By Pam Blume
Christian Action League
May 15, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a reversal of a failure to vote in January of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 13, passed H.R. 36: the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” with new language. The bill would effectively ban most late term abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.
The bill was supposed to be presented in the U.S. House to coincide with the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 22. Instead, some female Republican representatives objected to the language in the bill and wanted to include exceptions such as rape, incest and the life and health of the mother.
It was a move that shocked and dismayed pro-life groups, especially those who had gathered in Washington, D.C. for the annual march for life.
Among those objecting to the language of the original bill was Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-NC. Ellmers did vote for the new bill saying her concerns about the previous version were satisfied. She and others had been concerned that younger voters would not be in favor of the requirement that a woman would have to report the crime to law enforcement if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. Ellmers had voted for that same language in the Pain Capable bill passed by the House in 2013, but helped to derail the bill presented in January.
Speaking of the measure that passed, Ellmers said, “The new version of the bill requires women to ‘seek medical guidance’ or speak to a counselor,” and that “this may ultimately lead her down a different path – one where she embraces her unborn child and ultimately chooses life.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said “Some Republican House members said they were concerned about the way the original bill could turn away younger voters. But approximately 56% of the current younger generation of Americans is pro-life. They’re more pro-life than their parents were.”
Creech added, “Granted, this bill acknowledges a 20-week-old unborn child can feel pain. But are we by allowing a number of exemptions for late-term abortions saying a child conceived by rape or incest feels less or no pain? I believe this bill was worthy of passage, but I only want to point out that we still have a long ways to go as a culture before we recognize the full import of this matter – regardless of the circumstances – what is in the womb is a living human being made in the image of God and deserving of full constitutional protections.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., who presided over the vote and spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor Wednesday, noted that opinion surveys in recent years show that a majority of Americans support a 20-week abortion ban. “The science is clear. Unborn children at 20 weeks of development are individuals capable of experiencing great pain. Today the House showed it will not sit idly by while the innocent and voiceless are subjected to this grotesque and brutal procedure.” Foxx is a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
Although the vote was originally intended for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the final passage in the House came on the second anniversary of the conviction of late-term Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who is imprisoned for murdering aborted but born-alive late term infants.
Though the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been passed by the House, it still must pass in the Senate and then goes to President Obama, whose press secretary said the administration opposes the bill.
Lawmakers can override a presidential veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber. It is important that pro-life Americans contact their Senators and urge them to pass this legislation when it is presented in the Senate.
Here is how North Carolina’s representatives voted on HR-36
Democrats – Adams, No; Butterfield, No; Price, No
Republicans – Ellmers, Yes; Foxx, Yes; Holding, Yes; Hudson, Yes; Jones, Yes; McHenry, Yes; Meadows, Yes; Pittenger, Yes; Rouzer, Yes; Walker, Yes