On Wednesday, June 12 the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was approved by the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-12. The measure which passed along party lines would ban abortions in the United States after 20 weeks.
In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said “The taking of innocent life is a practice all too common in this nation. The recent Gosnell trial reminds us that when newborn babies are cut with scissors, they whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. And unborn babies when harmed also whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. Delivered or not, babies are babies, and it has been shown that they can feel pain at least by 20 weeks. It is time to welcome young children who can feel pain into the human family. And this bill, at last, will do just that. I am pleased the Committee has approved this important legislation and look forward to a House vote on this bill soon.”
The legislation was sponsored by Arizona Republican Representative Trent Franks. Franks released the following statement:
“I understand the unfortunate reality that today’s markup will be surrounded by some degree of controversy. But we, as a nation, find ourselves at a point at which we don’t offer unborn children even the most basic protections — even protections we extend to animals and property. The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide. I pray we use this as a ‘teachable moment,’ in the words of President Obama, and can agree that, at the very least, we are better than dismembering babies who can feel every excruciating moment. I look forward to the bill’s moving on the full Judiciary Committee and to an eventual vote on this necessary, common-sense measure.”
The legislation faces the traditional opposition. The Daily Caller reports that National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neil said in an email to supporters, “The Republican Party and its allies are demonizing the fight for reproductive rights and hijacking the legislative process to limit or even abolish women’s access to reproductive health care. But women aren’t fooled — and we intend to win this fight. The stakes couldn’t be higher: It’s a matter of access to vital reproductive health care.”
Congressman Franks told LifeNews.com “The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans. However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years. Indeed, let us not forget that, had Kermit Gosnell 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 this end, I have re-introduced the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act, which will now be amended to broaden its coverage so that its provisions will apply nationwide.” he said. “Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are.”
Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee said, “National Right to Life strongly concurs in Congressman Franks’ decision that the time is ripe to seek protection for pain-capable unborn children nationwide. Because of publicity surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed.”