After what seemed like years of intentional disregard, the burning-hot topic of abortion has made it back into the public debate. Late-term abortionists like Kermit Gosnell, Douglas Karpen, and Leroy Carhart, have made national headlines with reports of severed infant necks, brutal post-birth goring, and deaths of mothers.
And the reports keep coming, with the most recent being the suspension of the surgical abortion license of four Maryland clinics and three doctors for maintaining unsafe conditions, and a Planned Parenthood clinic in Delaware under fire for similar concerns.
Amidst these morbid headlines is some positive news, however.
Members of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice approved the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 1797) by a 6-4 margin on June 4. The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks – the alleged start of an unborn baby’s sense of pain – and thus render 24-week late-term abortions in some states illegal.
The bill was originally intended to affect only Washington, D.C., but after the aftermath of the Gosnell case, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment that made the legislation apply nationwide. It was approved during Monday’s mark-up. Currently the bill has 139 co-sponsors, and the next step will be to get it through the full Judiciary Committee.
After the bill was amended and passed, Franks released this 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 bill was supported by several doctors during the May 23 hearing, where the fiery Dr. Anthony Levantino, who himself had aborted over 1,200 babies, made a strong case for the ethics of banning abortions based on fetal pain. Dr. Maureen L. Condic pushed the envelope further, noting that “the neural structures necessary to detect noxious stimuli are in place by 8-10 weeks of human development.”
In a world that permits the killing of innocent babies, cutting off four weeks out of the process is at least a step. We’ll see what happens in the Judiciary Committee.