WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Kennedy (R-LA) and 42 other Republican senators reintroduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation to provide common-sense protections for unborn children at 20 weeks after fertilization, a point at which there is significant scientific evidence that abortion inflicts tremendous pain on babies in the womb.
“As a doctor, I have to look at the scientific evidence we have when it comes to the beginning of life. At 20 weeks, studies show babies can feel pain,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Protecting unborn babies who can feel pain is the right thing to do. Protecting their right to life is the right thing to do. I urge my colleagues to vote for this important legislation.”
“The United States is one of only seven countries, including China and North Korea, that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks,” said Senator Kennedy. “It has been scientifically proven that babies at this age can not only suck their thumbs, make faces, and yawn, but they can also feel pain. As leaders of this great nation, we have an obligation to create laws that protect God-given life no matter how young. This legislation is a step in the right direction and will protect those precious little lives.”
The legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MI), James Risch (R-ID), James Lankford (R-OK), Rob Portman (R-OH), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI), David Perdue (R-GA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Roger Wicker (R-MI), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and John Thune (R-SD).
The United States is one of only seven countries that allows on-demand abortions past 20 weeks. The other six are: North Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands. Pain-Capable legislation has already passed in South Carolina and other states. They include Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Arizona.
Advances in modern medicine help babies born at 20, 21 and 22 weeks post-fertilization survive outside the womb. The pain these babies feel outside the womb gives evidence to the pain their unborn counterparts feel while in utero.
If the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is determined to be 20 weeks or greater, an abortion shall not be performed, unless:
- It is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman;
- The pregnancy is a result of rape and the woman has received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours prior to the abortion; or if she chooses to do so, has made a report to law enforcement; or
- The pregnancy is a result of rape or incest against a minor and the abuse is reported to either social services or law enforcement.
In the case of the exceptions:
- the abortion may only proceed in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive unless that would pose a greater risk of death or serious bodily injury to the pregnant woman; and
- the abortion provider must receive informed consent from the pregnant woman, certifying that she has been provided the child’s gestational age, a description of the law, and her rights under the law.
A woman on whom an abortion was performed in violation of this Act may bring a civil action against the abortion provider in court to recover damages.
Abortion doctors are required to submit annual data to the National Center for Health and Statistics providing statistical information about abortions carried out after 20 weeks post-fertilization age.
The criminal punishment for a violation of this Act is imprisonment of up to five years, fines, or both.
The Act makes clear that a woman who receives an illegal abortion in violation of this act may not be prosecuted.