WASHINGTON – A majority of the U.S. Senate today voted to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), but on a near party-line vote, a minority blocked consideration of the bill.
Fifty-four (54) senators (51 Republicans and three Democrats) voted to take the bill up for debate, but 60 votes were required. The motion was opposed by 42 senators (two Republicans and 40 Democrats), with four senators absent (one Republican and three Democrats).
The bill would extend federal protections to unborn children who have reached 20 weeks fetal age (22 weeks of pregnancy), with certain exceptions, and to babies who are born alive during late abortions. The bill was developed from model legislation offered by National Right to Life in 2010,enacted thus far in 12 states. The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 13, 242-184.
The Senate companion bill, S. 1553, is sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and co-sponsored by 45 other Republican senators, including fellow presidential contenders Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). It was opposed by presidential candidate Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).
To view National Right to Life’s most recent letter to the Senate in support of the bill, click here.
National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said, “Today’s majority vote is not a defeat, but a stepping stone towards victory. One-fourth of premature infants now survive when born at this stage – and there is strong evidence that they experience great pain, as they are torn limb from limb in late abortions.” A paper by Tobias challenging “media myths” about the bill is available here.
Some of the extensive evidence that unborn children have the capacity to experience pain, at least by 20 weeks fetal age, is available on the National Right to Life website at www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetalpain and also here: www.doctorsonfetalpain.com.