Pro-life leaders are expressing their fury toward Rep. Renée Ellmers (R-NC) for seeking to delay what has been expected to be a relatively easy passage next week of a House bill that would restrict abortions to 20 weeks of pregnancy based on scientific evidence that unborn babies experience pain at 20 weeks of gestation.
According to the National Journal, Ellmers is leading a group of moderate Republican congresswomen who appear to have concerns about the political ramifications of the bill – which is to be voted on next week on the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision – because it may alienate “millennials” and women in general.
In a closed-door session of the House GOP, Ellmers reportedly “spoke out against bringing up the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks, telling the conference that she believes the bill will cost the party support among millennials.”
“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. “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].”
Politico also reported that Ellmers’ group of six female GOP lawmakers is trying to exert control over Republican leadership to change language in the bill that requires a rape victim to formally report the rape to police in order to be exempt from the bill’s abortion restriction to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Ellmers’ group reportedly raised its issues with the legislation with Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), arguing that enacting the abortion ban with only a formal exemption could discourage rape victims from reporting to police.
Pro-life leaders, however, are enraged with what they say is Ellmers’ attempt to deceive with false information and her political weakness.
“In a shocking display of ill-informed cowardliness, Rep. Renée Ellmers said she is now asking House leadership to delay passing a bill that would protect preborn babies after 20 weeks from the horrific pain of abortion,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement to Breitbart News. “In her reasoning, she cited that ‘millennials’ simply don’t care about this issue, which is blatantly false. In fact, it is the 18-29 year-olds that support banning abortions after 20 weeks by the widest margin.”
A United Technologies/National Journal survey about the 20-week abortion ban yielded the following results:
Overall, the survey suggests that the 20-week abortion measure fractures some of the modern Democratic coalition. Among all age groups, it was young Americans–who have regularly sided with Democratic priorities in the age of Obama–who most strongly supported the measure (52 percent). The measure also received the support of 51 percent of white women, both those who are college educated and those who are not.
“The House needs to bring this bill up for a vote immediately, and Rep. Ellmers needs to either vote for it and do the right thing or get out of the way,” Hawkins added.
“The position that Rep. Renée Ellmers of North Carolina and those who ally themselves with her are taking in the face of the violent injustice of the dismemberment of children in the womb at 20 weeks and beyond is reprehensible,” Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told Breitbart News. “It represents a position that rears its ugly head regularly in battles against deeply ingrained social injustices.”
“The rights of these children which the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would protect” should not be subject to “negotiation or delay. They are rights that are to be protected now,” Pavone added. “Whether in the political arena, in the business world, in academia, or in the church, those who fail to rise to the occasion of protecting now those whom we are able to protect now share the guilt of their shed blood.”
“Ellmers’ statement is factually incorrect,” Mallory Quigley, communications director of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, also told Breitbart News. “We expect a vote next week on this bill, as promised, just when hundreds of thousands of ‘millennials’ will descend on Washington, D.C., for the March for Life.”
Ellmers is no stranger to breaking ranks with Republicans in the House. As Breitbart News’ Matthew Boyle reported Wednesday, she was the first Republican to vote with Democrats against an amendment to the DHS funding bill sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that would block funds for President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), believed to be the primary cause of the border crisis that manifested last summer.
Ellmers’ political weakness has been evident by the fact that she was nearly defeated in a primary challenge last year by Frank Roche who, even with very little money, managed to obtain 15,045 votes to Ellmers’ 21,412 votes.
Prior to the primary election last March, Ellmers also engaged in an on-air battle over amnesty with nationally syndicated conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, during which Ellmers called the host “small minded” and “ignorant,” and clearly demonstrated she shares the left’s views on amnesty.
“It’s unclear what will happen to Ellmers moving forward, but she’s all but certain to face another primary challenge – this time a more prepared one – from the right in 2016,” Boyle wrote.