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Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on H.R. 1797, currently under consideration.


Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) be permitted to control the balance of my time.


Mr. GOODLATTE. It is the prerogative of the committee to choose the appropriate people to manage time. I notice that the ranking member is not managing on the Democratic side. We choose to ask someone who is not a member of the committee, and that's appropriate under the rules of the House.


Mr. GOODLATTE. I want to thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee and the other pro-life women who are speaking out in this debate today.

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. Even The New York Times has reported on the latest research on unborn pain, focusing in particular on the research of Dr. Sunny Anand, an Oxford-trained neonatal pediatrician who has held appointments at Harvard Medical School and other distinguished institutions. As Dr. Anand has testified:

If the fetus is beyond 20 weeks of gestation, I would assume that there will be pain caused to the fetus, and I believe it will be severe and excruciating pain.

Congress has the power to acknowledge these developments by prohibiting abortions after the point at which scientific evidence shows the unborn can feel pain with limited exceptions. H.R. 1797 does just that. It also includes provisions to protect the life of the mother and an additional exception for cases of rape and incest.

The terrifying facts uncovered during the course of the trial of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell and successive reports of similar atrocities committed across the country remind us how an atmosphere of insensitivity can lead to horrific brutality.

The grand jury report in the Gosnell case itself contains references to a neonatal expert who reported that the cutting of the spinal cords of babies intended to be late-term aborted would cause them ``a tremendous amount of pain.''

The polling company recently found that 64 percent of Americans would support a law such as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act--only 30 percent would oppose it--and supporters include 47 percent of those who identified themselves as pro-choice in the poll as well as 63 percent of women.

In the 2007 case of Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court made clear that: ``The government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman,'' and that Congress may show such respect for the unborn through specific regulation because it implicates additional ethical and moral concerns that justify a special prohibition.

As The New York Times story concluded, throughout history, ``a presumed insensitivity to pain has been used to exclude some of humanity's privileges and protections. Over time, the charmed circle of those considered alive to pain, and therefore fully human, has widened to include members of other religions and races, the poor, the criminal, the mentally ill, and--thanks to the work of Sunny Anand and others--the very young.''

The 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 they can feel pain at least by 20 weeks.

It is time to welcome our children who can feel pain into the human family. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.


Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Speaker, I would like to submit the following:


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