With the announcement that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is in full support of a measure that would ban abortions in the United States past 20 weeks of pregnancy, all the current likely GOP presidential contenders appear to be on board with the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The question is: Where is the U.S. House?
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA-List) announced Christie’s message Monday:
I am proud to be a pro-life Republican. I believe that every life is an individual gift from God, and that no life is disposable. When I was preparing to run for Governor of New Jersey there were those who told me there was no way I would be elected as a pro-life candidate. I told them that they were wrong, that the voters would accept the sincerity of my beliefs even if they felt differently. Today, I am a living example that being pro-life is not a political liability anywhere in America.
I also know that there are areas where all Americans – regardless of being pro-life or pro-choice – can come together. One proposal that brings Americans together is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which would protect unborn children beginning at 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy, based on their ability to feel pain. America is one of just seven countries that permits elective abortions past this point. We can do far better than this. I urge Congress to take swift action on this important issue.
The fact is, however, the U.S. House is beyond taking “swift action” on the issue.
In late January, a half million members of the pro-life base of the Republican Party gathered on the national mall for the March for Life, expecting that the same Pain-Capable bill the body passed two years prior would pass easily on the eve of this momentous occasion. Once passed in the House, the measure could be successful in a Senate now led by the Republican Party.
The Pain-Capable bill was abruptly pulled from the House floor, however, when House Republican leadership acquiesced to a group of Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) who claimed they were concerned about the measure’s rape reporting language, though it became readily apparent they were more concerned about not winning the votes of women and millennials.
The ire of enraged pro-lifers was fueled even further when Ellmers took to her blog over a week later to defend herself, as she also referred to pro-life groups as “abhorrent” and “childish.”
Since January when the legislation was pulled from the House floor, it has not been raised again or scheduled for a vote.
House Republican leader Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – herself pro-life – told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview following her appearance at the March for Life, “We still need to work on it some more. We are committed to – getting it done.”
Other members of the House have reminded GOP leadership that they were told a vote on the Pain-Capable bill would be coming soon:
— Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) March 16, 2015
“Republican leadership allowed a handful of Members to derail the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act when hundreds of thousands had gathered in Washington for the March for Life,” said Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) Tuesday in a statement to Breitbart News. “At the time, leadership promised the pro-life community they would bring it back up for a vote soon. But so far, we have seen no movement toward keeping their promise.”
Congressman Diane Black (R-TN), who recently responded to the Government Accountability Office’s report that confirms Planned Parenthood and other organizations are using taxpayer funds to promote abortions, said in a statement to Breitbart News, “As a nurse, I believe it is shameful that—in the year 2015—our government continues to condone dangerous, late-term abortions despite advances in technology that have resulted in premature babies saved as early as 22 weeks into fetal development.”
“That is why I voted for, cosponsored, and spoke on the House floor in support of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act during the last Congress and why I am again cosponsoring the bill this year,” said Black.
“I understand the need to allow Members additional time to offer input that would help strengthen the measure and ensure the strongest support possible,” she added. “While the precise wording of the bill was not perfect, I was prepared to support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in its current form and I believe there are many possible paths forward for this measure that could garner broad support while achieving our mission of rescuing more innocent lives from the horrors of abortion.”
“Our leadership has told us that this bill will be coming back for a vote in the near-term and we will hold them to that,” Black said.
Asked whether the bill would be placed on the schedule again, a House GOP leadership aide told Breitbart News, “Congressman [Kevin] McCarthy strongly supports the legislation and its consideration on the House floor. He is continuing to work with our Conference and the Pro-Life community to build consensus so that this important legislation can pass the House.”
Meanwhile, SBA-List president Marjorie Dannenfelser observes that Senate Democrats have held up a bill that would protect victims of human sex trafficking to protect the abortion industry. The “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” contains the Hyde Amendment, banning taxpayer funding of abortion, a provision the abortion industry cannot tolerate.
“There is complete unity on the Republican side around this highly reasonable proposal to protect pain-capable children after five months,” Dannenfelser said. “Meanwhile, the national Democratic Party and its leaders remind us almost daily of the abortion lobby’s importance in their policy and politics. We expect this clear difference to be a focal point of the general election debate.”