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District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, the gruesome late-term abortions of unborn children who can feel pain is the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today. H.R. 3803, the bipartisan District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, has more than 220 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. It protects unborn children who have reached 20 weeks' development, their being subjected to inhumane torturous late-term abortions on the basis that the unborn child feels pain by at least this stage of development, if not much earlier. Just 2 days ago, a Federal court upheld Arizona's version of this bill.

Mr. Speaker, throughout America's history, the hearts of the American people have always been moved with compassion when they discover a theretofore hidden class of victims once the humanity of the victim and the inhumanity of what was being done to them finally became clear in their minds. Mr. Speaker, America is on the cusp of another such realization.

Medical science regarding the development of unborn babies and their capacities at various stages of growth has advanced dramatically, and incontrovertibly it demonstrates that unborn children clearly do experience pain. The single greatest hurdle to legislation like H.R. 3803 has always been that deponents deny unborn babies feel pain at all, as if somehow the ability to feel pain magically develops instantaneously as a child passes through the birth canal. This level of deliberate ignorance might have found excuse in earlier eras of human history, but the evidence today is extensive and irrefutable. Unborn children have the capacity to experience pain by at least 20 weeks and very likely substantially earlier.

We have entered into the committee hearing record a 29-page summary of the dozens of studies worldwide confirming that unborn children feel pain by at least 20 weeks post-fertilization. This information is available at And I would sincerely recommend that all committee members, their staff, and the members of the press review this site to get the most current evidence on unborn pain rather than to have their understanding cemented in some earlier time when scientists still believed in spontaneous generation and that the Earth was flat.

Mr. Speaker, late-term abortions are gruesome and painful. Babies are dismembered, or they're chemically burned alive by a hypertonic salt solution. Some late-term abortionists stab the small pain-capable baby through the chest to inject drugs that will kill the child prior to being removed.

Most Americans think that late-term abortions are rare, but in fact there are approximately 120,000 late-term abortions annually, or more than 325 late-term abortions every day in America.

Here in the District of Columbia, the designated seat of freedom in America, abortion is completely legal for any reason up until the moment of birth. Under the Constitution, the Congress and the President are the ones clearly responsible for this unthinkable abortion-until-birth policy.

This landmark vote we are about to take would be the first time in history that the United States House of Representatives has ever voted on this question of whether to endorse legal abortion for any reason up until birth, and, ladies and gentlemen, we will be held accountable.

Mr. Speaker, under the Humane Slaughter Act, farm animals in America have protection from completely unnecessary cruelty, yet unborn children in America have no such protection from the same kind of agonizing pain. In fact, there is no legal standard to provide that late-term unborn babies--clearly known to be capable of feeling pain--are afforded even the most basic human decency of receiving anesthesia before they are torturously killed.

Mr. Speaker, if we cannot find the will or the courage to protect human babies from being tortured, then what claim on human compassion remains to us?

What we are doing to babies is real, Mr. Speaker. It is barbaric in the purest sense of the word. It is the greatest human rights violation occurring on U.S. soil, and it has already victimized potentially millions of pain-capable babies since the Supreme Court gave us all abortion on demand that tragic day in 1973.

Mr. Speaker, I would plead with my colleagues to vote for this bill to at least begin to end this heartbreak of painful late-term abortion in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, there was a time in this country and even across the world when protecting little babies from torture was a noble thing.

Mr. Speaker, I've heard my colleagues today call this effort to protect little babies from tortuous pain extremist ideology. And I would just suggest to you, sir, if they are right, then, I, for one, will envy no one that they might call mainstream, because, Mr. Speaker, this bill simply says that we intend, in the seat of freedom in America, where Congress has the ultimate and clear responsibility constitutionally to legislate, that we're going to protect unborn children that have reached the age where they can feel pain.

Mr. Speaker, today, in Washington, D.C., a child can be aborted in labor, and that is not who America is.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that if we, in this body, cannot find the courage and the will to protect these little babies from this kind of torture, then I'm not sure that we will ever find the will or the courage to protect any kind of liberty for anyone in this place.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that there is the will and the courage to do that in this body. I would predict that this body will pass overwhelmingly, by a majority vote, even though we won't maybe meet the suspension rules, but we will pass by an overwhelming number of votes this bill today. I believe it'll be 240, 250 votes, and it will at least demonstrate to the world that there's still a conscience in this place, that we still stand for the commitment to protect little babies that have no other people to protect them.

This is our job here, to protect the rights of the innocent, and by the grace of God we're going to do that.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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