Senate Majority votes on nationwide protections for pain-capable unborn children; falling short of 60 votes


WASHINGTON – A majority of the U.S. Senate today voted to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 2311), but on a near party-line vote, a minority blocked consideration of the bill. Fifty-one senators (forty-eight Republicans and three Democrats) voted to take the bill up for debate, but 60 votes were required. This bill is based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life in 2010, and is in effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“Americans should be outraged that pro-abortion Senate Democrats refuse to protect unborn babies who can feel pain. An overwhelming majority of Americans support this bill, including 56% of Democrats and 56% of those who identify as ‘pro-choice’,”
 said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

Tobias added, “We applaud Senate Majority Leader McConnell and chief sponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham for their steadfast commitment to passing these protections for pain-capable unborn children. We will keep coming back to the Senate, again and again, until it passes this bill.”

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), along with 46 cosponsors, and has been one of the right-to-life movement’s top legislative priorities. The operative language is identical to H.R. 36, approved by the House of Representatives on October 3, 2017. This legislation extends general protection to unborn children who are at least 20 weeks beyond fertilization (which is equivalent to 22 weeks of pregnancy—about the start of the sixth month).

“This bill would save thousands of unborn babies annually from terribly painful deaths,”
said Jennifer Popik, J.D., Legislative Director of National Right to Life. “It is now clear that the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats believe that painfully dismembering babies, in the sixth month and later, is just fine – now let them try to explain that to their constituents.”

The text of the bill, as passed today, is available here: www.nrlc.org/uploads/fetalpain/FranksSubstituteAmendmentHR36.pdf.

Some of the extensive scientific evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks, is available online:

www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetalpain 
www.doctorsonfetalpain.com 
www.nrlc.org/uploads/fetalpain/AnandPainReport.pdf

Late abortions are not “rare.” At least 275 facilities offer abortions past 20 weeks fetal age.

In a nationwide poll of 2,729 respondents, a December 2017/January 2018 Marist Poll found that 63% of Americans support such legislation, while just 33% oppose it. Fifty-six percent of Democrats, as well as 56% of those who identify as “pro-choice” support such legislation.

Founded in 1968, National Right to Life, the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.