Abortion Ban: Faith and Religion Evoked on House Floor During Debate

Congressman Trent Franks
Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) |

On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 242-184, mostly along party lines, to ban abortion past 20-weeks. This bill contains exceptions for rape and incest, so long as the woman receives counseling 48 hours prior to the abortion.

Although the bill was an issue of abortion rather than religion, members of Congress brought up faith.

During Wednesday's floor debate, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) mentioned that "In addition, 15 religious organizations noted in a letter to members of Congress opposing nearly identical legislation in the last Congress that, quote, the decision to end a pregnancy is best left to a woman in consultation with her family, her doctor, and her faith. End quotation."

It is worth noting that those 15 religious organizations included those known to support abortion, such as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. That organization's name says it all with how its members feel on abortion. It also included Catholics for Choice, which is a group at odds with the Catholic Church for their support of abortion.

Rep. Sheila Lee Jackson (D-TX), who identifies as a Seventh-day Adventist, and who voted against the bill, evoked her faith during the floor debate. She mentioned that "My faith, my God is no less than the Republicans.'"

She also discussed hearing from mothers and speaking for them when she said, "But my doctor has advised me that my life would not have survived to take care of my other children had I not had the ability to be able to follow my doctor and my faith. Praying with my husband, my faith leader, my extended families to make decisions that would, in fact, provide for not only future children, but for my sanctity and ability to be the woman that I need to be."

The representative continued on as later in her time she claimed that requiring victims of rape to report their ordeal "challenges their faith and their love of God." She also said that the bill "offends doctors and people of faith."

There were those who evoked the name of God during the debate, in favor of the bill. This included Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who said that "every life at this stage is a gift from God…"

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who was a sponsor of the bill, referred to unborn children the bill aims to protect as "…these little pain-capable unborn children of God…" and as "…these little forgotten children of God…"

Perhaps his most impassioned statement came from when he mentioned "…because it's very clear that it's a statement, that it's almost a theological statement, because it recognizes all of us to be created in the image of God, that we are created. And that makes all the difference, Mr. Speaker, because if we're created, if we have a purpose, if there is something miraculous about this magnificent gift of life, then we should all pay very close attention to what that purpose is. And if our rights don't come from government, if they don't come from the hand of men and come from the hand of God, then we have a great responsibility to try to protect them from one another and for one another."

Rep. Lee Jackson was very impassioned during her debate, but she seems to mix up the issue of faith, especially in evoking it to support the brutal death of a child so late developed in the womb as to be able to feel pain.

In contrast, Rep. Franks seems to have truly grasped God's intentions and his love for all of his creation, including those children not yet born, who may be regarded as the least of us.

Transcripts and video of the floor debate of H.R. 36, the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" are available online from C-SPAN.

Rebecca Downs graduated from Fordham University in August 2012, where she was a member of the Respect for Life club and College Republicans. She plans on attending Regent University School of Law so that she may impact the movement from a legal and political level.

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