NRL News

The setting for the vote on H.R. 36 made opposition even more indefensible

by | May 14, 2015


By Dave Andrusko

babyincubatorNot that it could persuade the unpersuable, but a confluence of a number of events made the setting of The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act even more uncomfortable for opponents. Here are just a few.

First, May 13 was the second anniversary of the murder convictions of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. We wrote about it extensively (, , and, but there is an additional component I didn’t mention.

Gosnell is serving three life sentences without any chance of parole for aborting three huge unborn babies alive and then murdering them by severing their spinal cords. Both the Philadelphia Grand Jury and the prosecution were convinced there were many, many more babies executed in like manner but Gosnell studiously avoided keeping records.

Gosnell84But he was also convicted of 21 counts of aborting babies past the legal limit in Pennsylvania –24 weeks. Both the babies he aborted past the legal limit and those he murdered were pain-capable.

Second, just last week a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the survival rates of nearly 5,000 very premature babies. There are many takeaways, particularly the survival rate (23%) of even babies born at 22 weeks when they are “actively” treated.

But not all hospitals did so. And, as Jennifer Popik, JD, wrote, this “demonstrates widespread discriminatory denial of life-preserving medical treatment to premature infants based on fear that if assisted to live they might have disabilities – in defiance of protective federal law” (my emphasis).

Rep. Chris Smith

Rep. Chris Smith

Here is an extensive quote from remarks made yesterday by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) tying together the NEMJ study, The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and H.R. 36’s requirement that a second physician be in attendance. The day after the study was published online, Rep. Smith explained,

[A] New York Times article titled: “Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated” touted the Journal’s extraordinary findings of survival and hope. (Let me note that these 22-week-old children referred to in the Times articles are the same age as the 20-week children that will be protected by this bill. The only difference is the method used to calculate age.)

Just imagine, Madame Speaker, preemies at 20 weeks are surviving as technology and medical science advance. And some like Alexis Hutchinson, featured in the New York Times story is today a healthy 5 year old who originally weighed in at a mere 1.1 pounds.

Thus the babies we seek to protect from harm today may survive if treated humanely, with expertise and compassion—not the cruelty of the abortion.

That is why, H.R. 36 requires that a late abortion permitted under limited circumstances provide the “best opportunity for the unborn child to survive” and that “a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation” be “present and prepared to provide care to a child” consistent with the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002.

One other fascinating (if not unexpected) facet.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson pointed out the way the same age child was described in two different Associated Press stories. Last Monday, the lead paragraph in one read “Doctors performing late-term abortions would be required to take steps to give the fetus the best chance of survival, according to a Republican bill the House plans to debate this week.”

But when the Associated Press ran a story on the NEJM study the week before, the headline in the Washington Post was “Hospital efforts to save very premature babies vary widely.” In the first two paragraphs we read about “premature babies” and “preemies,” not “fetus.”

Johnson commented, “Apparently, some journalists think if a baby is born alive during an abortion, he or she remains a ‘fetus’ indefinitely.”

Of course the usual suspects said the usual things. Pro-abortion Hillary Clinton tweeted “When it comes to women’s health, there are two kinds of experts: women and their doctors. True 40+ years ago, true today.”

For the former Secretary of State, medically, time has stood still. 40 years ago a child was “viable” at 28 weeks. Now one of the principal authors of the NEJM commented that “he considers 22 weeks a new marker of viability.” But you’d never know that from reading Clinton.

As for pro-abortion President Barack Obama, you’ll remember that as a candidate, when asked when “a baby gets human rights,” stumbled around before responding, “answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”

Not above his pay grade was having his administration call H.R. 36 “disgraceful” and threatening to veto it.

What about that second doctor, which is part of The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act?

This is the same man who, as an Illinois state Senator, opposed a bill that would have provided legal protection to babies who survived abortion.

If you get a chance, please read “Educating the public about the capacity of the unborn child to experience excruciating pain as she is aborted.” A lot happened yesterday and as we move ahead, it is very important to understand exactly why Wednesday’s vote was historic.

Categories: Legislation
Tags: H.R. 36