The U.S. House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act by a vote of 237 to 187 on Tuesday afternoon. The bill if passed into law would ban abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest.
This bill was also passed by the House in 2015 but failed to get cloture in the Senate.
On Thursday morning, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced the Senate version of the bill, which seems likely to fail again even with a Republican majority in the Senate.
This should not be the case, but the fact is that there is not a 100 percent pro-life commitment among Republicans, while Democrats are in virtual lockstep on the issue of abortion.
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Ala.) during the House debate said, “I’ve listened to my colleagues on the other side call this bill extreme. I say to oppose this bill is extreme. If we won’t stop abortion at six months of pregnancy when a baby feels pain, when will we stop them? We have to draw a line somewhere. To say aborting a little baby who can actually feel the pain of the procedure being forced upon them crosses the line is a gross understatement.”
She’s right. It isn’t extreme, but those who oppose it are extreme.
It is extreme to oppose a measure that protects the unborn after five months when it has been scientifically proven they feel pain at that stage.
Personally, I want to see the unborn protected at all stages of development and protected on the basis that they are persons who have intrinsic value. For the time being, however, I support protecting as many unborn babies as we possibly can.
Passing this bill shouldn’t be a hard lift, as most Americans support these types of restrictions on abortion. Nationwide polling by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, Quinnipiac, National Journal, Huffington Post, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post/ABC News has found that a plurality or majority of Americans support limiting abortion after five months, with women supporting it in higher numbers than men.
Support among millennial voters for the bill is especially high (78 percent), as is it with African Americans (70 percent) and Hispanics (57 percent). Several national polls have even found that as many as 51 percent of Democrats support limiting abortion after 20 weeks.
Also, the polling company, inc./Women Trend conducted a survey in late November 2016 that showed support for limiting abortions after five months is high among voters in states carried by President Trump that are represented by vulnerable Democratic Senators facing re-election in 2018:
- In Ohio, where Senator Sherrod Brown is up for reelection, 67 percent support a ban and 56 percent said they are less likely to support a senator who votes to allow late-term abortion.
- In Wisconsin, where Senator Tammy Baldwin is up for reelection, 64 percent support the ban and 57 percent are less likely to support a senator who votes to allow late-term abortion.
- In Montana, where Senator Jon Tester is up for reelection, 63 percent support the ban and 59 percent are less likely to support a senator who votes to allow late-term abortion.
- In Missouri, where Senator Claire McCaskill is up for reelection, 60 percent support a ban and 56 percent are less likely to support a senator who votes to allow late-term abortion.
- In Florida, where Senator Bill Nelson is up for reelection, 59 percent support and 46 percent are less likely to support a senator who votes to allow late-term abortion.
- In North Dakota, where Senator Heidi Heitkamp is up for reelection, 56 percent support the ban and 61 percent are less likely to support Senator who votes to allow late-term abortion.
We also can’t ignore Republicans in the Senate who have opposed the bill in the past and who are also extreme on this issue, such as Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
If the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act fails to pass the Senate, President Donald Trump, who has pledged to sign it into law, will have reason to once again show frustration toward the Senate’s filibuster rule.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0