Oct 4, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed 237-189 H.R. 36, known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which makes it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or more.
Liberty Counsel has worked steadily to encourage legislators to enact this life-saving bill into law. Once the Senate approves the bill, President Donald Trump will sign it into law.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act recognizes that unborn babies as young as 20 weeks have pain receptors all over their skin in a concentration equal to or greater than that of adult skin. This bill was introduced by Rep. Trent Franks and provides exceptions for the mother’s life or health and for victims of rape and incest. A physician who performs or attempts to perform an abortion under an exception must comply with specified requirements. A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.
A former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, gave a powerful testimony before Congress that he had performed 1,200 abortions—over 100 late-term abortions up to 24 weeks. Dr. Levatino said, “Imagine, if you can, that you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I was. Using a Sopher 13” clamp with rows of ridges or teeth, you grasp anything you can inside the womb. Once you’ve 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 anything you can…and out pops an arm. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.”
The House vote for the bill came on the two-year anniversary of the conviction of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who operated a large Philadelphia abortion clinic and killed babies in a live-birth abortion process. Gosnell was convicted of murder, conspiracy to kill, and involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In a nationwide poll of 1,623 registered U.S. voters in November 2014, the Quinnipiac University Poll found that 60 percent would support a law that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks. Sixteen states have enacted similar laws that ban abortions after 20 weeks. These include Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were at least 5,770 late-term abortions performed at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in the U.S. in 2013. Approximately 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks.
“Liberty Counsel celebrates this victory in the House and now we strongly encourage the Senate to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to save the lives of children and women in America,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Abortion takes the life of an innocent human being and has enormous physical and psychological consequences on the mother. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is long overdue because there are abortionists all across America, dismembering and decapitating unborn babies for huge financial profit. It’s time to stop committing human genocide in this nation now. We must make the womb a safe place again,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.