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Woman holding an ultrasound scan of her unborn

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. House is voting on a bill today that prevents most late-term abortions on pain-capable babies.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) protects pre-born babies 20 weeks and older from being killed in abortions because they feel pain.

During late-term abortions, babies are torn apart limb by limb. Sometimes, the abortionist injects the drug digoxin into them, which causes fatal cardiac arrest. They can feel the needle piercing them during a digoxin abortion.

At 20 weeks, the pre-born baby is roughly the size of a small cantaloupe. The baby’s sex, which has been determined since fertilization, is identifiable. Mothers can feel their babies kicking at this age. Babies born at just 22 weeks' gestation – 20 weeks post-fertilization – can survive outside the womb with medical care.

If the Act becomes law, abortionists convicted of committing illegal late-term abortions could spend up to five years in prison.

The bill builds the case for the reality of fetal pain by noting by 20 weeks, “pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body.”

“Mechanisms that inhibit or moderate the experience of pain do not begin to develop until 32 to 34 weeks post-fertilization,” Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand testified before Congress in 2004. This means that “any pain the unborn child experiences before these pain inhibitors are in place is likely more intense than the pain an older infant or adult experiences when subjected to similar types of injury.”

“The embryological evidence of development of nervous system is pretty well-defined,” Dr. Kathi Aultman, a board certified OB/GYN and former abortionist, told LifeSiteNews. “And there isn’t much argument about how well developed the nervous system is at 20 weeks.”

Aultman was the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Jacksonville before becoming pro-life. She is now an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

According to the leading textbook on clinical anesthesia, Essential Clinical Anesthesia, published by Cambridge University Press: “It is clear that the fetus is capable of mounting a physiochemical stress response to noxious stimuli as early as 18 weeks gestation.”

Eighteen weeks gestation is 16 weeks post-fertilization.

“The position, asserted by some physicians, that the unborn child is incapable of experiencing pain until a point later in pregnancy than 20 weeks after fertilization (predominantly) rests on the assumption that the ability to experience pain depends on the cerebral cortex and requires nerve connections between the thalamus and the cortex,” the Pain-Capable Bill acknowledges. “However, recent medical research and analysis, especially since 2007, provides strong evidence for the conclusion that a functioning cortex is not necessary to experience pain.”

When unborn children are operated on, “fetal anesthesia is routinely administered and is associated with a decrease in stress hormones compared to their level when painful stimuli are applied without such anesthesia,” the bill explains.

“We know that abortionists like Dr. Kermit Gosnell, convicted of murdering born-alive babies and illegally performing late abortions, too often kill unborn children late in development,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told supporters in an email.

The U.S. is one of seven out of 198 countries that allows elective abortions for any reason more than halfway through pregnancy.

The American abortion lobby vehemently opposes the mild restrictions on abortion posed by the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

On September 29, Planned Parenthood sent a memo to all U.S. House offices blasting the bill as “dangerous.” The abortion organization informed them that they would count only a “no” vote as one in “support of women's health.”

Exceptions and reporting requirements

If the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act becomes law, it will still be legal to abort babies 20 weeks or older conceived in rape or incest.

For a baby conceived in rape to be aborted under the Act, the mother must have obtained counseling or medical treatment for the rape at least 48 hours before the abortion.

Before an abortionist aborts a baby conceived in rape, he must report it to one of several entities.

The rape must be reported in the victim’s file with “a hospital licensed by the State or operated under authority of a Federal agency, a medical clinic licensed by the State or operated under authority of a Federal agency, from a personal physician licensed by the State, a counselor licensed by the State, or a victim’s rights advocate provided by a law enforcement agency.”

This doesn’t apply “if the rape has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to a law enforcement agency or Department of Defense victim assistance personnel.”

Abortionists must report late-term abortions after rape or incest on minors by “[placing] in the patient medical file documentation from a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse that the rape or incest was reported prior to the abortion; or, as an alternative, documentation from a law enforcement agency that the rape or incest was reported prior to the abortion.”

The bill also stipulates that any abortion committed on an “excepted” baby must be done in a way that makes it most likely the baby will survive. When an abortion on a viable “excepted” baby takes place, a second doctor who is trained in neonatal resuscitation must be present.

If a baby undergoing such an abortion is born alive, he must be treated the same as “a child born alive at the same gestational age in the course of a natural birth” and immediately admitted to a hospital.

Trump-supported bill faces uphill battle in GOP-controlled Senate

On October 2, the Trump administration released a statement saying it “strongly supports” the bill.

“If H.R. 36 were presented to the President in its current form, his advisers would recommend that he sign the bill into law,” it said. “The bill, if enacted into law, would help to facilitate the culture of life to which our Nation aspires.”

It would also “promote a science-based approach to unborn life, as recent advancements have revealed that the physical structures necessary to experience pain are developed within 20 weeks of fertilization.”

The bill’s biggest obstacle will be in the U.S. Senate, where it is unlikely to garner the required 60 votes. There are only 52 Republican senators.

Pro-life groups estimate the bill would save 13,000 lives a year. Planned Parenthood commits nearly 900 abortions each day across the U.S. There are close to one million abortions annually in the U.S.