Recently members of the Florida House of Representatives advanced a bill to ban abortions that target unborn children with disabilities like Down syndrome. This would be an important step forward to promote a more compassionate, accepting society and end a lethal form of discrimination against some of the most vulnerable members of our human family.
Another bill just as urgent and deserving of the full legislature’s consideration is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Introduced by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Doral) and Rep. Tommy Gregory (R-Sarasota), it would save more than 900 lives in Florida annually – the equivalent of 15 school busses full of children – by stopping painful late-term abortions.
Many Americans don’t realize that under Roe v. Wade, abortion is legal on demand up to the point of birth. A Washington Post fact check confirms that the United States is one of only seven nations worldwide that allows late-term abortions for any reason after five months of pregnancy – putting us in the same company as China and North Korea, countries with atrocious human rights records.
Every year, more than 10,000 late-term abortions more than halfway through pregnancy occur nationwide. State health statistics further reveal that Florida has one of the nation’s highest late-term abortion rates. With a Democratic White House and Congress pushing to make taxpayers fund abortions, this is likely to continue or increase.
By the fifth month of pregnancy, an unborn baby can hear and react to sounds. WebMD advises expectant mothers, “Talk or sing — even if you can’t carry a tune — so your baby can get familiar with your voice.” And contrary to older thinking, the current scientific consensus is that unborn children can feel pain by at least this point, if not earlier. In fact, they may feel pain even more intensely than adults do. For this reason, anesthesia during fetal surgery is standard care not only for mothers, but also for the littlest patients, their babies.
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We also know that many late-term abortions are carried out for similar reasons to earlier abortions, such as financial strain and relationship difficulties. Researchers affiliated with the Guttmacher Institute (formerly an arm of Planned Parenthood) concede, “Data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” We believe the way to truly serve women and families is by alleviating the hardship, not eliminating the child.
In light of these facts, it’s no surprise 76% of Floridians want to see a Pain-Capable law enacted. This broad support cuts across politics and demographics: Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, women and men, even self-described pro-choice individuals too.
We proudly stand with them. While every life is precious, at the very least, we can all agree that belonging to an extreme minority on late-term abortion is nothing to boast about. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act would bring Florida into line with 23 states that already protect unborn children after five months, including all the surrounding states, ending its status as a haven for late-term abortion.
With only a few short weeks left in the session, time is running out to get life-saving legislation to Governor DeSantis’ desk. We urge Speaker Sprowls to prioritize a vote on the Pain-Capable bill. We are confident that that, with a little creativity, the legislature can find a way to protect children both from discrimination and the needless pain and suffering of late-term abortion. Every passing year equates to hundreds of lives lost – each one of incalculable worth. We hope every citizen who wants to make Florida a more life-affirming state will contact their representatives, as well as Governor DeSantis, and encourage them to act now.
LifeNews Note: Rep. C. Scott Franklin represents the 15th District of Florida in Congress; Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.