On the 42nd anniversary of Roe V. Wade coming up on January 22, the US House of Representatives will vote on banning abortion after the 20th week of gestation.
Though short of viability, proponents say the unborn child feels pain at the 20th week and therefore should not be subject to what would be a painful dismemberment.
Twenty-week bans are on the books in 13 states with more to come, though none of these laws have been tested in the Supreme Court, which up to now has not shown any interest in what would appear to be a roll-back of Roe V. Wade.
The bill in the House does have exceptions for rape, incest, or for the health of the mother. The health exception is generally understood as the part of Roe and then its companion decision, Doe V. Bolton, that gave the US abortion on demand.
While Roe mentioned a health exception, it was the Doe decision that defined it as “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” To show how broad it is, a 28-year-old woman could get an abortion believing she is too old for a baby and the next year get an abortion because she’s too young.
The new legislation significantly narrows the health exception to, “…substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions, or the pregnant woman.”
Politico reports that all the contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination support a 20-week ban.
According to Politico, a Qunnipaic poll shows 60% of Americans support a 20-week ban.
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek went after the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for “trying to claim… that 20 week old preborns do not feel pain, when even younger babies, 18-weekers, are routinely anesthetized if undergoing surgery.
Ryan Bomberger, Chief Creative Officer of the Radiance Foundation, told Breitbart News, “Both the liberal Huffington Post and The National Journal, much to their pro-abortion frustration, found that the majority of women support the 5-month abortion ban (50% vs 44% and 2 to 1 ratio respectively). But liberal politicians will keep beating the worn out ‘War on Women’ drums proving how tone-deaf they are about the violence of abortion.”
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life, told Breitbart News, “It’s a good first step for this Congress to put a pro-life bill like this forward at the outset of the session. Banning abortions after 20 weeks, when the preborn baby has been proven to feel pain, is widely supported by the American public. Abortion advocates have nothing to stand on when it comes to supporting abortion after this point in the pregnancy – see Exhibit A: Wendy Davis. They will resort to their typical ‘attack on women’s health’ or ‘war on women’ memes to cover up the fact that most Americans are appalled at abortions at 20 weeks and beyond.”
Steven Ertelt, Editor of LifeNews, told Breitbart News, “The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is an excellent pro-life bill that would protect unborn babies – who science shows are capable of feeling intense pain in abortions – from abortions after 20 weeks. This important bill puts the spotlight in the abortion debate back where it belongs, on the fact that abortion destroys little boys and girls before birth.
Ertelt went on, “Americans were rightly outraged when Kermit Gosnell was exposed and how he killed babies in brutal ‘live birth abortions.’ This legislation ensures that more Kermit Gosnells will not be killing babies in late-term abortions and it is the next step to remedy the problem of the United States joining China and North Korea as one of a handful of countries that allow abortions up to birth.”
The Senate will also take up the bill, but no one expects the legislation to be signed by President Obama. As to the chances the 20-week bans in the States can pass legal muster, one pro-life legal expert told Breitbart News, “I’m not optimistic.”