(An unborn baby at 20 weeks/Photo Credit: WebMD)
In yet another round of congressional Ping-Pong Tuesday, Senate Democrats successfully filibustered a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks, blocking the bill in a 54-42 vote that failed to garner the 60-vote majority it needed to advance.
Already passed by the House earlier this year, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy, based on the baby’s potential viability and developed capacity to feel pain. The bill also provided exceptions for cases of rape, incest and life of the mother, but mandated that these abortions could only be performed in the manner most likely to save the baby’s life.
Even with strong support from many pro-life lawmakers, the bill never had much hope of becoming a law. President Obama had already vowed to veto the legislation, with the majority of congressional Democrats pledging to either stall the bill in Congress or sustain the inevitable veto.
But the bill’s failure to be brought to a vote Tuesday made a statement that went far beyond a woman's "right to choose." By opposing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, here are a few positions that pro-abortion lawmakers were forced to publicly declare, based on excerpts from the bill they opposed.
1. That a potentially viable unborn child capable of feeling pain can be legally torn apart in the womb.
Congress finds and declares the following:
(1) Pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate by no later than 20 weeks after fertilization.
2. That, in the event the baby is born alive after a botched abortion, no one capable of caring for that child needs to be available to help.
(D) If, in reasonable medical judgment, the pain-capable unborn child has the potential to survive outside the womb, the physician who performs or attempts an abortion under an exception provided by subparagraph (B) shall ensure a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation is present and prepared to provide care to the child consistent with the requirements of subparagraph (E).
3. That a baby born alive after a botched abortion doesn’t deserve the same care that a “wanted” child would receive.
(i) Any health care practitioner present at the time shall humanely exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to a child born alive at the same gestational age in the course of a natural birth.
4. That a doctor shouldn’t be required to admit the born-alive baby to a hospital.
(ii) Following the care required to be rendered under clause (i), the child born alive shall be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.
5. That a woman shouldn’t be provided with information about her pain-capable baby prior to obtaining an abortion.
(ii) The Informed Consent Authorization form shall be presented in person by the physician and shall consist of—
“(I) a statement by the physician indicating the probable post-fertilization age of the pain-capable unborn child;
“(II) a statement that Federal law allows abortion after 20 weeks fetal age only if the mother’s life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, when the pregnancy was the result of rape, or an act of incest against a minor;
“(III) a statement that the abortion must be performed by the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive unless this would cause significant risk to the mother;
“(IV) a statement that in any case in which an abortion procedure results in a child born alive, Federal law requires that child to be given every form of medical assistance that is provided to children spontaneously born prematurely, including transportation and admittance to a hospital;
“(V) a statement that these requirements are binding upon the physician and all other medical personnel who are subject to criminal and civil penalties and that a woman on whom an abortion has been performed may take civil action if these requirements are not followed; and
“(VI) affirmation that each signer has filled out the informed consent form to the best of their knowledge and understands the information contained in the form.
6. And that, despite the potential for both the mother and the baby to survive the procedure with the right care, the only acceptable outcome of a late-term abortion is a dead baby.
Notwithstanding the definitions of ‘abortion’ and ‘attempt an abortion’ in this section, a physician terminating or attempting to terminate a pregnancy under an exception provided by subparagraph (B) may do so only in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.