Last week I traveled to Washington D.C. to join a group of pro-life leaders for protest at the Longworth Congressional Office Building, calling on Congress to hold a vote on HR 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (PDF), commonly known as the “20 Week Abortion Ban.”
The vote on this bill was originally scheduled for January 22, the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings that stripped unborn children of their legal right to life. But at the last minute several members of Congress withdrew their support, concerned about the bill’s reporting requirement for exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
Of course, every child has a right to life, regardless of the circumstances of conception. But the abortion lobby has been very effective at exploiting the issue of rape to justify abortion and demonize pro-lifers. In the current political climate, no bill without such exceptions has any chance of being passed.
It was extremely disheartening to all of us who were gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. that day when the vote was postponed, only hours before the annual March for Life was set to begin. That’s why I jumped at the chance to urge Congress to vote on this bill.
On Thursday, May 6, Pro-life leaders for 14 different groups, including the Pro-Life Action League, gathered outside Longworth for a press conference. Several held life-like models of a 20-week-old fetus to highlight the advanced development of the children whose lives would be protected by the Pain Capable bill. Others held pictures of babies aborted at 20 weeks and later in pregnancy&dmdash;a stark contrast.
In my comments to the press, I emphasized that late-term abortion is not just opposed but reviled by the vast majority of Americans. I also pointed out the political value of holding a vote that would force Congressmen to go on record supporting this barbaric practice in advance of the 2016 federal elections.
After the press conference, our group entered the Longworth building and prayed outside the constituent office of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). Our group included pro-life leaders form many different states, so we each in turn offered additional comments to the press on behalf of the pro-life voters of our home states.
Speaking for pro-life Illinoisans, I encouraged Speaker Boehner to be the strong pro-life leader we believe him to be and hold a vote on this important bill.
The day after our protest on Capitol Hill, it was announced that the House of Representatives will hold a vote on the Pain Capable bill the next week—most likely on Wednesday, May 13, the anniversary of the conviction of Kermit Gosnell for murdering babies who survived botched abortions at his “House of Horrors” abortuary in Philadelphia.
I’m gratified that Congress will soon be voting on—and passing—this bill, and important next step in our effort to restore legal protection to the life of every unborn child from the moment of conception.