Senators Introduce 20-Week Abortion Ban in the Senate

WASHINGTON – U.S. senators Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, Joni Ernst, and James Lankford introduced a controversial piece of legislation to the Senate this week.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable legislation by a vote of 237-189. The four senators introduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to the Senate. The legislation would provide common-sense protections for unborn children at 20 weeks after fertilization, a point where significant scientific evidence suggests an abortion inflicts pain on the unborn child.

The senators claim the legislation is based on science and has overwhelming public support. The scientific evidence claims an unborn child can feel pain. Anesthesia is administered directly to the unborn child in second-trimester fetal surgery. The unborn child shows physical, chemical, brain, and stress responses.
The United States is one of seven countries that allows on-demand abortions past 20 weeks. The other six are North Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands. Senator Sasse says the United States should not be on that list.
“Washington has a debate between empty euphemisms like ‘choice’ and basic science – none of the usual euphemisms change the fact that a 20-week old baby can see, swallow, and flex her arms and legs,” said Sasse. “Americans rightly condemn human rights abuses around the world because we judge societies on how they take care of their most vulnerable members. There’s no good reason for the United States to be on a list of human rights abusers like China and North Korea in allowing these kinds of abortions.
Senator Graham claims allowing abortions after 20 weeks does not make America a better country.
“There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea. The United States should not be in that club,” said Graham. “I don’t believe abortion, five months into pregnancy, makes us a better nation. America is at her best when she’s standing up for the least among us and the sooner we pass this legislation into law, the better. We are on the right side of history.”
Senator Ernst says passing the legislation into law could protect up to 10,000 lives a year.
“At five month gestational age, babies have ten fingers and ten toes, they can yawn, stretch, make faces, and they can feel pain,” said Ernst. “It’s unconscionable that the United States is currently one of only seven countries in the world that allows abortions after five months. We are currently in the same company of China and North Korea. I’m fighting for this legislation in honor of my friend and fellow Iowan, Micah Pickering an incredible five-year-old who was born prematurely, at five months gestation. This legislation could protect up to 10,000 lives like Micah’s every year by preventing abortions after about five months of development, and it is absolutely critical that the Senate take up this legislation to protect our most vulnerable.”
Lankford says he’s happy the House passed the bill, and now it is the Senate’s turn.
“The United States is one of only seven countries, including North Korea, that allow abortion at five months of pregnancy,” said Lankford. “I applaud the House for passing this bill. It is no time for the Senate to act on this. So many children are alive, healthy, and growing today who were born prematurely at give months pregnancy. We should not allow elective abortions past five months of pregnancy, especially when science shows that unborn babies feel pain at this stage.”
The legislation has been cosponsored by forty-five senators. Below is a summary of provisions in regards toward the proposed legislation.
Summary of Provisions:
  • The legislation would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the probably post-fertilization age of the unborn child.
  • If the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is determined to be 20 weeks or greater, and abortion shall not be performed, unless:
    • It is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman;
    • The pregnancy is a result of rape and the woman has received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours prior to the abortion; or if she chooses to do so, has made a report to law enforcement;
    • Or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest against a minor and the abuse is reported to either social services or law enforcement.

In the Case of the Exceptions:

  • The abortion may only proceed in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive unless that would pose a greater risk of death or serious bodily injury to the pregnant woman
  • The abortion provider must receive informed consent from the pregnant woman, certifying that she has been provided the child’s gestational age, a description of the law, and her rights under the law.
  • A woman on whom an abortion was performed in violation of this Act may bring a civil action against the abortion provider in court to recover damages.
  • Abortion doctors are required to submit annual data to the National Center for Health and Statistics providing statistical information about abortions carried out after 20 weeks post-fertilization age.
  • The criminal punishment for a violation of this Act is imprisonment of up to five years, fines, or both.
  • The Act makes clear that a woman who receives an illegal abortion in violation of this act may not be prosecuted.
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