Nearly three months after caving to a group of Republicans led by Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, the House GOP is trying to resurrect the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, though Ellmers has demanded another language change in the bill – an edit that would again reduce the number of unborn children the act would protect.
On the eve of the March for Life in January in Washington, D.C., the Pain Capable bill – which would prohibit abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy – was pulled from the House floor when Ellmers and some colleagues decided that the bill they had approved and passed in 2013 was no longer a bill they could support. Ellmers claimed they were concerned about the measure’s rape reporting language, though it became readily apparent they were more concerned about the political consequences of possibly turning off women and millennials.
The ire of enraged pro-lifers was fueled even further when Ellmers took to her blog days later to defend herself, as she also referred to pro-life groups as “abhorrent” and “childish.”
National Journal reports that Ellmers, who chairs the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, says she could support a draft of the bill if, rather than requiring a woman to have to report a rape to law enforcement to be eligible for late-term abortion, she would simply have to instead inform the abortionist.
“The demand that it be reported to law enforcement was completely unrealistic and only further victimized the victims of rape, and I think that’s something that we have to be very conscientious about,” Ellmers said.
In addition, Ellmers has added yet another qualification for the draft of the measure to be acceptable, this one for incest. The original language – which Ellmers voted in favor of in 2013 – allowed only minors who were victims of incest as an exception for late-term abortion. The language Ellmers is now touting would allow late-term abortions for women of any age who claim they became pregnant as a result of incest.
“Incest is incest. There can’t really be a cutoff age,” Ellmers said. “That was, I thought, not well thought out.”
According to the National Journal, Ellmers said she will be speaking to all House Republican women about the proposed changes, though it is unclear how many Republican women will actually be on board with Ellmers.
Richard Platt, communications director for Utah Rep. Mia Love, a member of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, tells Breitbart News that Love has not reviewed Rep. Ellmers’ new bill in any form, and so could not comment on what the bill might or might not be.
“However, the Congresswoman is pro-life, and would have supported the original bill before it was pulled,” he added.
In an email statement to Breitbart News, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, also a member of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, said, “As the primary co-sponsor, I continue to work closely with Congressman Franks and together we are trying to come up with language that will stand the test of time. I have worked tirelessly in the fight to end dangerous late-term abortions and will not stop until the job is done.”
Rep. Trent Franks, the original sponsor of the Pain Capable bill, tells Breitbart News, “We continue to search for language that will unify the pro-life base; however it is completely premature to say what that final language will be.”
According to the National Journal, Franks added, “With that said, the draft being discussed now differs in substantive ways from” what Ellmers is describing.
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), vice chairman of the pro-life Values Action Team of lawmakers, openly observed that with Ellmers’ omission of the rape reporting requirement to law enforcement, “You leave a huge loophole. All you got to do is say, ‘I’ve been raped,’ and no questions are asked” to receive a late-term abortion.
The work of pro-life organization Live Action has had direct impact on the question of whether late-term abortions for pregnancy resulting from rape in the case of minors could serve only to cover up such crimes when the rape is reported only to the abortionist.
One of the group’s undercover investigations documented Planned Parenthood’s willingness to repeatedly violate mandatory reporting laws for statutory rape that serve to protect children. Results of the investigations found eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five different states were willing to cover up sexual abuse and dismiss mandatory suspected statutory rape reporting requirements. Live Action also found the clinics investigated provided instructions to the undercover “minor” on how to get around parental consent laws.
“Rep. Ellmers and all those who refuse to pass legal protections for the preborn are playing politics with the lives of our nation’s children,” Lila Rose, president of Live Action tells Breitbart News. “Victims of rape and incest need healing and support after the horrific trauma they endured, and the perpetrators held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, but promoting late-term abortion as a path to healing is a sinister tactic of powerful pro-abortion interests.”
Rose highlights what her organization has learned from its undercover exposés of Planned Parenthood.
“Pro-abortion interests like abortion leader Planned Parenthood perpetuate cycles of sexual assault by repeatedly covering up sexual abuse in their facilities, while demanding the ‘right’ to sell abortions to victims of sexual violence,” she explains. “Abortion doesn’t take away the trauma of rape and incest, it only adds more violence and injustice to the violence that woman endured, while destroying an innocent party in the process.”
“Stop playing games with protecting our children from brutal late-term abortion,” Rose asserts.
Similarly, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, questions the proposed changes in the language of the bill, particularly Ellmers’ claim the rape reporting requirement is “unrealistic.”
“While some think it’s ‘unrealistic’ for reporting to be made to law enforcement, it’s also unrealistic to think that the abortionist performing the procedure needs any convincing whatsoever to perform it,” Pavone told Breitbart News. “If one says to him/her that there was a rape, it’s totally superfluous. Abortionists don’t need a reason to perform abortions – not even a pregnancy. They are so totally unscrupulous that giving them any role whatsoever in a legislative exception is ridiculous.”
Ovide Lamontagne, general counsel for Americans United for Life (AUL), is nevertheless hopeful for the bill’s advancement with some stronger provisions that emphasize the harms that come to women as a result of late-term abortion.
“Notwithstanding the current review of the bill, we believe that the bill will move forward in the House, after some adjustments to the bill as passed by the House in 2013 are agreed upon,” he explained to Breitbart News.
One adjustment we would like to see is the addition of maternal health findings establishing as a second but equally important public policy basis in support of a five-month late term abortion ban, the protection of women from the physical and psychological harms of late term abortion in addition to the public policy purpose of protecting unborn children from fetal pain.
To date, though House leadership has not been successful in passing the Pain Capable measure, all the 2016 GOP likely contenders in the presidential primary race are on record in support of the bill.
The United States, China, North Korea and Canada are the only nations in the world that permit abortion for any reason after viability.
Ellmers’ office did not respond to Breitbart News’ repeated requests for comment about whether or not the language she was supporting regarding rape reporting and exception for incest at any age would serve as significant loopholes for late-term abortions.