Babies are being dismembered in the womb at five months to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Because he is prohibiting the Senate from voting on a bill to ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks, member of the House combined for a collective letter today to speak out.
Today, Reps. Diane Black, a Tennessee Republican, and Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, led a bipartisan effort of 105 Members of the House to send a letter to Reid urging him to allow for a vote in the Senate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
“More than a year after the conviction of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell, it is long past time that the Senate move forward and pass this bipartisan legislation to help protect the health of women and children,” said Congressman Black. “Sadly, the United States lags far behind most of the world when it comes to protections for unborn children. There is clear evidence that these babies can feel the pain of dismemberment in the womb — it’s time we acknowledge the science and take action to protect our unborn children. I thank Congressman Franks for his leadership in this effort, and I hope Senator Reid will heed this call and move forward without delay.”
“One year ago, the case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans,” said Congressman Franks. “However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening in America every single day for the past 41 years — including the year that has passed since America first learned of Kermit Gosnell. Had Kermit Gosnell agonizingly dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure. If America truly understands that horrifying reality, hearts and laws will change.
“To that end, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed out of the House last year, marked the first time in history, in either chamber of the U.S. Congress, that affirmative protection has been extended to unborn children. I applaud Senator Lindsey Graham’s boldness in championing the Senate companion bill (S. 1670), I thank my colleague Diane Black for her work on behalf of this vital cause, and I urge Harry Reid to finally allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote. America is one of only seven countries that allows elective, late-term abortions after the beginning of the sixth month. It is time that America finally opens her eyes to the humanity of these little victims and the inhumanity of what is being done to them.”
As the Congressmen wrote in their letter, on May 13, Senator Lindsey Graham’s request for floor consideration of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was blocked.
The House of Representatives has twice approved a bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth. But Democratic Leader Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote in the Senate.
So far, 13 states have enacted 20-week abortion limits based on the unborn child’s ability to feel pain. The U.S. House passed companion legislation in June 2013 by a vote of 228-196.
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 of gestation and that women support the measure in higher proportions than men.
A National Right to Life Committee poll found that 63 percent of Americans, and 70 percent of women, support a ban on post-fetal pain abortion. The same poll also found that American women, by an overwhelming majority of 62-27 percent, would be more likely to vote for lawmakers who support this bill.
The Senators also urged their colleagues to review a groundbreaking new report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education & research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, that found the U.S. is one of just seven countries out of 199 examined that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
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.”
Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, has 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.