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Constitution Subcommittee Approves Bill to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

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Location: Washington, DC

The Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice today approved legislation in a vote of 6-4 that would ban abortions in the United States after 20 weeks, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797). Since the Supreme Court's controversial decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, medical knowledge regarding the development of unborn babies and their capacities at various stages of growth has advanced dramatically. Extensive research conducted by Dr. Sunny Anand, an Oxford-trained neonatal pediatrician who has held appointments at Harvard Medical School and other distinguished institutions, shows that unborn children begin to feel pain by 20 weeks gestation, and possibly earlier.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), chief sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, praised today's Subcommittee vote.

Chairman Goodlatte: "The taking of innocent life is a practice all too common in this nation. The recent Gosnell trial reminds us that when newborn babies are cut with scissors, they whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. And unborn babies when harmed also whimper and cry, and flinch from pain. Delivered or not, babies are babies, and it has been shown that they can feel pain at least by 20 weeks. It is time to welcome young children who can feel pain into the human family. And this bill, at last, will do just that."

Subcommittee Chairman Franks: "I understand the unfortunate reality that today's markup will be surrounded by some degree of controversy. But we, as a nation, find ourselves at a point at which we don't offer unborn children even the most basic protections -- even protections we extend to animals and property. The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide. I pray we use this as a "teachable moment,' in the words of President Obama, and can agree that, at the very least, we are better than dismembering babies who can feel every excruciating moment. I look forward to today's markup and to an eventual vote on this necessary, common-sense measure."

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act originally applied only to the District of Columbia, where there are no restrictions on abortions until birth, but the manager's amendment adopted today expands the bill to the entire U.S.


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