I’ll be emailing my Congressional representative this afternoon. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1) and her colleagues will vote tomorrow on HR 1797, the awkwardly-named Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. I call it the Gosnell Prevention Act. Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH2) could use some attention as well.
Basically, the bill was written to stop abortions on preborn children of more than 20 weeks’ gestation. The 20-week limit is based on what the bill’s drafters conclude from medical evidence is the point at which the preborn child can feel pain.
Not all pro-lifers support this bill. Abby Johnson, for one, objects to it. See her Twitter feed, @AbbyJohnson, for her thoughts. I respect her, and I disagree with her. I am on board with the bill, along with 184 co-sponsors in Congress, Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List.
I was around when partial-birth bans were first up for discussion. I remember the objections of some pro-life groups, on the grounds that making one kind of abortion illegal somehow made other types of abortion OK. I thought that interpretation was a terrible mistake. Eventually, some of the same folks who objected to early partial-birth legislation changed their minds and were instrumental in passage of a partial-birth-abortion ban here in New Hampshire.
I see the same kind of thing happening now with pain-capable legislation. No, such bills do not stop all abortions. No, such bills don’t hasten the day that Roe will go the way of Plessy v. Ferguson. Pain is like viability, the measurement of which is subjective and imprecise. Nevertheless, I want this bill passed. At the very least, I want to see a vote. Let’s see who goes on record as defending late-term abortions.
You can bet that Shea-Porter and Kuster aren’t concerned about intramural disputes among pro-lifers on this one. The head of their caucus in Congress, Rep. Pelosi, has made it clear that defeating this bill is a priority for Democrats in Congress. Ask them why.
More information on the bill is available from the National Right to Life Committee, which is ordinarily not one of my go-to resources. Their link here, though, is useful regarding this bill.