Communications Department

NRLC letter to U.S. House in support of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36)

Jan 20, 2015 | fetalpain

Download PDF version of the letter.

January 20, 2015

RE: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36)

Dear Member of Congress:

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nationwide federation of state right-to-life organizations, urges you to support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), and will include the roll call on passage of the bill in our scorecard of key pro-life votes of the 114th Congress.

NRLC also fully supports the Rule (H.Res. 38), which protects the language of this well-crafted bill – which is the very same language that the House passed on June 18, 2013, as H.R. 1797. NRLC reserves the right to score the roll call on the Rule and the roll call on any Motion to Recommit.

H.R. 36 contains legislative findings and operative language very similar to bills already enacted in ten states, beginning in 2010. Like those state laws, H.R. 36 contains findings of fact regarding the medical evidence that unborn children experience pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization (which is about the start of the sixth month), and prohibits abortion after that point, except when an acute physical condition endangers the life of the mother, or in cases of rape, or incest against a minor, reported prior to the abortion to appropriate authorities.

It is now commonplace to read about evidence that, by this stage of development, an unborn child responds to many forms of stimuli, including music and the mother’s voice. Claims that the same child is nevertheless insensible to the violence done to her body during an abortion should engender strong skepticism. Abortions at this stage are performed using a variety of techniques, including a method in which the unborn child’s arms and legs are twisted off by brute manual force, using a long stainless steel clamping tool. A medical illustration of this common method (“D&E”) is posted here:

Some of the extensive scientific evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks, is available at these URLs:

Late abortions are not “rare.” At least 275 facilities offer abortions past the point that this legislation would permit.

In a nationwide poll of 1,623 registered voters in November 2014, The Quinnipiac University Poll found that 60% would support a law such as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, while only 33% opposed such legislation. Women voters split 59-35% in support of such a law, while independent voters supported it by 56-36%.

Should you have any questions, please contact Susan T. Muskett, NRLC’s Senior Legislative Counsel, at 202-626-8820, or via e-mail at Thank you for your consideration of NRLC’s requests on this vital legislation.


Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director

Susan T. Muskett, J.D., Senior Legislative Counsel

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