Support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36)
There is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child can experience pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization. Therefore, this bill, which was introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) on January 3, asserts a compelling governmental interest in protecting unborn children at this stage. With limited exceptions, H.R. 36 makes it unlawful to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater.
Moreover, consensus exists among most Americans about protecting five-month old unborn children and their mothers from the dangers of late-term abortion. As Cardinal Dolan said in his September 29 letter to the House, "[a]lthough we want, and will continue to work for, protections in law for human life from the beginning of its existence, for several reasons we think the proposed ban on abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization is a place to begin uniting Americans who see themselves as 'pro-life' and as 'pro-choice'." The Cardinal also pointed out that late-term abortion, in addition to being repulsive to "all decent and humane people" poses "...serious dangers to women - as evidenced by a disturbing number of news stories about the death or serious health complications of women undergoing such procedures."
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has called on Congress to support this common-sense abortion policy reform. In a September 29 letter to Congress he explained that "[t]he Catholic Church's teaching ... hold[s] that every child, from conception onward, deserves love and the protection of the law. We believe that no person or government has the right to take the life of an innocent human being - and we hold that the real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child."
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