Defeat Barack Obama and Protect Pain-Capable Unborn Children in the States and the District of Columbia
WASHINGTON – As right-to-life activists gathered across the country to mourn the loss of more than 54 million unborn children since the U.S. Supreme Court’s January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates, announced its political and legislative priorities for 2012.
“It should not be a surprise to anyone that the top priority for National Right to Life’s Political Action Committee this year is defeating Barack Obama and electing a pro-life president,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Additionally, building upon recent success in five states, National Right to Life will urge Congress to adopt a ban on aborting pain-capable unborn children in the Federal District, and will push for enactment of this ban in several more states.”
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act developed by National Right to Life has served as a model for laws enacted so far in Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Already in 2012, similar bills have been introduced in legislatures in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Florida, with additional states expected to join the list.
In states that have passed the law, the legislatures declared that there is substantial scientific evidence that the unborn child is capable of experiencing great pain during abortion procedures by 20 weeks after fertilization, and on the basis of those findings, applied general bans on abortion from that point on (i.e., from about the beginning of the sixth month, in layman’s terminology), except for rare cases in which acute physical disorders endanger the mother. No serious legal challenge has yet been mounted to any of these five laws.
Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.) will today introduce the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would ban abortion of pain-capable unborn children within the Federal District–the district created by the U.S. Constitution for the specific purpose of serving as the seat of the national government.
“Today, in our nation’s capital, an unborn child can be killed at any point prior to birth, for any reason,” said NRLC Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “Under the U.S. Constitution, the sole and exclusive legislative authority to protect unborn children within the Federal District resides with the Congress. If abortion remains unrestricted in the nation’s capital, during the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth months, it will be because certain members of Congress, or the President, have obstructed this bill. If they do that, then they alone, under the Constitution, are fully accountable for that policy.”
At least two abortion providers currently are advertising that they provide abortions in the District past the point that the bill would establish protection – one to 24 weeks after fertilization, and the other during the third trimester, at least to seven and one-half months, and perhaps later.
“Enactment of the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will be a top legislative priority for National Right to Life during 2012,” said Johnson. “The capital city of the United States should not also be the capital for causing torment to unborn babies in the sixth month and later.”
“Pro-abortionists often say that limiting abortion would ‘take us backwards,’ but really, they are the ones who insist that society must remain locked in the Dark Ages of ignorance regarding the capacities of unborn children,” noted Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., National Right to Life director of state legislation. “Our knowledge about the capacities of the unborn child has increased by orders of magnitude since Roe v. Wade, thanks in part of 4-D ultrasound and other sophisticated imaging techniques. Our legislation also reflects what medical science has learned about the necessity for controlling the baby’s pain during open-womb fetal surgery, and when performing painful procedures on very premature newborn infants.”