The Senate is scheduled to take an initial vote next week on a measure that would prohibit abortions in the United States past the twentieth week – or fifth month – of pregnancy.
“In 2018, do we still want to be one of seven nations that allow abortion on demand at 20 weeks?” asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the lead sponsor of the legislation, during a press call Thursday. “It’s a time in the pregnancy when young parents are encouraged to sing to the unborn child because you can recognize the parent’s voice. It’s a time when babies can be saved.”
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on evidence from medical science that an unborn child consciously feels physical pain, at least by the twentieth week of pregnancy. Pro-life leaders are calling for consensus to end abortions after the fifth month, observing that even those Americans who label themselves as “pro-choice” could agree to ban practices that would cause an unborn baby to experience the excruciating pain of an abortion at this stage of pregnancy.
The House once again passed the Pain-Capable bill in October, and, in a live address to participants of the March for Life on January 19, President Donald Trump reiterated that he would sign the measure should it come to his desk.
“I strongly supported the House of Representative’s Pain-Capable bill, which would end painful, late-term abortions nationwide,” Trump said. “And I call upon the Senate to pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing.”
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst is a co-sponsor of the legislation, which has been dubbed “Micah’s Law” after five-year-old Micah Pickering of her home state of Iowa. Micah was born at 22 weeks in 2012 and was “only about the size of a bag of M&Ms” when he was born, Ernst said during the press call.
“And yet Micah was still a perfectly formed baby with ten fingers and ten toes,” she added, noting that the Pain-Capable bill would save at least ten thousand lives each year.
The bill has an upward climb in the Senate, where it will need 60 votes to pass. Graham said he believes Republicans will receive some Democrat support for the measure.
Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion business – has condemned the measure, urging its supporters to call upon their senators to vote against it:
The Senate is planning to vote on a bill that would impose a nationwide 20-week abortion ban – and President Trump promised to sign it. #StopTheBans
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) January 25, 2018
A recent Marist poll, however, released last week found that 76 percent of Americans – including 92 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents, and 61 percent of Democrats – would restrict abortion to, at most, the first trimester of pregnancy.
Additionally, 51 percent of Americans identify as “pro-choice,” but even 60 percent of those agree with substantial restrictions on abortion.
The poll also finds that 63 percent would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, while 60 percent oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.