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Harry Reid says he’s open to vote on 20-week abortion ban, refuses to say if it’s ‘reasonable’

The Senate Majority leader was non-committal, while his Senate colleague said Congress should deal with “critical” issues like “water infrastructure.”
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By Ben Johnson

By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has portrayed himself as a “pro-life Democrat,” refused to say whether any restrictions on abortion-on-demand were “reasonable” during an interview with NBC's David Gregory on Meet the Press yesterday. But he said he may be open to the possibility of considering the national 20-week ban on abortion that was passed by the House of Representatives last month.

Reid danced around repeated questions from Gregory on the Sunday morning mainstay.

Gregory asked whether the Senate, under Reid's watch, will vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, introduced by Arizona Congressman Trent Franks.

"Will this come up? Is it reasonable for it to come up in the U.S. Senate?” Gregory pressed. “You've described yourself as pro-life in the past. Is it not reasonable to put some restrictions on late-term abortion, as we are seeing in the Senate?"

Reid retreated to discussing legislation dealing with transportation and infrastructure.

"I think we should deal with the problems that affect this country," Reid responded, although he added, "They can offer an amendment. It's the Senate. And we'll take it up."

He relegated the pro-life bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates could save up to 2,750 babies a year – or 7.5 children every single day – to the same status as other “fringe issues."

After a second follow-up, the Nevada Democrat said he would be "happy to take a look at" the bill – a far cry from promising the measure would see the light of day. 

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“Although this news from Reid is a step in the right direction, the legislation is likely to go nowhere,” wrote Katie Pavlich at Townhall.com. While either Mike Lee and Marco Rubio may sponsor the Senate bill, it is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled body.

President Obama has promised to veto the pro-life bill, saying it “shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution.”

In response to Sen. Reid's remarks, the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) today called on Reid and his fellow democrats to allow the issue to come to a vote.

“Opposition to late-term abortion is not a ‘fringe issue,’ as Leader Reid would like the media to report," said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Reid, who claims to be pro-life, should make good on his willingness to consider this issue.

"Poll after poll has revealed great consensus on the issue of protecting babies and women late in pregnancy. If he and his Senate colleagues stand with the American people in protecting women and five month old babies from the brutality of late-term abortion, they have nothing to fear from a Senate vote. Conversely, remaining silent on this – especially in the aftermath of Kermit Gosnell and other abortion clinic horrors – would be both a moral and political mistake.”

Last month Barbara Boxer, one of the Senate's most outspoken defenders of abortion-on-demand, said Republicans had only one goal in advancing the legislation: “This is about hurting women.”

“The message to women is, you don’t really count,” she told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. She accused the House GOP of trying “to overturn 40 years of settled law just to appeal to [its] right-wing base while they ignore the issues confronting the nation.”

Among the “real issues” she named was “water infrastructure” – “which,” she said, “is critical.”

She, too, called saving the unborn “fringe.”

“Why don't they take up the water resources bill?” she said again later in the interview.


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