Why Congress Passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1797, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Tuesday by a vote of 228 to 196. The trial of convicted baby killer Kermit Gosnell was clearly a wake-up call for many Americans, and Congress responded to their demand for action. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, will protect the same babies we were outraged to see in refrigerators and mason jars in Philadelphia. It prohibits abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization, when the baby is capable of experiencing pain, and could stop all future Kermit Gosnells in their tracks.

Though much debate erupted on the House floor last night, we know Gosnell was not an aberration, and we praise the legislators who acted to prevent future babies from the same fate.

Most debate couched these late-term abortions in euphemistic terms, trying to paint them as just another “health care option,” instead of allowing them to be seen for what they are: crimes against fragile humanity.


Gosnell Clinic (AP Photo)

The gruesome details of convicted murderer “Dr.” Kermit Gosnell opened Americans’ eyes to the horrible suffering inflicted on the babies who survive late-term abortion attempts and the eerie similarity to D&E abortions (dismemberment and evacuation), which are common practice for babies at the 20-week mark during a surgical abortion.

A March 2013 poll found that 64 percent of Americans understand and support legislation to prohibit abortion when the baby can feel pain. Contrast that with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could not explain the difference between the Gosnell slayings and late-term abortions.  And then there were the top pro-choice representatives who could not answer simple pro-life questions about the bill.  A stuttering, sputtering gaggle of incoherent geese who could do little more than parrot their tired, old “Republican War on Women” line.  “War on Women?”  Really?  Get a life.  This whole effort was driven by women legislators, women leaders, and women activists.  Women drove the debate, and women drove the vote.  Women were outraged, and they acted.


And why wouldn’t they?  It made sense to me most when a staffer of mine said 20 weeks is five months. Any woman who’s ever been pregnant knows how far along you are at five months. You can feel their kicks; you’ve heard the heartbeat, and you’ve felt that life grow inside of you.  We now have science on our side, demonstrating significant medical evidence that the baby is capable of feeling excruciating pain at 20 weeks, with doctors even testifying before Congress that they have seen babies on the sonogram flinch and move away from sharp objects to avoid the pain during surgical procedures.  The battle now moves to the Senate.  Supporters of this bill recognize that these babies couldn’t speak for themselves but that they could feel pain and respond to their mother’s voice.

It is incredible that in a country that prides itself on being the beacon for the world, we have to fight tooth and nail to give the same protections against cruel and brutal treatment to our unborn children that animals already enjoy. In Washington, D.C., for example, actions that result in serious bodily injury or death to the animal are felonies that can be punished by five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $25,000.  An “animal” is defined by statute as all living and sentient creatures except human beings.  In this same city, a child can be aborted up to the day of delivery.

This legislation is about humanity. Now that the House has passed this legislation, we call on the Senate to pass it as well. The implementation of the Pain-Capable bill is critical.  If we, as compassionate human beings, cannot pass this life-saving bill for the sake of suffering babies, then our chance of ever passing another piece of life-saving legislation is slim to none.

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