WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2013 ( – When it came to fighting late-term abortion, House Republicans fought a war with women.

Without the enthusiastic support of GOP congresswomen, it would have been impossible for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 1797) to pass the House of Representatives on Tuesday night.

From management to floor speeches to presentations, women led the fight.


Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, was chosen to manage the bill on the House floor, where she asked all members to consider the rights of a child inside the womb.

“What is the moral difference between what Kermit Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before her birth? I suggest, humbly, that there is no difference,” Blackburn said. “To condemn Gosnell is to condemn late-term abortions. To condone late-term abortion is to condone the tragedy that allowed poor women and children in that House of Horrors in Philadelphia to suffer and die.”

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party favorite who is retiring from the House at the end of this term, underscored her point by displaying an ultrasound photo of a baby at the sixth month of pregnancy.

Referencing Nancy Pelosi's recent comments that the issue of late-term abortion is “sacred ground,” Bachmann asked the Minority Leader, “What could possibly be sacred about dismembering this six-month-old little baby with a pair of scissors, as Kermit Gosnell did?”

“I am appalled by the savage practice of late-term abortion,” she said. 

Emotions often ran high as the bill made its way to passage. North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx choked back tears at one point as she contrasted the extraordinary measures Americans take to save “not only human beings, but even animals, because we value life so much. However, there are many who do not hold the unborn in the same esteem.”

In most of her four House speeches, Foxx presented a rigorous factual and logical case for the bill.

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“Contrary to what our colleague on the other side of the aisle are accusing us of, we are talking about the beginning of the sixth month of pregnancy. Nothing in this bill has any impact on abortion during the first 20 weeks,” she said.

Congresswoman Foxx cited Kermit Gosnell's defense attorney, Jack McMahon, who said, “I've come out of this case realizing that 24 weeks is a bad determiner” of viability. “It should be like 16, 17 weeks…the law should be changed to that,” he said. “I think pro-choice would have still have the right to choose, but they'd have to choose earlier.”

Blackburn was one of several who cited the will of the American people. “With over 60 percent of American’s supporting a ban on abortions in the second trimester and over 80 percent supporting the ban in the third trimester, our humanity compels us to end this violent and abhorrent practice,” she said.

Democratic women also led the opposition.

During her speech Wisconsin Democrat Gwen Moore shouted, “This bill is an abomination!”

Others revived a familiar attack on the GOP. “Once again, Republicans have decided to make women's health a battleground as part of their, yes, ongoing war on women,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA.

“The bill on the floor this week is nothing more than a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and a vehicle for yet another ideological attack against women's reproductive rights,” she said.

Many believe fetal pain bills such as this one, which limit abortion to the first 20 weeks after fertilization, set up a collision course with the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizating abortion nationwide. Roe set the date of viability at 24 weeks, later scaled back to 22 weeks.

Again, Republican women rebuffed Democratic allegations that they are motivated by misogyny.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem, R-SD, lamented that she did not “find a lot of the rhetoric I have heard today very respectful.”

“They've said there's a 'war on women,'” she said. “Mrs. Speaker, I'm not waging a war on anyone. I'm not waging a war on my two daughters or any other woman in this country.”

“Regardless of your personal beliefs, I would hope that stopping atrocities against little babies is something that we could all agree to put an end to,” Noem said.


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