WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. House passage May 13 of a measure that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks is “long overdue and one of the most common sense laws under consideration,” said the president and CEO of Americans United for Life.
“There is a war on women in abortion clinics today, where they are exposed to tremendous risks for profit from a secretive, taxpayer-funded, billion-dollar industry,” Charmaine Yoest said in a statement. “It’s time to protect women from dangerous conditions and the unborn from a torturous death.”
In a 242-184 vote mostly along party lines, the House approved the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
It prohibits abortion after 20 weeks unless the life of the mother is in danger. The measure’s sponsors cited what they say is substantial medical and scientific evidence that unborn children can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation.
“It is fitting that the House of Representatives debated and passed a bill that would protect unborn children from late-term abortion as well as their mothers on the second anniversary of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s conviction for killing a young woman and countless newborns in his clinic,” Yoest added.
On May 13, 2013, a Philadelphia jury found Gosnell guilty of murder in the deaths of three babies born alive during abortions and acquitted him of a fourth similar charge. He also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death by a drug overdose of a patient who had an abortion.
Gosnell, now 74, was charged with snipping the spines of babies born alive during illegal late-term abortions. Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks of gestation. He gave up his right to an appeal so he would not get the death penalty.
He was given two consecutive life sentences with no chance for parole on two of three first-degree murder convictions. Gosnell received a third life sentence for the third murder conviction and another two and a half to five years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Those sentences also are consecutive.
Gosnell also was convicted of hundreds of violations of Pennsylvania abortion regulations.
On the House floor May 13, Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, also spoke at length about the significance of lawmakers considering the pain-capable measure on the Gosnell anniversary.
He noted that “the news of Gosnell’s child slaughter was largely suppressed by the mainstream media” at the time, but said there are “Gosnells all over America, dismembering and decapitating pain-capable babies for profit.”
He gave a number of examples, including Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who runs a late-term abortion clinic in Germantown, Maryland.
“Some euphemistically call this choice, but, a growing number of Americans rightly regard it as violence against children,” said Smith, who is head of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “And huge majorities — 60 percent according to November 2014 Quinnipiac poll — want it stopped.”
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act also requires, he said, “that a late abortion permitted under limited circumstances provide the ‘best opportunity for the unborn child to survive’ and that ‘a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation’ be ‘present and prepared to provide care to a child’ consistent with the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in a statement he was proud to see “pro-life members of Congress stand up for the unborn. … This bill is a life-saving measure for thousands of children who can feel pain and would feel it severely if dismembered by abortion.”
He added, “The pro-life movement is working to end all abortion, but until then, we have a moral imperative to save the lives we can save.”