From Politico – by Rep. Marsha Blackburn
She was a real heavyweight fighter in the NICU, barely breaking the three-pound mark, having arrived several weeks too early. But she fought, as all preemies do. We saw it from the start – she would cry and flex at every prick and prod, and each breath was labored. But just as she was determined to live, we were determined to see her live. And she does live. She lives gloriously as my 14-year-old beautiful, compassionate, determined niece.
Life’s amazing potential often surprises us and too often we underestimate it. And that sacred connection of witnessing life’s potential compels us to stop turning a blind eye to the scourge of late-term abortions in our great country. That’s why this week, House Republicans will lead the fight to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to put reasonable limits on dangerous late-term abortions.
Science tells us that unborn babies react to touch as soon as 8 weeks into the pregnancy. They feel pain by 20 weeks. For anyone who has ever seen an ultrasound of an unborn child, it’s clear they have distinct, human characteristics. Doctors have testified they have seen babies on the sonogram flinch and move away from sharp objects during surgical procedures or during abortions to avoid the pain. Technology has advanced and so should our laws to protect women and children.
Americans’ attitudes about late-term abortion have transformed because of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial this year. Gosnell was convicted on dozens of charges including: infanticide, 21 felonies for illegal abortions beyond the 24-week limit, manslaughter for the death of a woman who died in his clinic, and other heinous crimes. Gosnell even said of one of the babies whose necks he “snipped” was so big it could “walk to the bus station.”
Gosnell’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, stated that “24 weeks is a bad determiner… It should be like 16-17 weeks. That would be a far better thing… and I think the law should be changed to that.” And earlier this year an abortion lobbyist in Florida defended denying medical treatment to babies that survive abortions. Just this past week a video surfaced where a New Mexico abortion doctor compared the killing of a 27-week old baby by injection to a flu shot.
Last month three women blew the whistle about how their former boss killed a teenage girl in a botched abortion procedure in Texas. These women also shared pictures of illegal abortions that happened in their clinic which rivaled Gosnell’s brutality and disregard for public health.
Two pro-abortion rights nurses in Delaware recently quit their jobs at a large clinic to save their medical licenses. They said the clinic was “ridiculously unsafe” where “meat-market style, assembly line abortions” are happening. Another physician recently stated he’s performed more than 20,000 abortions on babies after 24-weeks gestation and that he’s perfectly happy to do elective abortions on babies at seven months gestation.
These disturbing stories are popping up everywhere and it’s time for Congress to respond appropriately. The Pain-Capable Act aligns with Americans’ attitudes in a direct and narrow way. My colleagues and I have insisted that exceptions be included and we will get a majority vote to send a clear message: Gosnell-like abortions and Gosnell-like conditions are no longer tolerable in this country. There is no moral difference between what Gosnell did to infants born at 23 weeks into pregnancy and aborting a child moments before birth which is currently legal in some places today.
Public opinion polling shows over 60 percent of Americans support banning abortions in the second trimester and over 80 percent support the same in the third trimester. What member of this body will ignore science, defy the majority opinions of the American people, and instead endorse what happened in Gosnell’s House of Horrors?
A vote in favor is a vote for human decency and public health safety. A vote against is simply indefensible. Our bipartisan proposal doesn’t stop all abortions as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.) claimed last week. Will other Democrats join me in protecting women and children who feel pain or will they be on Pelosi’s side protecting Gosnell-like, late-term abortions as sacred ground?
Let’s stop the violence against babies who we know feel excruciating pain. With science and public opinion on our side, Congress has an obligation to stand up. Protecting late-term abortions isn’t sacred ground anymore and it never was to begin with.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)