Last week, a momentous piece of legislation passed successfully through the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill represented the best of who we are, as Americans. Unfortunately, the future for this piece of legislation looks very bleak.
The legislation is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R.1797.) It is designed to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks following fertilization and is built on legislation that has already been enacted in nine states.
The 20-week cut-off time is predicated on scientific evidence that pre-born babies can feel pain early in their pre-born lives and throughout the rest of the gestational period.
Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, sponsor of the bill, stated that abortions done at 6 months and beyond are "subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb."
Testifying before the Subcommittee on the Constitution on HR 1797, Dr. Anthony Levatino, an OB-GYN, described in detail what abortions entail during the second trimester of pregnancy. He spoke to a hushed room and explained, step by step, what a Suction D&E procedure was, and how, by the time a woman is that far along in her pregnancy, she "has been feeling her baby kick for the last month."
He told how the baby is literally dismembered during the procedure and then stated clearly for Congress – and the whole world to hear - that "if you refuse to believe that this procedure inflects severe pain on that unborn child, please think again." Dr. Levatino no longer performs abortions.
Also speaking before the same committee was Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology, who pointed out that preborn babies can feel pain as early as 8 weeks. In her testimony, Dr. Condic said:
"Imposing pain on any pain-capable living creature is cruelty. And ignoring the pain experienced by another human individual for any reason is barbaric. We don't need to know if a human fetus is self-reflective or even self-aware to afford it the same consideration we currently afford other pain-capable species. We simply have to decide whether we will choose to ignore the pain of the fetus or not."
H.R. 1797 passed the House by a vote of 228 to 196. But now, the battle is all up hill. NARAL Pro-Choice America's president said those who supported the bill, from the GOP, have a "deep hostility to women's rights and freedom." The bill is not expected to pass the Senate. Even if it did, the White House has already threatened to veto the bill and issued a strong statement against the legislation the day before the House vote. The statement said, in part, the bill "would unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose."
What are glaringly in absentia in the arguments for and against H.R.1797 are the voices of the tiniest victims of this political debate. What civilized society would condone the dissection of living children and masquerade it as a women's right to choose?
Apparently, we are such a society – and may God have mercy on our nation.