Pro-life leaders say the failure of the Senate to pass a bill that would ban abortion past the 20th week – or fifth month – of pregnancy shows indifference to the will of most Americans.
The GOP-led Senate voted 51 to 46 on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, but the measure did not obtain the 60 votes necessary to move it forward in the chamber.
A recent Marist poll released earlier this month found 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.
President Donald Trump had called upon the Senate to pass the measure, which he referred to as “important legislation that would protect our most vulnerable,” and send it to his desk for his signature during his live address to the March for Life on January 19.
The president said:
It is disappointing that despite support from a bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators, this bill was blocked from further consideration. Scientific studies have demonstrated that babies in the womb feel pain at twenty weeks. The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called for a rule change in the Senate.
“Pro-life Americans would finally have a groundbreaking victory for life in the U.S. Senate if the vote passed with majority rules as it should,” she said. “Instead, extremists in the Senate can block the desires of more than three out of four Americans who support real limits on the deadly abortion procedure.”
Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (PA), Joe Donnelly (IN), and Joe Manchin (WV) voted for the legislation, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted against it. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) did not vote. Nelson and Baldwin previously voted against the bill in 2015.
“For those Senators who voted against the bill, millennials will be asking how they can embrace such an inhumane procedure for infants who soon can survive outside the womb, and the pro-life generation will hold them accountable,” Hawkins said.
Planned Parenthood tweeted #StopTheBans to condemn the prohibition on abortion past the fifth month of pregnancy. The abortion vendor also condemned the U.S. House’s passage of a bill that would require abortionists to immediately provide emergency medical care to an infant born alive during an abortion.
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
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA-List) took quick notice of vulnerable Democrats who voted against the Pain-Capable bill, including: Sens. Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Jon Tester (MT).
Following the vote, the organization immediately launched the following microsites with a corresponding digital ad campaign in each state:
The digital campaign will back up our existing ground efforts. Since July 2017, SBA List’s 200+ canvassing team has knocked on more than 320,000 doors across Missouri, Ohio, Florida, and Indiana, with plans to expand. We’re reaching out to low-turnout pro-life voters as well as Democratic women and Hispanics to educate them on their Senator’s record on life.
“The vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act came down to this question – do you oppose the ongoing torture and death of thousands upon thousands of healthy babies who are old enough to feel the pain of abortion?” Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said in a statement following the vote. “Clearly, most Senate Democrats believe the excruciating killings should continue.”
“By voting against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats voted against the wishes of the American public, against science, and most importantly, against the human rights of innocent babies,” he continued. “Every Senator who voted to defeat this human rights legislation deserves to feel the pain of defeat at the ballot box.”