The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been enacted by many states. It prohibits abortions after 20 weeks (five months), with varying exceptions. Pro-life leaders selected the 20 weeks as the cutoff for several reasons:
1) After 20 weeks, the risks of abortion to the mother increase significantly.
2) After 20 weeks, emerging science suggests that the baby can feel pain.
3) The point of “viability,” when the baby can survive outside the womb, has dropped dramatically since Roe v. Wade and may now be as early as 22 weeks.
4) A strong majority of Americans oppose late-term abortion.
|Above: Pro-life advocate Lauren Handy
demonstrates outside Speaker Boehner’s office
It’s time for the law to catch up, and since the right to life should not depend on what state you live in, federal legislation has been in the works for months. It was supposed to come up for a vote around the time of the March for Life, but then D.C. politics happened. Pro-lifers quarreled with each other about the bill’s rape language. People got arrested at Speaker Boehner’s office to draw attention to the delay… twice. It was a mess.
Today, finally, the babies get a vote in the House. You can read the bill here.
The vote is timed to coincide with the anniversary of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s convictions for homicide and manslaughter.
When Gosnell was on trial, I was a recent law school graduate doing a public service fellowship with Americans United for Life. As part of that, I witnessed the closing arguments in Philadelphia.
I was in the same room as a serial killer.
His defense attorney argued as best he could that Gosnell’s infant victims weren’t human. Everyone there knew better. He argued that they never took a breath outside the womb, that they were stillborn, that Gosnell didn’t technically break the law. But he couldn’t give a satisfactory answer to the question on everyone’s mind: If they weren’t alive, why did he cut their spinal cords with scissors?
The grand jury found that Gosnell got away with murder for years, perhaps decades, because Pennsylvania politicians refused to enforce abortion industry regulations. The absolute least we can do in memory of his victims is to give the law more teeth.