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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Senate May Vote On Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks

House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Hearing

The general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee James Bopp, told the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, September 9,2015, that, “Recorded conversations, released by the Center for Medical Progress reveal many legal issues with Planned Parenthood's procedures and practices regarding fetal tissue procurement.” (1) Bopp explained “These procedures and practices of Planned Parenthood, and their tissue procurement partners, show that federal laws when applicable, have been and are continuing to be violated during the procurement and sale of human fetal tissue.” (2)

Senate Pro-Life Votes

Senior Republican sources indicate Republicans may hold a vote as early as this month on a pro-life bill to ban late-term abortions on Thursday, September 10, 2015, one day after a House of Representatives hearing on the expose' videos showing how Planned Parenthood sells aborted babies and their body parts.  As neither Congress nor state legislatures can vote to ban all abortions under Roe v. Wade, the bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Multiple votes on both the 20-week abortion ban as well as legislation to de-fund Planned Parenthood could be held by the Senate.  The Senate Democrats have already filibustered the bill to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business and have vowed to filibuster the late-term abortion ban.

After the Senate concludes its debate on Iran and before the chamber considers must-pass spending legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and his leadership may try to squeeze in a vote on the abortion legislation although the Senate's calendar has not been finalized. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) plans to file cloture on "pro-life" legislation at the end of this week, adding that other bills were being considered in addition to the 20-week abortion ban Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters. (3)

As a way to satisfy social conservatives clamoring for confrontation over a series of controversial videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the alleged sale of fetal tissue Republicans may use the vote on the 20-week bill. Amid a simmering debate over funding Planned Parenthood in a spending bill, GOP leaders in both chambers are actively working to avoid a government shutdown.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters, "It's nearly unanimous, I think, the view that a shutdown doesn't defund Planned Parenthood and doesn't help us maintain our majorities so we can have some influence on who the next members of the United States Supreme Court are, and elect a Republican President.  So there's going to be a number of things." (4)

House of Representatives Passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36)

A major goal of anti-abortion groups ever since Republicans took the Senate in January is a Senate vote on a bill banning abortions after five months. The slow pace of the Senate's legislative schedule has delayed a vote in the chamber but similar legislation the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) passed  the House of Representatives on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, on a 242-184 vote (To view how your senators voted visit: 223). On the anniversary of the conviction of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who murdered babies in a live-birth abortion process the House of Representative bill came.  U.S. Representative of New Jersey Chris Smith (R) said, “Two years ago today, Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder, conspiracy to kill and involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment.” (5)

He added, “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. 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.”

U.S. Representative of New Jersey Chris Smith (R) continued, “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.  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.”

President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat should the Senate pass the bill. However, in an attempt to wrest control of the White House and approve a pro-life President who will sign it into law pro-life groups hope to use the measure as an election tool in 2016.

Model legislation developed by the National Right to Life in 2010 is the foundation of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) bill.  Thus far, this legislation is enacted in 11 states that ban abortions after 20 weeks.  The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia. (6)

As early as 8-10 weeks the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain, and in America this is when most abortions take place.   Furthermore, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, was told during the hearing that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks by Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine.   As early as 8 weeks, functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place but certainly by 13½ weeks of gestation.  From 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain.  And possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children is the pain perceived by a fetus. 

To establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy, the measure relies on the science of fetal pain.  Fully established is the science behind the concept of fetal pain.

Americans Strongly Support Ban On Late-Term Abortions

Legislation that would ban late-term abortions and protect babies who are capable of feeling intense pain during an abortion is strongly strongly supported by Americans.

According to a January Marist University poll the vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with abortion. (7) The survey finds support for abortion restrictions among both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” supporters and the vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with abortion.  And President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the pro-life bill despite the strong support. (8)

Furthermore, 84 percent of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion, and would limit abortions to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy indicates the national survey.(9) And those who identify themselves as “pro-choice” this includes 69 percent who support such abortion limits and oppose late-term abortions.

Also, 84 percent of Americans say that both the life of the unborn and the well-being of a woman can be protected by laws.  Additionally, 60 percent to 38 percent of Americans say morally wrong is abortion.

Strong support nationwide for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and stopping late-term abortions is shown in other national polls.

By almost a 2-1 margin, Americans support the ban on late-term abortions starting at 20-weeks of pregnancy found a poll conducted for the liberal Huffington Post. (10)

After being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64 percent would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother's life was in danger found a national poll by The Polling Company. (10)  And such a law would be opposed by only 30 percent.

Finally, 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats found a November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac.

Additional Reading : 

1.    Steven Ertelt, “Congressional Hearing Reveals Planned Parenthood Likely Broke Laws to Sell Aborted Babies,” Lifenews.com, September 9, 2015.

2.    Ibid.

3.    Burgess Everett, “Senate GOP readies 20-week abortion ban,” Politico.com, September 10, 2015.

4.    Ibid.

5.    Steven Ertelt, “Congressional Hearing Reveals Planned Parenthood Likely Broke Laws to Sell Aborted Babies,” Lifenews.com, September 9, 2015.

6.    Dave Andrusko, “House to consider Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act next week,” National Right to Life.org, May 8, 2015.

7.    Steven Ertelt, “Congressional Hearing Reveals Planned Parenthood Likely Broke Laws to Sell Aborted Babies,” Lifenews.com, September 9, 2015.

8.    Steven Ertelt, “Obama Threatens to Veto Pro-Life Bill to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks,” Lifenews.com, January 20, 2015.

9.    Steven Ertelt, “Congressional Hearing Reveals Planned Parenthood Likely Broke Laws to Sell Aborted Babies,” Lifenews.com, September 9, 2015.

10. Ibid.

What Can You Do?    

Urge your senators to SUPPORT   the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act of 2015 and legislation to prohibit Federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Contact Information:  

Capitol Hill Switchboard Number: 202-224-3121 (This number will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senators office.)

Contact Information:  

To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm     

  Addressing Correspondence: 

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510   

Dear Senator (last name):

 

 

 

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