The NY Times (of course) misreads the fallout from a procedural vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

By Dave Andrusko

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

If we can believe the sarcastic lead of Sunday’s New York Times editorial, pro-abortionists should be “grateful” that pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) held a cloture vote today to proceed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

That the Times (in this case correctly) anticipated that McConnell could not get the 60 votes needed to proceed did not diminish the editorial board’s gleeful anticipation that the vote would “give liberals another good reason to flock to the polls in November.”

The gist of the argument is that pro-abortionists will rise up, seeing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act as “part of a long-term legislative effort by the anti-abortion movement to gut Roe v. Wade and severely curtail abortion access nationwide.”

So what do we say in response? Pshaw. They will vote whether or not the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was ever brought up in the Senate.

But so, too, will pro-lifers who not only see S. 2311 as the very epitome of commonsense limitations of abortion but as a sign of the commitment of pro-life President Donald Trump and the pro-life leadership of the Senate and House.

The editorial packs into one paragraph the same arguments against S. 2311 which were trotted out against an identical bill approved by the House of Representatives on October 3, 2017. In addition to denying that the unborn child at 20 weeks can experience pain, the Times tells us

Only about 1 percent of women seeking abortions do so after 21 weeks, and they often make that decision because a fetal abnormality has been found or because their own health is in danger. Twenty-week bans particularly curb access for poor women, who often struggle to find the money and time for the procedure.

In fact there is an abundance of medical evidence that unborn children do have the capacity to experience pain at 20 weeks fetal age.(See, for example,;; and

The 1% canard reminds you of Planned Parenthood’s pretense that abortion makes up only “3%” of its “services.” Late abortions are not “rare.” At least 275 facilities offer abortions past 20 weeks fetal age.

Moreover, as NRLC President Carol Tobias has remarked, “While statistically reporting on late abortions is notoriously spotty, by very conservative estimates there are at least 11,000-13,000 abortions performed annually after this point, probably many more.”

Emphasis on the “many more.” Abortionists have zero incentive to be accurate in their reporting of ”late” abortions.

Women have late abortions for many reasons, most typically because of ambivalence and/or denial that they are pregnant. And there is no evidence that these abortions are “often” because of fetal abnormality or threat to the woman’s health. These are just talking points resurrected from the unsuccessful fight to keep partial-birth abortions legal.

To return to the Times’ basic point–even a procedural vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will be an electoral bonanza. Really? As NRLC pointed out last week in its letter to the Senate.

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.

The procedural vote today merely affirmed what we already knew. We need more pro-life U.S. Senators to overcome the 60 vote hurtle.

Some of those senators who did not vote to go forward may soon find out that the public is with us. They are not in step with those who defend abortionists using a method in which most often the unborn child’s arms and legs are twisted off by brute manual force, using a long stainless steel clamping tool, until the child bleeds to death.