UPDATE: After the announcement (below) of the ad campaign against him, Manchin has indicated he will support the legislation. As John McCormack of the Weekly Standard reports:
On Tuesday afternoon, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin became the first Democrat in the United States Senate to support a federal bill that would ban most abortions during the final four months of pregnancy. “If it comes to the floor, I’m voting for it,” Manchin told THE WEEKLY STANDARD following the Senate Democrats’ weekly luncheon.
Manchin also declined to say whether or not he would take the additional step of cosponsoring the federal late-term abortion limit. “I’m pro-life, always have been. They just politicized that thing. That’s just horrible,” he said. Manchin didn’t specify who “they” are, but he may have been talking about the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group that launched a $20,000 radio ad campaign pressuring Manchin to cosponsor the bill.
One of the members of the U.S. Senate who says he is pro-life on abortion has not yet co-sponsored the most important piece of legislation in the Senate that would ban abortions after 20 weeks based on scientific evidence showing unborn babies feel pain.
That’s the question the Susan B. Anthony List wants to get answered.
To put pressure on Manchin to support the bill, the SBA List today informed LifeNews of a $20,000 radio ad buy encouraging Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to become the first Democratic senator to cosponsor the federal Pain Capable Unborn Child Act. The legislation would protect unborn children beginning at 20 weeks – more than halfway through pregnancy. Similar laws have been passed in 13 states. The federal bill passed the U.S. House and has more than 40 Senate cosponsors.
The radio campaign comes days after West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed similar legislation which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state house and senate.
“Democrats once stood up for the weakest and must vulnerable in our society – including the unborn. Senator Manchin has a distinct opportunity to reclaim that pro-life heritage after Governor Tomblin’s shameful failure to stand for principle,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “We urge Senator Joe Manchin to embrace his pro-life position and become the first Democratic Senator to cosponsor this popular, modest federal legislation to protect unborn children after 20 weeks.”
A partial scrip of the ad follows:
“Recently West Virginia lawmakers did the right thing. They overwhelmingly voted to protect babies from unbearable pain by ending abortions after 20 weeks. But Governor Earl Ray Tomblin turned his back on those babies and on pro-life West Virginians and vetoed the bill.
“Now it’s up to Senator Joe Manchin to step up for innocent babies. As the most prominent West Virginia leader to call himself pro-life, Manchin must co-sponsor a bill before the U.S. Senate bill to end abortions nationwide after 20 weeks.
“Call Senator Joe Manchin today at (855) 275-5737. Urge him to co-sponsor the bill ending abortions after 20 weeks. Earl Ray Tomblin let us down, but Joe Manchin can do the right thing.”
Today the SBA List will join other national and statewide pro-life organizations for a press conference and vigil in response to Governor Tomblin’s veto.
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.
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.
He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”
He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.
“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote.
“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.
With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has provided further research to substantiate their work.
“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, “[w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
“In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants…In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” Dr. Malloy testified. She continued, “[t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”