Politics & Policy

The House Is About to Take a Major Step toward Further Protecting the Unborn

This week, the House will take up the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). This bill seeks to protect unborn children after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy, based on their ability to feel excruciating pain.

As many will recall, the bill was supposed to be voted on back in January, on the day of the March for Life, but was pulled at the last minute due to concerns by a handful of representatives over reporting requirements connected to exceptions in the bill.

Undeterred by the bill’s delay, pro-life activists have spent the last few months rallying and generating thousands of calls urging members of Congress to bring the bill up for a vote.

Our pro-life allies in the House, including GOP leadership and the Congressional Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, heard these calls and responded. Working with the Susan B. Anthony List and other pro-life groups, the bill they’ll be voting on this week is stronger and improved in multiple ways.

Improvements include:

Protections for babies born alive: A second physician is required to be present at an abortion to provide care to the baby and transport the child to the hospital, ensuring that any child born alive is given the same type of care that any other preemie would receive.

Informed consent: Women considering late-term abortion deserve relevant information about the procedure including the age of their child; a description of the law; an explanation that if the baby is born alive, he or she will be given medical assistance and transported to a hospital; and information about the woman’s right to sue if these protections are not followed.

Civil right of action: The bill empowers women with a civil right of action so that they may sue the abortion provider if they fail to comply with the law. Parents are also given a civil right of action if the law is not followed with regard to their minor daughter.

Help for rape and incest victims: For women pregnant as a result of a sexual assault and seeking an abortion at 20 weeks or later, the abortionist must ensure that they have received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours prior to the abortion. For minors, the abortionist is required to either notify social services or law enforcement to ensure the safety of the child and stop any ongoing abuse.

Statistical reporting: The law requires that all post–20 week abortions be reported to the National Center for Health Statistics, which will issue an annual statistical report (without personally identifying information) providing information about abortions carried out after five months.

The legality of these late-term abortions puts the United States on the fringe internationally.

The timing of this week’s vote could not be better, as this Wednesday marks the two-year anniversary of the conviction of grisly late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Dr. Gosnell’s trial thrust the barbarism of late-term abortion into the national spotlight. The ghastly testimony of the spinal cords of newborn babies being snipped changed many hearts and minds by removing the blinders on the reality of late-term abortion.

The sad reality is that in many parts of the country, if Dr. Gosnell had simply killed those babies in utero moments earlier, instead of outside the womb, his acts would have been completely legal. A few inches separates cold-blooded murder from a perfectly legal procedure.

RELATED: America’s Opinions on Abortion Aren’t Black and White, So Why Are Its Laws?

The legality of these late-term abortions puts the United States on the fringe internationally, as we are just one of seven countries to allow elective abortions after five months of pregnancy. In doing so, we are standing with countries such as China and North Korea, not exactly known for being champions of human rights.

#related#Americans are eager to see our nation removed from such poor company. It should come as no surprise that support for this legislation runs high, especially among women, young people, and Hispanics. Even half of Democrats think five months is a reasonable point at which to protect children and women from the brutality of abortion. Most recently a 2014 Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of Americans, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats, support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This week, we expect this bill to pass with enthusiastic bipartisan support and get us one step closer to protecting an entire class of unborn children.

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