Senate Republicans today will introduce legislation to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks. The legislation is an important pushback against blue states that currently allow most abortions or abortions up to birth and would protect babies from late-term abortions in those states.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect the change Republicans have made to the bill — which will ban aboritons starting at 15 weeks now instead 20 weeks.
Today, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser, and pro-life leaders will join Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol for the introduction of the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act.
The legislation is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 15 weeks when scientific evidence shows unborn babies can feel pain.
The legislation has no chance of getting to the Senate floor under Chuck Schumer and pro-abortion Democrat leadership but it begins the process of moving the legislation ahead if Republicans capture the House and Senate. If they can move forward with returning the White House to pro-life leadership in 2024, the legislation has a path for success.
Senator Graham’s bill falls in line with public opinion, which is increasingly favorable towards common sense abortion limits to protect babies and moms. Polling repeatedly shows that 80–90% of Americans oppose abortion throughout all 9 months of pregnancy, and recent polling from Harvard/Harris shows that 72% of Americans support a limit on abortion no later than 15 weeks.
“Since the historic Dobbs victory, more than a dozen states have taken action to protect unborn children and mothers, potentially saving more than 200,000 lives. This is incredible progress, but much more action is needed. In Washington and in states across the country, Democratic Party leaders refuse to name any limits whatsoever on abortion that they support. Democrats in Congress are united around the deceptively named ‘Women’s Health Protection Act’ to expand abortion until the moment of birth and block pro-life protections nationwide, while states such as California and New York not only permit but are actively seeking ways to expand abortion on demand until birth,” SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said.
She added: “Democrats’ pro-abortion extremism flies in the face of American public opinion which strongly supports compassionate limits on abortion like those proposed today by Sen. Graham and Rep. Smith. Seventy-five percent of women, 70% of Independents and 60% of rank-and-file Democrats support legislation to protect babies by at least 15 weeks. This bill would bring the U.S. in line with 47 out of 50 of our European allies who protect life at this stage or even earlier.”
While abortion activists say unborn babies can’t feel pain until later in pregnancy, a leading U.S. neonatologist testified that a majority of the medical evidence indicates that unborn babies can feel severe pain, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, a professor of neonatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told the Senate committee that “anesthesiologists, and surgeons use pain medication” at the 20 week stage, “because it’s supported by the literature completely.”
“The standard of care for NICUs requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” she said. “There is no reason to believe that a born infant will feel pain any differently than that same infant if he or she were still in utero.”
“I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to a horrific procedure such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection,” Malloy added.
Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into fetal pain. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.
He has testified before Congress in the past 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.” Researchers also have found that unborn babies respond to touch as early as six weeks.
He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen wrote, “The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb.”
“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.
Further research showed that hormone levels in unborn babies decrease when pain-relievers are supplied, LifeNews previously reported.