Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)

(Washington, DC) This afternoon a group of national pro-life leaders released a joint statement urging the House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  The bill is scheduled for a vote tomorrow.

We call on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass H.R.36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This compassionate legislation would protect children after five months, or more than halfway through pregnancy. This is the point at which science tells us the child can feel pain. In fact, doctors regularly administer anesthesia for babies undergoing prenatal surgery.

Two years ago, the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell thrust the reality of late-term abortion into the national spotlight. The ghastly testimony of newborn babies having their spinal cords snipped changed hearts and minds by removing the blinders many Americans hold up when considering this issue. Throughout parts of our country, Gosnell’s brutal actions would have been legal had he simply killed the children inside the womb instead of out. On the eve of the anniversary of his conviction, we urge the House to pass this modest pro-life bill.

The United States is one of only seven nations to allow abortion on-demand after this point, putting us in the company of human-rights violators such as China and North Korea. A large majority of Americans, including women, young people, Independents, and Hispanics support the Pain-Capable bill. This modest measure even splits Democrats and we expect the House to pass this bill this week with bipartisan support.

Leaders signing on to this statement include: 

  • Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
  • Penny Young Nance, CEO and President, Concerned Women for America
  • Jeanne Mancini, President, March for Life
  • Brian Burch, President,
  • Janet Morana, Executive Director, Gospel of Life Ministries
  • Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
  • Kristan Hawkins, President, Students for Life of America
  • Dr. Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

In 2013, Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of the murder of three newborn children and the negligent death of one patient.  He had been charged with eight counts of murder including seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors. Prosecutors said that he made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many late-term abortions as he could. His conviction spurred a vote on the federal five month abortion limit, first passed by the House in June 2013 by a vote of 228-196.

A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats, support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. To date, fourteen declared and potential GOP presidential candidates have signed on in support of the legislation. 

Last week, The New York Times highlighted a study which found that premature infants, provided with proper medical care, can survive prior to 24 weeks, generally thought to be the point of “viability.” The Times conceded that changing viability standards pose great implications for the national abortion debate.

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