In the early evening of June 18, the House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Action, 228-196. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ8), who has sponsored other pro-life bills such as the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012 and the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As the name suggests, the latter bill applied to unborn babies in the District of Columbia. When Rep. Franks re-introduced this bill, however, he expanded it to include the whole nation, in light of the atrocities of Kermit Gosnell being exposed with his trial and conviction.
As Kristi Burton Brown has analyzed for Live Action News already, this bill based on fetal pain is far from perfect. It is, however, a step in a right direction. Just as some good came out of exposing Kermit Gosnell, in that our society may finally come to realize the horrors of late-term abortion, perhaps some good can come out of this imperfect bill. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate and surely will be vetoed by President Obama; Trent Franks knows this. But as he pointed out in a status update on Facebook the day of the vote:
But back in the mid ’90’s, a Republican-controlled Congress passed, on a couple of occasions, a Partial Birth Abortion ban. Those first efforts were vetoed by then-President Bill Clinton. But after the 2000 election, a pro-life President came into office, and the legislative precedent had already been set.
It may be a slower process than many would like, but these steps are vital, and I’m convinced the tide of the American conscience will only continue to shift toward life and away from dismembering unborn children in the womb.
We can hope that perhaps one day the bill, when it is to pass, can include all children, not just those who were conceived out of consensual sex or who pose no apparent threats to their mothers. The bill was quietly amended in its last few days to include exceptions. Now, I do not think this makes Rep. Franks any less pro-life because his bill as it was voted on contains exceptions. Rather, it is a bill that seeks to work with the political system, unfortunate and frustrating as that may be.
Kristi’s article provides thoughtful analysis on the rape exceptions. And an article from LifeSiteNews further mentions how Rep. Trent Franks feels about a rape exception, which is not so controversial as some would like to make it to be:
During discussions about his bill to ban late-term abortions on Wednesday, Franks explained that his bill did not require a rape exception, telling New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”
He quickly clarified, explaining, “The incidences where pregnancy results from rape that results in abortion at the six month or after are very rare.” His bill does not affect early abortions.
Data from the Guttmacher Institute, which was long officially tied to Planned Parenthood, verifies his comments, reporting that less than 1.5 percent of all abortions are due to rape and incest combined. The number of abortions after six months due to rape would be even considerably less, if not non-existent.
For us pro-lifers who are pro-life without exception, myself included, such exceptions as for rape may seem frustrating. They seem even more unnecessary when so few pregnancies result from rape to begin with. However, the political system our country is indeed a frustrating one, and certainly maddening sometimes. Like it or not, it is one pro-life politicians have to work with. The fact of the matter is that there are people in this country, and currently in power, who are not pro-life.
It would be unfair to hold those who may be saved by this bill hostage because such a bill won’t save every unborn baby. Of course all unborn babies are deserving of life, no matter how many weeks it’s been since they were conceived, or the manner in which they are conceived, or if they have fetal abnormalities or not. By supporting this bill, you’re not conceding and you’re not giving up your beliefs; you’re just compromising with others who may not agree or who won’t agree to a bill without exceptions. Even if you don’t agree, if you say it’s all or nothing when it comes to pro-life laws, there’s no reason to be unhappy about at least some unborn babies being saved.
You can be pro-life without exception. You should be, in fact. Many of our contributors are and have made thoughtful and provoking arguments in favor of this position which initially many may find extreme. And you can be a politician too without exception. I plan on being one. But I know that the system I will be a part of is not going to be that way, and I’ll have to make compromises. If I had been able to vote on passing this Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, I absolutely would have, even as it stands with exceptions.
Our country has a long way to go when it comes to freeing our society from the ills of abortion. We are making gains, certainly, but unfortunately all of us are not ready to accept a complete ban on abortion. Some of us need to come to the light through steps. And until we are ready, this Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection brings us in the right direction, as one of these steps.