‘Controversial’ Anti-Abortion Bill Doesn’t Need Washington

Posted: Jan 31, 2015 12:00 PM
‘Controversial’ Anti-Abortion Bill Doesn’t Need Washington

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act may have been temporarily halted in Congress, but it’s full speed ahead in areas of the country where there’s less political red tape to slow it down.

The new GOP-led Congress lost the chance to move forward lifesaving legislation last week that would ban abortions after five months. A third of the country has some form of this legislation, The Washington Examiner reports. The 5-month mark is a significant one, for that is the period at which unborn babies can feel pain. It’s a scientific fact. Thankfully, ten states acknowledged this and already have legislation in place to protect unborn children after 5 months. That list can be found here. South Carolina and West Virginia introduced similar legislation this year and pro-lifers in Ohio and Wisconsin are on a mission to do the same in their respective states.

Townhall caught up with some leading conservatives at this year’s Iowa Freedom Summit and we asked them simply, “Do you think the House should pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act?” Not one of them hesitated to voice their support of the legislation. A few interviewees, such as former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, went one step further and criticized Congress’ missed opportunity, saying, “It’s incredibly disappointing that that bill was pulled off the floor. I think it was a failure of leadership, honestly.”

Other notable quotes came from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who declared, “Yes...It’s set at 20 weeks. Medicine says that a baby that is being aborted feels that pain and agonizing death" and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), an initial sponsor of the legislation, who summed up the bill's efforts, “That’s our goal, to further the cause of life.”

Former South Carolina senator and current president of The Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint, insisted that at 5 months, “There are very few sensible Americans who think you should be able to take that child’s life.”

Polls support DeMint’s argument. An impressive 60 percent of Americans surveyed said they would favor a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. The bill, therefore, is a popular one. As The Week’s Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes, this is not an “extreme right-wing position. It’s a political no-brainer.”

So, why the holdup in Congress? Well, it’s all thanks to a few Republicans who were concerned that the bill would be too extreme. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) were a couple of the loudest legislators to make this nonsensical argument. As a result of their grumblings, a more moderate bill to ban government funding of abortion was introduced - an important bill no doubt, but a far cry from the kind of pro-life progress the Pain-Capable Act could have made.

The time was right: The GOP had just won the November elections in a landslide, the numbers were on their side, and hundreds of thousands pro-lifers were marching for life right outside their door to somberly recognize the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Yet, Congress let the moment slip.

Leave it to the states to do the federal government’s job.