National 20-week abortion ban to be introduced in U.S. Senate next week
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to prohibit abortions after unborn children are capable of feeling pain will be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after 20 weeks fetal age or "22 weeks of pregnancy," would protect nearly all children from the sixth month of pregnancy forward.
Congressman Trent Franks, R-AZ, introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed the House on June 18 by a 228-196 vote.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill could save up to 2,750 babies a year, or 7.5 children every single day.
Susan T. Muskett, NRLC's senior legislative counsel, called the act “perhaps the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the U.S. Congress since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.”
But after passage in the House, the bill languished as Senate Republicans attempted to clarify the Constitutional argument to best advance the bill.
Senators Marco Rubio, R-FL, and Mike Lee, R-UT, had expressed an openness to introducing the motion. A pro-life congressman even attempted to add the measure to a must-pass bill to raise the debt ceiling in order to place it before the upper chamber.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) announced that Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, will introduce the bill next week.
Its prospects in the Democrat-controlled Senate are unclear. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has classified himself a “pro-life Democrat,” lumps the right to life in with various “fringe issues.”
If it comes to the floor for a vote, the pro-life movement hopes to find enough moderate Democrats to cross the aisle to support the measure.
President Obama has promised to veto the bill if it passes both chambers, calling its pro-life regulations “an assault on a woman's right to choose” and saying they show “contempt for...the Constitution.” The chamber is unlikely to override a presidential veto for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, the measure has widespread popular suport. A Huffington Post poll found in July that 59 percent of Americans favored federal legislation. Women and young people were more likely to support the ban.
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Pro-lifers believe revelations about Kermit Gosnell's “house of horrors” and allegations made against Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen have made a deep impact on the nation's view of third-trimester abortions, and the people who offer them.
“Because of coverage surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed,” NRLC wrote in a letter to U.S. Senators after the announcement.
Although not in Franks' original bill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor engineered the addition of exceptions in the case of rape or incest.