By Dave Andrusko
The day has gotten away from me, so I will not have the necessary time to do an in-depth follow up to yesterday’s post about the first hearing on a nationwide Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797). But, fortunately, pro-life Congressman Chris Smith wrote an impressive and impassioned op-ed for the Washington Post which we have reproduced (see “Gosnell case shows abortion law needed to protect unborn children.”)
Instead, for today, let me offering three brief impressions, with a promise to revisit Thursday’s hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice next week.
#1. Talk about being hoisted on your own petard. As John McCormack of the Weekly Standards pointed out today
“Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, the sponsor of the bill and the subcommittee chairman, quoted heavily from Obama’s speech in response to the Newtown massacre. ‘This is our first task: caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how we as a society will be judged,’ Franks said, quoting Obama. ‘Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage. That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?’”
#2. POLITICO’s account of the hearing characterized yesterday’s hearing as filled with “the same familiar arguments in the fight over abortion.” It is true that in some sense you always return to the basics: you either believe that repeating the “it’s a woman’s decision” mantra obliterates every other concern or you don’t. But H.R. 1797 is exploring territory only a tiny percentage of the population has ever considered: what if—WHAT IF—the unborn child at no later than 20 weeks is capable of experiencing pain?
Anthony Levatino, MD, who once performed 2nd trimester “D&E” abortions before he became pro-life , explained in excruciating detail what takes place. You can watch Dr. Levatino’s testimony at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8szDctI9lXM&feature=youtu.be?
Prof. Maureen L. Condic then explained how and why babies of 20 weeks (if not earlier) do experience pain. Her conclusion:
“In light of the scientific facts, the observations of medical professionals, our own experience of pain, and our indirect experience of others’ pain, we must conclude that there is indeed a “compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.” And this unambiguously requires a 20 week fetus to be protected from pain, as proposed under H.R. 1797.”
Even after listening to this mesmerizing testimony can anyone even pretend to grasp what agony it would be to have arms and legs torn off?
#3. I was absolutely transfixed by the quiet comments of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.) In just six minutes he explained that their first child was a preemie. It was a “very difficult time in our lives” because they knew “our baby was in big trouble.”
And then he said this: Their neonatologist, Dr. Tsing, “said it is so important that the baby hear your voice. Please talk to your baby, and caress her. Talk to her. Her eyes don’t work real well; she won’t recognize you. But she will know your voice, because she’s heard you in utero.”
Rep. Gohmert said “My wife said go do anything you can for our baby. You can sit for two hours, so I sat.”
Dr. Tsing came by and asked, “Did you see the monitors?” The little girl’s vitals—breathing and heartbeat– were still off but they had stabilized. “She’s drawing strength,” Dr. Tsing told Gohmert, “she’s drawing life from you.”
What could I possibly add to that? See you next week.
(You can watch Rep. Gohmert as he spoke at www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0l419YViV0)
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