National pro-life organizations are again calling upon House leadership to vote on a bill that would ban late-term abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy, just as a memo to Republicans from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) does not include the bill in the February agenda.
The failure to include the Pain-Capable bill in the February agenda is significant since the bill was expected to pass the House easily on the day half a million of the Republican Party’s pro-life base gathered on the national mall for the March for Life on January 22.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), however, led a group of mainly Republican women in convincing House leadership to cave on the bill because of political concerns that some language in the measure could hurt the Party’s chances with millennials and women.
“I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week. … We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward,” Ellmers said in an interview published January 16 in the National Journal. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”
In an ironic twist, however, Ellmers voted for the same bill last year, when it passed in the House. The conservative base of the GOP has now called for a strong primary challenge for Ellmers.
A House GOP leadership aide told Breitbart News that McCarthy is “actively working with the pro-life community and our conference to find a path forward so that the House can pass this important legislation.”
Breitbart News also contacted House Republican leader Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-WA) office about the status of the bill, but her staff did not immediately return contact. McMorris Rodgers, who personally supports the bill and addressed the crowds at the March for Life, told Breitbart News on the day of the March that House leadership was committed to getting the Pain-Capable bill passed.
“We’re going to have to keep working through the language to get us to a place where we are unified in the support for this bill and moving it forward,” she said.
The fact that the bill was pulled from a vote in the House on the eve of the March for Life left national pro-life groups outraged.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said:
After a historic victory in November, which completely shut down the supposed War on Women, House GOP leaders seemingly can’t pull on their big boy pants and pass a measure which a huge portion of Americans agree upon and which many House members also ran on in November: the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after 20 weeks since that is when preborn babies have scientifically been proven to feel pain.
It’s a cowardly move, failing to vote to protect tiny babies in favor of ridiculous procedural language. It’s a move that Republicans will pay for in years to come, losing the faith of pro-life Americans, especially those Millennials, a majority of who know abortion is morally wrong, who are just now beginning to exercise their right to vote.
“House GOP leadership, like the American people themselves, need to focus on the fact that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is about stopping the painful dismemberment of children,” Father Frank Pavone, national director for Priests for Life, told Breitbart News. He added:
It’s so easy to get distracted, especially when distractions may be politically convenient. We at Priests for Life will continue to insist, both with the leadership and with the American people, that this next step in advancing the protection of children in the womb be neither ignored nor delayed.
“The House leadership, knowing how important this bill is to the pro-life community, has firmly pledged to get it back on the floor soon, and we expect they will honor that promise,” Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser with The Catholic Association, also told Breitbart News. “Poll after poll show the overwhelming majority of Americans, including women, instinctively recoil at the thought of late-term abortion and support this bill to ban them past twenty weeks of pregnancy.”