Photo credit: Ron Cogswell (CC-By-2.0)

Republicans supportive of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act failed to break the Democrat filibuster of S. 2311 when the cloture vote failed on a 51 to 46 vote on Monday afternoon. The U.S. House passed their version of the bill in October by a 237 to 187 vote.

The bill that President Donald Trump said he would sign would have banned abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization. The ban would have saved an estimated 18,000 babies per year. There are at least 275 abortion facilities throughout the nation that provide late-term abortions.

Republicans have 51 votes in the Senate so they are unable to break a filibuster without their full caucus and some Democrat support unless the Senate rules are changed. Two Republicans voted against the bill: U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) did not vote.

Three Democrats did join Republicans in support of the bill – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chief sponsor of the bill, responded to the vote on Twitter.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), one of the chief co-sponsors of the bill, released the following statement after the vote.

At five months, we know that babies can yawn, make faces, wiggle their ten fingers and ten toes, and feel pain. At just five months gestation, Micah Pickering from Newton, Iowa proved that a baby this small is so full of life.

The United States is only one of seven countries that allows abortions after about five months, putting us in the company of countries like China and North Korea. I am deeply saddened by the outcome of today’s vote and that some of my colleagues chose to stand with North Korea instead of innocent life. I cannot believe this is who we want to be as a nation.

I will continue to fight for these babies until they are given the life full of opportunity that they too deserve.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) released the following statement:

Today, Senate Democrats continued their tradition of neglecting moral responsibility and blocked legislation that would put an end to abortions of babies older than five months and provide protections for unborn children capable of feeling pain. I am extremely disappointed with today’s vote. Passing legislation to protect the lives of the unborn is crucial in the fight for human dignity, and it is shameful that politicians in Washington can’t even agree to protect unborn children.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is reasonable legislation that would minimize the human suffering caused by abortion. Studies have shown that at the five-month development mark, an unborn child’s fingers, toes, eyelids, eyebrows, nails, and even eyelashes have all formed. The child can suck his thumb and yawn. It can certainly feel pain. All of this is substantive evidence that supports Congress’ efforts to protect unborn children from the pain of an abortion procedure.

I remain committed to supporting pro-life legislation to protect the health and well-being of all women, and to save as many unborn children as we possibly can. And I hope and pray that one day, all unborn children will be awarded the most basic of all human rights – the right to life.

“As a physician, I was often called to the hospital to treat premature babies and help save their eyesight. Today, as a senator, I continued to protect life at this fragile stage by voting for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I will always stand up for life,” U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said after the vote.

He introduced the Life at Conception Act last year that declares “that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called for a rules change.

“Pro-life Americans would finally have a groundbreaking victory for life in the U.S. Senate if the vote passed with majority rules as it should. It’s time for a rule change. Instead, extremists in the Senate can block the desires of more than three out of four Americans who support real limits on the deadly abortion procedure. It’s only common sense that abortion be limited at the point at which the preborn infant feels great pain and the procedure is so dangerous for women. For those Senators who voted against the bill, Millennials will be asking how they can embrace such an inhumane procedure for infants who soon can survive outside the womb, and the Pro-life generation will hold them accountable,” she said.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser blasted U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jon Tester (D-MT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for “doubling down on support of abortion-on-demand, up until the moment of birth.”

She added their votes to support late-term abortion “isn’t just morally abhorrent, it defies national consensus and is a major political liability.”

SBA List who launched a digital campaign targeting Brown, Tester, McCaskill, and Heitkamp noted that U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) did not vote today but previously voted against the bill in 2015.

“Americans should be outraged that pro-abortion Senate Democrats refuse to protect unborn babies who can feel pain. An overwhelming majority of Americans support this bill, including 56% of Democrats and 56% of those who identify as ‘pro-choice’,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said.

Tobias added, “We applaud Senate Majority Leader McConnell and chief sponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham for their steadfast commitment to passing these protections for pain-capable unborn children. We will keep coming back to the Senate, again and again, until it passes this bill.”

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