One day after a House hearing on the expose’ videos showing how Planned Parenthood sells aborted babies and their body parts, Senate Republicans indicate they may hold a vote as early as next week on a pro-life bill to ban late-term abortions. The measure would ban abortions after 20 weeks — as neither Congress not state legislatures can vote to ban all abortions under Roe v. Wade.
The Senate could hold multiple votes on pro-life issues — on both the 20-week abortion ban as well s legislation to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Senate Democrats have bowed to filibuster the late-term abortion ban and have already filibustered the bill to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
According to a Politico report, the vote could come as soon as the end of next week:
The Senate could vote as soon as this month on a bill to place a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks, according to senior Republican sources.
Though the Senate’s calendar has not been finalized, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his leadership may try to squeeze in a vote on the abortion legislation after the Senate concludes its debate on Iran and before the chamber considers must-pass spending legislation.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters that McConnell plans to file cloture on “pro-life” legislation at the end of next week, adding that other bills were being considered in addition to the 20-week abortion ban.
The Hill has more details on the possible vote:
“There’s going to be a number of things,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters Thursday. “Senator McConnell’s already talked about some pro-life legislation he’ll be filing for cloture on at the end of next week.”
Asked whether the 20-week abortion ban would be moved, Cornyn said, “That’s certainly one of them, but it’s not limited to that.”
“There’s a plan we’re working on and it’s in progress,” he added.
The House voted to pass the 20-week abortion ban earlier this year and the vote on the bill, the Pain Capable Child Unborn Protection Act, broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. The House approved the bill on a 242-184 vote with four Democrats (Reps. Cuellar, Langevin, Lipinski, and Peterson) voting for the bill and five Republicans voting against it (Reps. Dent, Dold, Hanna, Frelinghuysen) or voting present (Hice).
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Should the Senate approve the bill, President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat. But pro-life groups hope to use the measure as an election tool in 2016 in an attempt to wrest control of the White House and approve a pro-life president who will sign it into law.
The House vote for the bill came on the anniversary of the conviction of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who killed babies in a live-birth abortion process.
“Two years ago today, Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder, conspiracy to kill and involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment,” Congressman Chris Smith said.
“Even though the news of Gosnell’s child slaughter was largely suppressed by the mainstream media, many of my colleagues may remember that Dr. Gosnell operated a large Philadelphia abortion clinic where women died and countless babies were dismembered or chemically destroyed often by having their spinal cords snipped—all gruesome procedures causing excruciating pain to the victim,” he added. “The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is needed now more than ever because there are Gosnells all over America, dismembering and decapitating pain-capable babies for profit.”
“Fresh impetus for the bill came from a huge study of nearly 5,000 babies—preemies—published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The next day, a New York Times article titled: “Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated” touted the Journal’s extraordinary findings of survival and hope,” Congressman Smith continued. “Thus the babies we seek to protect from harm today may survive if treated humanely, with expertise and compassion—not the cruelty of the abortion.”
During the hearing on the last bill, 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.
Americans strongly support legislation that would ban late-term abortions and protect babies who are capable of feeling intense pain during an abortion.
The vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with abortion, according to a January Marist University poll. The survey finds support for abortion restrictions among both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” supporters. Despite the strong support, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the pro-life bill.
According to the national survey, 84% of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion, and would limit abortions to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. This includes almost 7 in 10 (69 percent) who identify themselves as “pro-choice” who support such abortion limits and oppose late-term abortions.
The same percentage (84 percent) also says that laws can protect both the well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn. In addition, by more than 20 points (60 percent to 38 percent), Americans say abortion is morally wrong.
Other national polls also show strong support nationwide for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and stopping late-term abortions.
A poll conducted for the liberal Huffington Post find Americans support the ban on late-term abortions starting at 20-weeks of pregnancy by almost a 2-1 margin.
A 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.
A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.
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 has provided further research to substantiate their work.
One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”
“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.”