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Bill to provide nationwide protection for pain-capable unborn children to be introduced in Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham

by | Nov 1, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

Next week, the week after Texas’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act went into effect, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will introduce landmark legislation to provide nationwide protection for unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (equivalent to “22 weeks of pregnancy,” the beginning of the sixth month).

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the federal bill by a 228-196 vote.

“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is perhaps the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the U.S. Congress since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007,” said Susan T. Muskett, J.D., National Right to Life senior legislative counsel.

“Ten states have already enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and it is National Right to Life’s top congressional priority,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We commend Sen. Lindsey Graham for his leadership in bringing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act before the Senate.” Sen. Graham was the original sponsor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in the House in 1999.

There is strong public support for such a law. In a nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters in March, The Polling Company found that 64% would support a law prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — when an unborn baby can feel pain — unless the life of the mother is in danger. Only 30% opposed such legislation. Women voters split 63%‑31% in support of such a law, and 63% of independent voters supported it.

Susan Muskett, JD

Susan T. Muskett, J.D., National Right to Life senior legislative counsel

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that Sen. Graham will introduce would allow abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization if the mother’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape and incest reported prior to the abortion to appropriate authorities.

National Right to Life sent a letter yesterday to pro-life Senators encouraging them to sign on as co-sponsors. The letter noted that

“Because of coverage surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy, on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed.”

Such late abortions are not “rare,” the letter continued:

“NRLC estimates that at least 140 abortion providers offer abortions past the point that this legislation would permit. These late abortions 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 at www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/deabortiongraphic

There is extensive evidence unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks fetal age. It is available on the NRLC website at www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetalpain and also here: www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/

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Categories: Legislation