The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

On Oct. 3, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). The bill is now pending in the U.S. Senate.

This bill would make it illegal to perform most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, the point in gestation that most researchers believe a developing child is able to feel and process pain. Abortions after the 20th week require dismemberment of the preborn child in the uterus. Late-term abortion is a barbaric method of pain and torture, and Congress has the opportunity to stop it.

Why Do Women Have an Abortion after 20 Weeks?

Only 1.3% of abortions occur after the 20th weekhttps://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/Data_Stats/Abortion.htm . The reasons why some women wait until this point in pregnancy to abort are numerous.

One common reason is that the routine 20‐week ultrasound may reveal if a preborn child has a severe abnormality that may impact viability outside the womb. In the minds of some mothers and families, aborting the child saves him or her from additional suffering that the condition could potentially cause.

The scan can also help doctors diagnose manageable conditions like Down syndrome and spina bifida. Tragically, abortion rates for both remain high with Down syndrome at 67% in the United Stateshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22418958 and for spina bifida 63% globally. https:/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23097374 Limiting abortions after 20 weeks would save the lives of thousands of special needs children who would otherwise be terminated simply because they are not “perfect.”

The Current Legal Status:

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015. However, it did not receive a vote in the U.S. Senatehttps://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr36 .

U.S. Representative Trent Frank (R‐Ariz.) reintroduced H.R. 36 in 2017. President Donald Trump has vowed to sign the bill into lawhttp://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/353533‐trump‐administration‐backs‐20‐week‐abortion‐ban, but a vote still has to occur in the Senate. The measure needs 60 votes in order to pass, a challenging scenario given the number of pro-abortion members in the Senate and the influence of the abortion industry lobby.

The likelihood that H.R. 36 will pass in the Senate seems slim, but the bill draws an important moral line in the sand: Will our nation allow preborn babies to be dismembered in barbaric late-term abortions, or take steps to protect human life and prevent pain by passing this common-sense law?