WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 ( – The U.S. House is readying to vote on a hotly debated abortion bill in the nation’s capital, where the procedure is currently legal for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy.

The House is scheduled to consider the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803), which would ban abortions on children after 20 weeks gestation in the District of Columbia, on Tuesday. The measure will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

A poll commissioned by the National Right to Life Committee this month found that 63 percent of American adults supported such a measure, and 58 percent said they were more likely to vote for a member of Congress who voted in favor of it.

Supporters of the bill cite extensive medical evidence that children put to death by abortion feel the pain of the procedure by at least 20 weeks gestation, if not 17 or 18 weeks. For example, fetal pain expert Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand at the University of Tennessee has concluded that the portion of the brain responsible for pain has formed in an unborn child by 17 weeks and that “the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”


Since the D.C. city Council repealed the local abortion law, there is currently no abortion restriction on the books, making the procedure legal for any reason and at any stage of development. NRLC notes that one D.C. abortion facility near the White House advertises D&E abortions, in which the fetus is dismembered and removed in pieces from the uterus, on request up to 26 weeks of pregnancy – or the beginning of the seventh month.
H.R. 3803 is sponsored by Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.), who also spearheaded the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) earlier this session. The bill contains an exception for pregnancies that threaten a mother’s life.

Douglas Johnson, National Right to Life’s veteran legislative director, said the vote was historic for forcing the House to take responsibility for the continuation of D.C.‘s total lack of abortion law.

“Under the Constitution, members of Congress and the president are ultimately accountable for the current abortion-until-birth policy in the District,” said Johnson in a statement Monday. “Any lawmaker who votes against this bill is voting to ratify the current District policy of allowing abortion for any reason for all nine months of pregnancy.”

Click here to contact your representative via the National Right to Life Committee.