NRL News

National Right to Life President to Journalists: Check your facts in debate over Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

by | Oct 5, 2017

WASHINGTON – At a press conference this morning at which Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced the introduction of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the U.S. Senate, National Right to Life President Carol Tobias called on journalists, when writing about the bill and the unborn children at 20 weeks fetal age or older who it would protect, to adopt a more skeptical approach to fact claims made by pro-abortion advocacy organizations, including ACOG and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“Claims that unborn children do not have the capacity to experience pain at 20 weeks ignore the facts,” said Tobias. “Advocates of abortion can try to deny that thousands of unborn children who are killed in late abortions feel pain, but they are the ones dabbling in ‘junk science’.”

On Tuesday, October 3, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 237-189 for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill has been among the right-to-life movement’s top congressional priorities for the 115th Congress. Like the 16 state bills that have been enacted thus far, the proposed federal law would generally extend legal protection to unborn humans beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on congressional findings that by that point (and even earlier) the unborn child has the capacity to experience great pain during an abortion.

The bill is based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life in 2010.

On September 27, 2017, National Right to Life sent a letter to senators encouraging them to sign on as co-sponsors of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

National Right to Life’s “Key Points on the Federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36)” is available at:

Public opinion polls show that by lopsided margins, Americans support prohibiting abortion at least by this stage in development. For example 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%. Almost exactly as many Democrats were in support (46%) as opposed (47%).

Some of the extensive evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks fetal age, is available on the NRLC website at and also here:

Categories: Legislation