Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann   (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee called on Congress to pass a measure that would stop “the barbaric practice of late-term abortion.”

He urged Congress to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was the focus of a hearing April 9 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“This bill draws the public’s attention to the shameful reality that the United States is one of only seven nations worldwide that allows the barbaric practice of late-term abortion, when a child likely feels pain and might even live outside the womb with appropriate medical assistance,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, who is chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Such abortion procedures after the middle point of pregnancy also pose serious physical dangers to women,” he said in a statement. “With the vast majority of Americans strongly supporting a ban on late-term abortions, it is time for Congress to pass this bill.”


He added, “I also pray that consideration of this bill moves our country closer to recognizing all unborn babies as legal persons worthy of our love and respect.”

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would generally extend legal protection to unborn babies beginning at 22 weeks of pregnancy. According to National Right to Life and congressional findings, by that point — and even earlier — an unborn child has the capacity “to experience great pain during an abortion.”