Blog   Government | Sanctity of Life

U.S. House to Vote on Pain-Capable Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a landmark bill Wednesday that would prohibit abortion 20 weeks or more after fertilization, when unborn babies are capable of experiencing pain. The measure, H.R. 36-Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is sponsored by Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and is scheduled for a vote on the second anniversary of the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who is currently serving 30 years in prison for murdering three infants who were born alive during late-term abortions he routinely performed at his Philadelphia abortion clinic.

Although H.R. 36 was scheduled for a vote in January, Republican leaders abruptly pulled it from the calendar after a handful of lawmakers voiced opposition, including N.C. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-District 2). Rep. Ellmers expressed concerns about a provision in the bill that would require pregnant rape or incest victims to report the crime to authorities in order to obtain a late-term abortion. That provision has reportedly been removed from the version of H.R. 36 that will be considered.

According to the Weekly Standard, the revised language in the bill would require abortionists “to ensure that [rape] victims have received either medical treatment or licensed counseling at least 48 hours prior to the late-term procedure.” The bill also includes additional requirements, such as guaranteeing that babies who are born alive during an abortion procedure receive hospital care, and allowing a doctor to be sued for violating the ban.

A November 2014 Quinnipiac Poll reported that the majority of Americans (60 percent) support a ban on late-term abortions. This includes 59 percent of women, 57 percent of Millennials (age 18-29), 76 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Independent voters, and 46 percent of Democrats (see Question 49). Estimates suggest that a law banning later-term abortions could save the lives of more than 10,000 unborn babies each year.

H.R. 36 currently has 184 co-sponsors, including nine of North Carolina’s 13-member House delegation: Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-District 5), George Holding (R-District 13), Richard Hudson (R-District 8), Walter Jones (R-District 3), Patrick McHenry (R-District 10), Mark Meadows (R-District 11), Robert Pittenger (R-District 9), David Rouzer (R-District 7), and Mark Walker (R-District 6).

Rep. Ellmers withdrew her sponsorship of the bill in January and has yet to sign on again. Please contact Rep. Ellmers’ office at (202) 225-4531, and ask her to support H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

In addition, North Carolina’s three Democratic members of the U.S. House, Reps. Alma Adams (D-District 12), G.K. Butterfield (D-District 1), and David Price (D-District 4), have not co-sponsored the legislation. Please contact them, and ask them to support this critically important life-saving measure: Rep. Alma Adams, (202) 225-1510; Rep. G.K. Butterfield, (202) 225-3101; and Rep. David Price, (202) 225-1784.



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