NRL News

House Judiciary Subcommittee to hold hearing on nationwide ban on late abortions to end Gosnell-style atrocities

by | May 21, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.), chairs, U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice

Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.), chairs, U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice

Can any good come from the horrors of the “Baby Charnel House”—Kermit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic whose atrocities landed Gosnell in jail for three consecutive life terms? Yes, and for the very same reason the ban on partial-birth abortion eventually became law and was upheld by the United States Supreme Court: a “face” was put on late abortions.

This Thursday the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will conduct a hearing on a nationwide Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) which would ban elective abortions when a baby is capable of feeling pain, which the bill recognizes as existing by 20 weeks fetal age, if not before. Such laws are on the books in nine states, beginning with Nebraska in 2010.

But the good news—that the Nebraska state law stopped LeRoy Carhart from doing late abortions there— was qualified. Carhart began plying his deadly trade in Maryland. As NRLC President Carol Tobias wrote yesterday, “This illustrates that these late abortions won’t end until we outlaw them everywhere!”

Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.), who chairs the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, is the prime sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The current version of the bill, which garnered a majority vote in the House in 2012, would apply only to the District of Columbia. In a press release issued last Friday, Mr. Franks announced his intention to revise the bill (H.R. 1797) in committee to cover the entire nation.

And now is the right time to advance such a bill. As we have written many times in NRL News Today, there was an effective blackout of the Gosnell murder trial for most of the eight weeks it took to convict him. But enough news seeped out to horrify anyone who heard. According the Grand Jury that issued a 261-page report on Gosnell, hundreds of babies—were born alive and then “beheaded,” as one of Gosnell’s staff members put it: surgical scissors were jammed into the babies necks and their spinal cords were severed.

Unless you work for one of the pro-abortion organizations, the Gosnell saga has to deeply trouble you. At some level you have to ask yourself what is the moral and ethical difference between (legally) tearing an unborn baby limb from limb inside the womb and (illegally) killing the baby outside the womb by snipping her spine –or worse?

This will not come as a surprise but NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes the legislation. Note the first two sentences from NARAL president Ilyse Hogue:

“Rep. Franks is using this bill in a shameless effort to exploit the terrible tragedy in Pennsylvania where Kermit Gosnell was just convicted of murder for performing illegal abortions that resulted in killing of infants and women. The women of America deserve better.”

This is the first time I have read something from Hogue that recognized there were “infants” killed at Gosnell’s abortion clinic. In addition, she also recognizes that more than one woman was killed at the Women’s Medical Society.

But what a strange choice of language. “Exploit”? This bill would protect babies from deaths so horrible that we can scarcely begin to imagine what they go through. If you can make your way through it, go to–MhKiaD7c.



Years ago Dr. Anthony Levatino performed abortions before he became pro-life. In his testimony last year before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee, Dr. Levatino went into considerable detail in describing a “D&E” abortion–an abortion technique that dismembers the baby.

He asked the subcommittee members to “Imagine, if you can, that you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I once was. Your patient today is 24 weeks pregnant (LMP).”

He went on:

“Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and [an instrument for grasping and crushing tissue] grasping anything you can. At twenty-four weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard – really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.”

Two additional comments:

First, there is support for such a bill. In a nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters in February and March 2013, The Polling Company found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — when an unborn baby can feel pain — unless the life of the mother was in danger. Only 30% opposed such legislation.

Second, the 2012 congressional testimony of Dr. Colleen Malloy. “In June 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association reported a Swedish series of over 300,000 infants,” she said. “Survival to one year of life of live born infants at 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 weeks post-fertilization age was 10%, 53%, 67%, 82%, and 85%, respectively.”

Hogue, like all her pro-abortion colleagues, read from the same playbook. Gosnell was a renegade or an outlier—he was one of a kind. He is not. Gosnell will have plenty of company in that special place reserved for the likes of him.

The nation needs the nationwide Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797).

The NRLC Legislative Action Center provides easy-to-use tools by which you can urge your federal representatives to co-sponsor and push forward the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act! The Action Center also displays up-to-date listings, arranged by state, of all of the current congressional co-sponsors of the legislation.

Categories: Legislation