-sponsored the bill – even those that say they are pro-life,” she said, asking pro-lifers to call on Senators to co-sponsor the bill. “Remember, the more co-sponsors that we gather, the greater the chance we have at forcing a vote.”
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The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child. If the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is determined to be 20 weeks or greater, an abortion shall not be performed.
Abortion practitioners who break the law would be subjected to a five-year prison term and/or fines.
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. Still, Reid said earlier this year that he would be “happy to look at it” when asked on Meet the Press if he would bring it to the floor for a vote… after implying that it is “fringe” legislation.