WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Members of the House of Representatives heard testimony Thursday from two former abortion industry workers as hearings were held on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation, when the nervous system has developed sufficiently to allow babies to feel pain.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) was introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ.

“Today, premature babies are routinely given pain relief who are born at the same age as babies who are torn limb from limb or injected in the heart during abortions,” said Jill Stanek, a former registered nurse who became pro-life after a baby born alive after a late-term abortion at her hospital died in her arms, unable to give him lifesaving care.

“Likewise, prenatal surgery is becoming commonplace, and along with it anesthesia for babies being operated on, even in the “middle of pregnancy,” Stanek told legislators. “Meanwhile, babies of an identical age are torn apart during abortions with no pain relief. It must be that some people inexplicably think the uterus provides a firewall against fetal pain, or that babies marked for abortion are somehow numb, while their wanted counterparts aren’t.”

“This thinking is better suited for the Middle Ages than for modern medicine,” she said.

Former abortionist Anthony Levatino shared with legislators the medical reality behind late-term abortions.

In graphic terms, he told lawmakers to imagine themselves in the role of the abortionist – a role Levatino himself played more than 1,200 times.

“Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can,” said Levatino. “At 24 weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft, so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard, really hard. You feel something let go, and out pops a fully-formed leg about six inches long.”

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“Reach in again and grasp whatever you can,” continued Levatino. “Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.”

Levatino told lawmakers that the most complicated part of a late-term abortion procedure “is extracting the baby’s head.”

Said Levatino, “The head of a baby that age is about the size of a large plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix.”

“That was the baby’s brains,” Levatino explained. “You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face will come out and stare back at you.”

The one-time abortionist added, “If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again.”

Levatino said that while abortion supporters argue that late-term abortions need to be legal to save the life and health of mothers facing medical emergencies, in his experience, this is not the case.

“[A]ny attempt to perform an abortion ‘to save the mother’s life’ would entail undue and dangerous delay in providing appropriate, truly life-saving care,” said Dr. Levatino.

The Unborn Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has 120 House cosponsors. Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, recently introduced a companion bill in the Senate.