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Remove rape, incest exception from House 20-week abortion ban: Children conceived in rape

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Pro-life leaders are excited by the introduction of five new pro-life bills before the 114th Congress. But some have reservations about the fact that the bills allow abortions in the case of rape and incest.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B. 36), banning abortions after 20-weeks, allows late-term abortions to take place if “the pregnancy is the result of rape, or the result of incest against a minor,” and the abuse has been reported to an “appropriate law enforcement agency.” The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.B. 217), which Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn introduced to deprive Planned Parenthood of federal family planning dollars, contains similar language.

“A new Congress has begun, but the new bills introduced have the same old flawed wording that will, if passed, allow some innocent human beings to be killed,” Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews. “Both House Bill 36 and House Bill 217 contain language that says they do not apply if the human being awaiting birth was created as the result of an act of rape or incest or if the mother’s life is in physical danger.”

“At a time when pro-lifers claim that the majority of Americans are pro-life, celebrate a large pro-life majority in the House, and talk of even having as many as 51 pro-life votes in the Senate, Congressmen persist in introducing legislation that allows for the killing of some human beings prior to birth,” he said.

The pain is strongest among those who came into the world as a result of rape or incest.

“We feel pain, too,” Rebecca Kiessling of Save The 1, a group comprised of individuals who were conceived in rape, or mothers who chose to give life to a child after being raped, told LifeSiteNews. “Children conceived in rape deserve the same protections as any other child.”

“All of us at Save The 1 are very disappointed to see that our people group is once again targeted and devalued,” she said.

Kiessling believes passing such a bill should not be politically difficult. “It passed the House Judiciary Committee a year and a half ago with no rape exception, and a unanimous vote of all Republicans on the committee,” she added.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was introduced without exceptions for rape or incest in the last Congress. However, then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor added exceptions for rape and incest to the bill because he feared negative PR from a potential media feeding frenzy over a stray remark by Rep. Trent Franks, the bill's sponsor, about rape. In fact, a number of liberals defended Franks' statement. Cantor, the lead speaker at the 2014 March for Life, went on to lose the Republican primary to Tea Party challenger David Brat.

“There should be a universal call put out to every pro-life person to contact every Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, urging them to introduce an amendment to remove the discriminatory exceptions,” Kiessling told LifeSiteNews. “It's not too late!”

They plan a tweetfest until noon on January 22 using the hashtag #TheyFeelPainToo in the hopes that legislators will remove the rape and incest exceptions before a final vote. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, and the leadership plans to vote on the bill on January 22, the morning of the March for Life.

Few have gone as far as Georgia Right to Life, which is calling on Congressmen to vote against the bill because of the exceptions.

"GRTL has the utmost sympathy and compassion for rape and incest victims,” said Executive Director Genevieve Wilson, but passing the bill would result in Congress “imposing a stricter sentence on these innocent children than on the perpetrators of the crime.” The chapter took the same position when the bill first came to the floor in June 2013, a stance caused the National Right to Life Committee to disaffiliate with GRTL last year in favor of the newly formed Georgia Life Alliance.

Nearly all pro-life leaders support the bills, especially the 20 weeks ban, for the good that they will do to curtail abortions in other instances, which account for 98 percent of all abortions. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said passing “this legislation is an essential step in restoring the sanctity of human life and stopping the painful killing of unborn children at 20 weeks or later.” Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said, “I believe this legislation is an important step towards protecting our nation’s unborn children.”

They tell their critics that legislation that is not passed does not protect anyone.

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“Maybe they are right. Maybe they can’t get legislation passed without giving up some babies’ lives,” Sedlak told LifeSiteNews. He believes that indicates that the pro-life movement “should have been fighting for the life of every single human being since the beginning” and, if it had, it “would not need exceptions today.”

Sedlak, Kiessling, and others hope Republicans will change their minds before the law comes to the floor for a final vote. “Save the 1 members are ready and available to testify before the Judiciary Committee,” Kiessling told LifeSiteNews. “Let's not allow the atrocity to be perpetrated without a fight!”

Contact:

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee chairman: http://goodlatte.house.gov/contacts/new

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX: http://gohmert.house.gov/contact/

Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ: https://franks.house.gov/contact-me

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX: http://lamarsmith.house.gov/contact

Rep. Steve King, R-IA: http://steveking.house.gov/contact

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-OH: http://jordan.house.gov/contact/

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC: http://gowdy.house.gov/contact/

Rep. Ken Buck, R-CO: https://buck.house.gov/contact

Rep. Ted Poe, R-TX: http://poe.house.gov/index.cfm/contact-me

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-TX: http://farenthold.house.gov/contact/

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-TX: https://ratcliffe.house.gov/contact

Rep. Doug Collins, R-GA: http://dougcollins.house.gov/contact-doug/

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID: http://labrador.house.gov/contact-me/

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT: https://chaffetz.house.gov/contact-me

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-VA: http://forbes.house.gov/contact/

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-OH: http://chabot.house.gov/contact/

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-FL: http://desantis.house.gov/contact

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI: http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/contact/email.htm

Rep. Tom Marino, R-PA: https://marino.house.gov/contact-me

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-MI: https://mikebishop.house.gov/contact

Rep. Dave Trott, R-MI: https://trott.house.gov/contact

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA: http://issa.house.gov/contact/contact-me

Rep. Mimi Walters, R-CA: https://walters.house.gov/contact

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