Last Tuesday, June 18, 2013, the United States House of Representatives passed HR 1797, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (the “Act”) by a vote of 228-196. The Act, written by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) creates narrow exceptions to protect the life of the mother, and in cases of rape and incest so long as the crimes have been reported. Six Democrats voted in favor (Nick Rahall (WV), Collin Peterson (MN), Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC), Dan Lipinski (IL) and Henry Cuellar (TX)). Six Republicans voted against the bill (Reps. Paul Broun (GA), Rob Woodall (GA), Richard Hanna (NY), Charlie Dent (PA), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) and Jon Runyan (NJ)). The vote is largely symbolic, as it is unclear whether the Harry Reid will permit a vote in the Senate. Nevertheless, the Act sends a powerful signal. Mr. Obama threatened to veto this bill before it passed because he considers the Act to be “an assault on a woman’s right to choose” and “a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.”
Democratic activists seized on passage of the Act with great ferocity. Following passage of the Act, I received a number of emails warning that the end is nigh. Kelly Ward, Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, stated: “Republicans are bowing to the Tea Party by passing the most radical anti-choice bill in decades . . . The only chance we have to prevent the Tea Party agenda is by calling out their lies, loud and clear, across the country. We need you with us. [Send money.]” Then the Democratic Headquarters wrote to me saying:
Last night, Republicans rammed through an extreme and unconstitutional bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks. Republicans continue to bend to the will of their radical, anti-women, right-wing base. We can’t let their lack of backbone translate into a country where women are systematically denied basic rights. Don’t let Republicans take us back to the 1950s. [Send money.]
Organizing for Action, the community-organizing successor to Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, wrote:
Last night’s House vote wasn’t a bad dream. It’s actually terrifying that 228 members of Congress voted to stand between a woman and her doctor when it comes to her health care decisions, but here we are the next day, and that’s what happened. These moments can’t pass with a shrug of the shoulders, or by crossing our fingers and hoping that it never becomes law. The reality is that bills like this are making headway in state legislatures across the country — and if people like us don’t speak out now, then how will we stop them? [Send money.]
Then, Lindsay Siler, National Director of Issue Campaigns for BarackObama.com, wrote as follows:
The House of Representatives passed one of the most unbelievable, unconstitutional attacks on women’s health in a long time. It’s a bill written by Republican Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in extremely limited circumstances — a direct legislative challenge to Roe v. Wade. And 228 members of Congress just voted for it. Maybe they weren’t paying attention to the reaction of Americans across the country last year who rejected candidates who wanted to restrict a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care. That’s a message they need to hear loud and clear right now — if you think politicians have no right to get between a woman and her health decisions, [send money]. This bill made it out of the House Judiciary Committee thanks to the votes of 23 Republicans — all men, of course. [Emphasis in the original.]
So, there you go. As medical technology develops to where we can see an unborn child recoil to escape the abortionist’s needle, and where even the faces of unborn children can be seen clearly while in the womb, the legitimacy of second and third-semester abortions become more abhorrent. Moreover, the evidence of the recent Gosnell trial repulsed large numbers of Americans with disgust. It is important to note that the tide has been shifting. In a USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,012 adults, who were surveyed December 27 – 30, 2012, 80 percent said that abortion should be illegal in the third trimester, and 64 percent said that abortion should also be illegal in the second trimester. Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, speaking with regard to passage of the Act, said:
Congress has taken an important first step toward making sure we stop abortionists like Kermit Gosnell and his horrific abortion-clinic and procedures. The House listened to the overwhelming majority of Americans, men and women, who instinctively recoil at the dehumanizing and degrading practice of late-term abortion. [The Act] deserves an immediate vote in the U.S. Senate. It’s simple: children capable of experiencing unimaginable pain from abortion must be protected across the country.
Amen to that, Ms. Dannenfelser! And kudos to the House of Representatives!