As pro-life members of Congress gathered at the Susan B. Anthony reception last night on the eve of the March For Life, they were faced with the implosion of their legislation attempting to ban abortions after 20 weeks of a pregnancy.
That put many of them in an awkward situation as prominent pro-life leaders came to town for a number of events in Washington D.C.
The legislation was scheduled to pass the House of Representatives in time for members to trumpet the pro-life victory as the product of a Republican congress with an expanded majority at the March for Life.
But as members of Congress attended the March today, they were questioned about what happened to the legislation after a group of over 20 House Republicans revolted against the bill. House leadership was forced to pull the bill to avoid an embarrassing vote.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers brought up the controversial bill during her speech. She vowed to activists that Republicans were committed to the bill – even though they had to pull it at the 11th hour.
“The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is so important, because it shifts the debate in the pro-life community all across this country and makes very clear the pain an unborn child feels is very real and very wrong,” she said.
“The Pain Capable legislation will be on the floor,” asserted Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) during his March For Life Speech, citing commitment from House leadership to the process.
“We know that children at at least 20 weeks gestation suffer horrific pain,” he said. “This legislation will at least protect those children from the 20th week on and our leadership is true, they are faithful, and they will bring that legislation to the floor and we will pass it.”
As pro-life activists gathered in Washington D.C., Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards mocked Republicans on Twitter. “House GOP can’t even get their membership lined up behind a 20-wk ban,” she wrote. “Should send a message to politicians everywhere.”
Off stage at the March For Life, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus told Breitbart News that Planned Parenthood was “spiking the football too early.” He predicts that the bill will eventually pass.
“I wouldn’t call it a failure,” he said, referring to the House GOP pulling the bill. “I would say that language is going to get tweaked but I expect the bill to get passed.”
Preibus, who described himself as “a Psalm 139 Republican” indicated that it was unfortunate that the bill was pulled but was optimistic about the bill’s chances in the future.
“The timing was great for today, but I would be far from saying that the bill isn’t gonna get passed,” he said. “I think eventually it will.”