District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

By:  Chris Smith
Date: July 31, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I thank my friend for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, pain--we all dread it, avoid it, even fear it, and go to extraordinary lengths to mitigate its severity and duration. By now, many Americans know that abortion methods are violent and include dismemberment of a child's fragile body, chemical poisoning, and hypodermic needles to the baby's heart. There is nothing humane, benign, or compassionate about abortion. It is violence against children, and it hurts women.

But the relatively new scientific understanding that unborn children are forced to endure excruciating pain in the performance of later-term abortions--and perhaps even earlier--should shock us. Children not only die from abortion; they suffer. This is a wake-up call to all Americans: unborn children feel pain. This highly disturbing fact should further inspire us all to seek to protect these weak and vulnerable children.

Tragically, for the defenseless child in the womb, the D.C. Council voted in 2004 to eviscerate every legal protection afforded unborn children, making abortion on demand legal in D.C. right up until the moment of birth.

The D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, authored by my distinguished colleague, Trent Franks, seeks to safeguard at least some of these kids--from 20 weeks onward--from both pain and death.

Of note, today's vote comes on the heels of yesterday's Federal district court decision upholding a similar law in Arizona.

In that decision, the judge said, ``by 20 weeks, sensory receptors develop all over the child's body'' and ``when provided by painful stimuli, such as a needle, the child reacts, as measured by increases in the child's stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure.''

Mr. Speaker, the poster to my left depicts a D&E abortion, the most commonly procured method of abortion in later term, a dismemberment abortion. It involves using a long steel tool to grasp and tear off, by brute force, the arms and the legs of the developing child, after which the skull is crushed.

Testifying at the full committee hearing in May, Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist who has performed many of these D&E abortions said: ``Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp, set the jaws and pull hard.''

Then he talks about how arms and legs and intestines are all pulled out. Then he said, ``Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you. Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester abortion.''

This legislation seeks to protect these kids from this horrible cruelty.


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