NRL News

An Important first step: House Judiciary Subcommittee approves nationwide protection for pain- capable unborn children

by | Jun 5, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Rep. Trent Franks

Rep. Trent Franks

One important step at time. As you read in the very thorough and helpful story from National Right to Life, on Tuesday the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice approved nationwide protection for unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, beginning at 20 weeks fetal age.

The measure, sponsored by Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.), who also chairs the subcommittee, now goes to the full 40-member House Judiciary Committee. Unsurprisingly, but unfortunately, the 6-4 vote was along party lines: all Republicans in favor, all Democrats in opposition.

In the weeks and months to come, what you will read in the mainstream press will not serve the cause of truth, or the unborn, well. Remember that in the long debate culminating in passage of the historic ban on partial-birth abortions, many statements by pro-abortion advocacy groups were taken as gospel by many mainstream media outlets but were subsequently proven to be demonstrably false.

National Right to Life will keep you abreast of developments and—as did yesterday’s story—help you wade through the thicket of misrepresentations and misstatements about the NRLC-backed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797).

Keep in mind that the bill is coming to the fore just after the triple murder convictions of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. It is, in that overused but in this case apt phrase, an educable moment.

Here’s what Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the full Judiciary Committee, said, after the subcommittee vote.

”The taking of innocent life is a practice all too common in this nation. The recent Gosnell trial reminds us that when newborn babies are cut with scissors, they whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. And unborn babies when harmed also whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. Delivered or not, babies are babies, and it has been shown that they can feel pain at least by 20 weeks. It is time to welcome young children who can feel pain into the human family. And this bill, at last, will do just that.”

Abortion is not a pleasant topic to talk about in the first place and few media outlets are interested in educating the public to its brutal reality by revealing the particulars of how babies are torn apart. But to the limited extent that major media covered the Gosnell trial, many Americans became aware for the first time that abortion ARE frequently performed late in pregnancy on babies who are capable of being born alive and who will experience excruciating pain while being killed.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the opportunity that revelations about Gosnell—and other abortionists—affords the cause of unborn children.


A major part of the disinformation campaign against H.R. 1797 will be to insist that the unborn child cannot feel pain by 20 weeks. But they can—and do! The science behind the findings in the bill was explored at a May 23 congressional hearing. (See Rep. Franks: “Protecting pain-capable unborn babies is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. It is rather a test of our basic humanity,”; and “The fetal brain and fetal pain.”)

To read or view the testimony of the witnesses, please visit

Again, please read NRLC’s superb overview at It is very important for you to know the basics.

That includes the fact that some of the jurisdictions with the most liberal abortion policies –for example, California, Maryland, and D.C–have no reporting requirements, or do not collect data on stage of pregnancy (Florida, for example). Other jurisdictions have reporting requirements but don’t enforce them.

The public knows very, very little about late abortions.

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Categories: fetal pain